The Unlikely Teen Idol: Characters We Love to Root For

By Ash Fuentes, Ahri Vi, Ryland McGinniss, Jennifer Prewitt, Aidan Hurley, Tracy Fuentes, Kleigh Balugo

As teens, our favorite characters weren’t always the squeaky clean and put together ones. A lot of times we find ourselves rooting for the underdog— the loners, outcasts, and weirdos.

They might come from rough backgrounds or even make questionable decisions. Regardless, we like these characters because we see ourselves in them, whether it’s their strongest qualities or their imperfect flaws.

So, we compiled a list of our favorite characters (in no particular order) and what we admire about them.

Kat Stratford, 10 Things I Hate About You

“I’ve always admired Kat Stratford ever since I watched 10 Things I Hate About You because of how intimidatingly cool she was. I always wanted to be a quick witted, snappy tongue, scary type of girl the way that she was because it seemed no one would mess with her or be able to put her down. In the end, she still holds true to that persona, but becomes more open to building relationships with people so I figured being strong isn’t synonymous with being a bitch either.” -Ash Fuentes

Joy Wang, Everything Everywhere All At Once

“Joy’s strained relationship with her immigrant mother and constant anxiety about not meeting her expectations is very relatable. She also resonates with me because she is a queer woman of color dealing with intergenerational trauma. I too would jump across universes until I reached one where my mom said sorry to me.” -Ahri Vi

Nancy Downs, The Craft

“I love the character of Nancy Downs because of how she embraces her passions. Seeing an unapologetic female character, who uses the public’s perception of her to give her passion life was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Also, she’s just super cool in general, and I honestly am envious of her presentation as a character.” -Ryland McGinniss

Lady Bird, Lady Bird

“I love Lady Bird’s delusional rebellion, because it reminds me of myself when I was younger. It’s easy to think everywhere but your hometown is cool, and that you’re stuck in the lamest place in the world. Yet she’s still so involved and curious about her community, while maintaining this facade of ironic detachment and laissez faire cool girl angst.” -Jennifer Prewitt

Juliet Capulet, Romeo and Juliet

“As old as Romeo and Juliet is, I feel like everyone is still very critical of Juliet. Juliet was a young girl struggling with her family trying to marry her off, on top of dealing with a family feud that was growing violent. I’ve seen too many people write off Juliet for being stupid, but I don’t think she was stupid: she was a thirteen year old girl who got caught up in issues that even rendered the adults around her helpless.” -Aidan Hurley

Lindsay Weir, Freaks and Geeks

“When I first watched Freaks and Geeks in middle school, it was the peak of my angsty phase, so not only did I find Lindsay extremely relatable, but I also aspired to be as angsty as her. Rewatching in college, I realized that Lindsay makes a lot of dumb decisions that harm the people who care about her, but I think that makes her more relatable and realistic. Regardless of her mistakes, I admire her drive to become her own person and break away from her parents’ and teachers’ high expectations of her.” -Tracy Fuentes

Stella Yamada, Lemonade Mouth

“I always thought Stella was such a cool character. I really admired how anti-authority she is and how she always insists on fighting for what’s right. I remember being so inspired by her speeches about defying dress code and rejecting censorship. As a quiet 11 year old, it was inspiring to see such an outspoken character who isn’t afraid of challenging the status quo. Plus, a lot of people on Twitter have claimed her as a sapphic which makes me love her even more.” -Kleigh Balugo

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