Jennifer Aniston’s Essay On ‘Friends’ Is Giving Us All The Feels

Our favorite Friends star just got very real about fame.

We can demand it all we want, but maybe it’s a good thing that the cast of Friends isn’t ready for a reunion special. The memories that the cast shared and the stories that their characters endured should be enough, especially since we can revisit them anytime on streaming video and syndication. Jennifer Aniston, who played the lovely Rachel Green, was always one of the first to veto a televised reunion — and now we may know why.

Aniston wrote an article for InStyle that talked about her experience both before and after the show. The first episode of Friends aired on September 22nd, 1994. At the time, Aniston was just 25.

She was relatively unknown in the acting world — in fact, the entire cast was, aside from Courteney Cox.

Aniston did have a few brief roles under her belt, but nothing that had landed. For example, you might not have even known that they tried to spin Ferris Bueller’s Day Off into a television show called Ferris Bueller, but they did — and Aniston played the role of Jeannie.

That show only lasted a season. Friends was on air for 10. That means that during that final episode, Aniston was 35 and still had the rest of her life ahead of her.

She said to InStyle that the cast had no idea what was coming.

As an actor, it’s hard to predict the longevity of your show.

Even if it’s a great project, it may not resonate with the right audience. “We couldn’t believe what was happening, and we had no idea what was coming,” she admitted, noting that Cox had posted an image of the six of them on a jet before the show even aired. Looking back, it’s incredible to see them all before they were household names.

Her first cover came two years later.

Aniston quickly became a show favorite, but it wasn’t until she got a cover that she realized her life had changed.

“Being on the cover of a magazine was a big deal for me,” she admitted. “It was all so new and exciting. I never dreamed it would actually happen.” If you think about it, people on the covers of magazines are usually famous models or household names. When the Friends finale would eventually air, it’d rack up an impressive 52.46 million viewers. To say the show was big is an understatement.

She admitted that her hair was a big part of her look.

Before this interview, she’s stated that she hated “The Rachel.”

That was the haircut that a bunch of fans who idolized Aniston ran to get at their stylist. But for her first cover, her hair was “short and styled to look wet that day,” which she was fond of. “I’m proud of that hair legacy,” the actress admitted. As far as other styles were concerned, Aniston’s hair was noticeably longer in later seasons, perhaps trying to distance herself from “The Rachel” as much as possible.

She had to practice in front of the camera.

Going from an unknown to It Girl can’t be easy.

Even Aniston had to practices her looks and her poses to feel confident about the influx of magazine coverage she was getting. It was all so new, and she didn’t want to come off as an amateur. “That first shoot was at my house, so that helped,” she said. “I remember posing and thinking, ‘God, I’ve got to learn how to do this.’ It didn’t come naturally to me because it was so out of my norm.”

If you couldn’t tell, Aniston is already nostalgic for the ’90s.

It might not seem like that long ago, but she felt like it was “simpler.”

There’s a reason why the ’90s are often labeled as being one of the best generations. For Aniston, it launched her career. But she also admitted to feeling comfortable with the people she chose to hang out with. “It was lighter,” she said, noting that people weren’t constantly bombarded by negativity and bad news. Plus, she felt like “there was a lot more human connection.”

She credits Friends for helping her find her confidence.

It makes sense as to why.

Not only was the show popular, helping prove that she could make it professionally as an actress, but she aligned herself with her five equally supportive castmates. The group really did have a connection offscreen. “There was comfort in numbers there, so we all held each other up,” she admitted. “I miss a lot about that time.”

Back then, Aniston wasn’t used to being called “sexy.”

Noting a cover in which she just wore a bedsheet, it was a new category for Aniston.

Her definition of the term was different than others in the industry. “It feels ironic to be anointed as ‘sexy.’ I always thought Lauren Hutton was sexy. Bombshell wasn’t really my thing,” she stated. “I thought natural, cute, and funny was sexy, you know?” For the record, she’s not wrong.

Shockingly, she’s remained positive about the spotlight.

Even though Aniston has had her fair share of accusatory tabloid covers, she’s incredibly positive about the documentation overall.

For her, it’s a way to look back at all of the stages of her life, from Friends and beyond. “Looking back, I did have some really epic looks,” she admitted. “That’s always fun to be reminded of. It’s a positive that comes from being documented your whole life. And you gotta take the good with the bad!”

Her views on getting older are refreshing.

She summed up her 20’s as being a fast destination to an unknown location.

But now as she’s older, she believes in slowing down and appreciating life. She’s also not afraid to continue pushing herself and seeing how creative she can be. “I’m ambitious for creative fulfillment,” Aniston said. “I want to continue to create what I know I’m capable of creating.” That explains all of the fantastic projects she’s released since Friends wrapped up.

She’s embracing this part of her career.

Not many actresses have gotten roles like Rachel Green before.

But Aniston did something tough for ’90s actresses to do — she’s taken on other roles to prove that she’s more than a New York City fashionista (and, occasional barista.) “I’m at a place now where I actually feel like I’ve grown up and entered into who I am creatively,” she admitted. “It’s taken me this long to know what I’m capable of.”

So, maybe you shouldn’t keep asking about that reboot.

Aniston didn’t mention it in this particular interview, but she’s talked about it a lot.

She admitted to Ellen DeGeneres that she’d be open to it, after years of getting the question. Prior to, she was more fond of leaving the show alone. It was such an iconic part of both her career and many of our young adult lives, and it’d be a shame to possibly ruin that. Plus, we all saw what happened to Joey after the show wrapped, and that was enough — right?

But, she later admitted that she just said anything to be done with the topic.

She said to Entertainment Tonight that there were no firm plans in the works.

“Well, ‘no’ was getting me nowhere, and ‘maybe’ was getting me nowhere. So I thought I’d try ‘yes.’ See what would happen,” she said. “Sorry!” It may have broken some hearts, but all in all, it’s important to remember that while she’s nostalgic, it was a piece of her life that ended years ago.

It’s almost dangerous to recreate something that was once perfect.

If you’ve ever tried to recreate a childhood experience, you might understand the feeling a little more.

It’ll be hard for Aniston to get back into the same vibe she was in during her 20’s and 30’s. It’d be like revisiting summer camp decades later and hoping to have the same sort of experience. In holding out, Aniston is keeping her memories of it pure while also not letting the show define her whole career. It doesn’t mean she didn’t love it.

Plus, the cast is still close.

Getting updates on Instagram about the girls hanging out is all fans should need.

While playing friends on the show, they’ve created true friendships. Cox and Aniston bonded the most on set, and still hang out fairly often. In fact, it was Cox who helped set up a special celebration in honor of Aniston’s 49th birthday. And that happened long after the last episode of Friends aired.

Being able to witness Aniston’s growth has been a real pleasure for fans.

Aniston has managed to continuously find new roles, and even work behind the scenes. She’s also made a career for herself as a spokeswoman.

It’d be hard to picture anyone else in the role of Rachel Green. Aniston took it and made it her own. Any time that Aniston or another castmember happens to catch an episode, hopefully they can think back to the incredible time when they were new to the Hollywood scene, and slowly becoming stars.