In case you’ve ever wondered whether Clueless was inspired by real life, I have some proof — my 1995 Beverly Hills High School yearbook. Here’s what we can learn from it…
2. The kids had money.
The theme of my senior yearbook was “Welcome to the Real World.” This seems like a nod to MTV’s The Real World, or a way to address the mythologies outsiders had about the school? But, um, the whole book pretty much underscores all of the stereotypes – and doubles down.
3. The fashion was dope.
There was seriously a laser focus on baby backpacks among the ladies – so stylish, so practical, such a great match for, say, a white collarless shirt from Fred Segal? Knee-highs, jeweled barrettes, and copious mohair rounded out the looks for the Bettys roaming Beverly’s halls. It was 100-percent for real.
4. The kids set trends.
As Beverly went, so went the rest of aspirational teen culture. The cool kids knew that Snapple and “Con-tramp-o” were audi cum laude by then (duh), but baby tees and body piercing (for the Tais in the crowd) were smokin’ hot.
5. We really had a Mr. Hall!
OK, try to follow: Remember the debate teacher, Mr. Hall, in Clueless, who lives happily ever after with Miss Geist? Well, he was portrayed by Wally Shawn in the movie, but we did have a real Mr. Hall at Beverly who was an English teacher – and he had a small role as the principal! Remember that guy? You cannot make this stuff up.
6. Everyone was talking about O.J.
In 1995, O.J. Simpson’s slow-speed Bronco chase on L.A. freeways was major news, obvi. And his so-called “Dream Team” of defense lawyers even got a shout out in our yearbook – although Robert Kardashian (senior) was snubbed in the pre-KUWTK age. Remember how Cher insults Josh by comparing him to Kato Kaelin? Yeah, O.J. was a defining cultural reference point of the era.
7. It was, like, a really good school.
At least, in your early high school years — it was all about studying. Also, note how a Junior’s Friday afternoon involved hopping into a “disheveled BMW.” The designated student parking lot looked like a car show, with hot-and-cold-running luxury autos.
8. It was all about brand names.
There are too many references to BMW and Fred Segal in this book to count. It’s kind of mesmerizing.
9. We had strong opinions on Coffee Bean, Ricki Lake, and Jodie Foster — among other super ’90s things.
You guys, Starbucks was not even a thing. It was all about Ice-Blended Mochas and Ice-Blended Vanillas from the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. (Also, I guess we really loved and really hated Boyz II Men?)
10. Hormones raged.
According to a student poll, more than half of guys and a full two-thirds of girls admitted to being obsessed with a crush. We were all apparently majorly, totally, butt-crazy in love with our versions of Josh!
11. It was a big year for TV.
Attending Beverly High in the mid-’90s meant getting asked a lot of questions about Brenda and Brandon from kids outside of school. Meanwhile, in a parallel fictional universe – Beverly Hills, 90210 – Tiffani Amber Theissen replaced Shannen Doherty in a shocking turn of events. More fun facts! The actual Beverly Hills High School is located in the zip 90212 – and there is no West Beverly High.
12. It was also an amazing time for music.
There was no need to bug out if you left your Cranberries CD on the quad. It was seriously a superlative period in music history, with diverse new entries on the scene – including an emerging gangsta rap movement (not yet fully mainstream), and TLC’s release “CrazySexyCool.”