Nostalgic ’90s Photos That Bring a Whole New Perspective to the Decade
| LAST UPDATE 03/14/2023
Ah, the 90s. The days of pagers, classic sit-coms, and MTV-induced nostalgia. We're taking a trip down memory lane with some of the best archival photographs, reminding us how different things are today.
Bruce Willis & Demi Moore At The Striptease Premiere, 1996
How could we ever forget Bruce Willis and Demi Moore? While the former partners were both at the height of their careers, these red-carpet events made everything that little bit extra special. Talk about a throwback.
There's nothing more iconic than seeing Moore's head shaved after she starred in G.I Jane one year earlier, but she was able to experience this film alongside their daughter, Rumer Willis. Still, we can't help but acknowledge this power couple moment, the less complicated days before Ashton Kutcher and Willis' unexpected health diagnosis.
Cindy Crawford & Naomi Campbell Partying in New York City, 1992
Not only is the image below screaming supermodel status, but this is friendship goals. Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell have been dubbed two of the most successful supermodels of their time, both featuring on almost every magazine cover to exist. However, don't think there's any jealousy between these two.
The two have been inseparable ever since they both entered the industry. In fact, in May 2022, Crawford posted an exceptional devoted post to her long-term pal Campbell on her 52nd birthday. While nothing has seemed to change, all we can now wish for is a dual runway show from these two bombshells.
Winona Ryder Being Effortlessly Cool, Early '90s
Winona Ryder could wear a bag of potato chips and still make hearts swoon; she was the ultimate queen in '90s fashion. But don't let her cool vibe fool you - even this style icon has opened up about some looks that didn't quite hit their mark! She was cool enough to admit to Harper's Bazaar that she made some fashion mishaps.
She said, "It's hard to talk about the influence of the '90s because I lived through it, so I see it differently than the younger generation. People are obviously carefully cherry-picking the better trends – there were a lot of bad looks in the '90s." With her quirky aesthetic as an example, the 90s was all about trial and error.
Michael Jackson at the Promotional Press Conference for Pepsi, 1992
The world will always remember the Prince of Pop, Michael Jackson. We saw many major headline moments throughout his career, from being a key member of the Jackson 5 alongside his siblings to becoming a global pop sensation. However, his Pepsi promotional press conference really takes us back to the peak time of his career.
Jackson's Pepsi promotion made marketing history. During the 80s, the world was divided - Coca-Cola drinkers and Pepsi drinkers. When it came to the nation's biggest singer striking a $5 partnership with the fizzy drink, it was clear which direction the world would go in - reminding us why influencer marketing is taking over the world.
Luciano Pavarotti & The Spice Girls, 1998
We don't think there will ever be another moment when two completely opposite music genres will join forces for the ultimate collaboration. Do you remember when the most popular Italian opera singer, Luciano Pavarotti, sang a beautiful interpretation of Viva Forever with the Spice Girls themselves?
Pavarotti mainly focused on his opera vocals, but toward the end of his career, he began to collaborate with more popular music, making him one of the most acclaimed tenors of all time. He hit notes we didn't think possible. While we would never put these two groups together, it was the duet we never knew we needed.
Pamela Anderson & Damon Wayans at the MTV Awards, 1999
Time to scrubba-dub-dub! When Pamela Anderon walked out on stage at The World Music Awards in Monaco, she was accompanied by Damon Wayans in one of the most questionable outfits. The Baywatch star and the famous comedy actor both came out on stage dressed as if they were taking a bubble bath.
Pam was always rocking up to highly publicized events in outfits that had all heads turning. How could we forget the white corset and extravagant pink hat with ex-flame Tommy Lee? Well, this outfit might have taken the cake. Wayans almost looked out of place, while Anderson seemed curiously comfortable while dressed in bubbles… barely.
Nicolas Cage & Johnny Depp, Early '90s
These two guys could make anyone starstruck, even two decades later. Nicholas Cage and Johnny Depp grew their star status by starring in major movies, but their long, dark, and luscious hair stole all the ladies' hearts. The pair became buddies when Depp's ex-wife's make-up artist introduced them - and the rest was history.
The two friends are more like brothers than just two close guys in the industry. In fact, it was the successful actor Cage that encouraged Depp to pursue the same career. While Cage was already working on set, once they were introduced, Cage took Depp under his wing. Thankfully, the two are still thriving today. Good job, guys.
Eminem & Dr. Dre During the MTV VMA Awards, 1999
One thing is for sure, we need a major R&B cultural reset. Throughout the 90s, Eminem and Dr. Dre were taking off, spitting bars left, right, and center. When the VMA's came around, the two were paired together for the ultimate on-stage rap collab. So while Eminem was rapping through My Name Is, it only got better when Dr. Dre interrupted.
From matching sweats to complimenting each other's beats, the two rocked up to the red carpet together, exiting out of the same limo. It was better than watching any other 90s couple's entrance, and just to our luck, we got to see these guys perform again at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2022.
David Beckham With the Best Player of the Year Trophy, 1997
David Beckham - now an ex-soccer player - has dubbed himself one of the greatest guys to ever play on a pitch. Throughout his career, Beckham has won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, one European Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, and one FA Youth Cup, all in the space of twelve years. So it's no surprise he won one specific award.
In 1999, when Beckham was just 24, he won The Best Player of the Year. While his career ended in 2013, we have not stopped keeping up with the Beckhams. He is an icon to all new incoming players and an inspiration to those who reach the top at a young age. Now married with four children, he also is a shoo-in for the coolest dad.
Victoria Adams, Before She Was a Beckham, 1997
Speaking of Mr. Beckham, there's only been one woman in his life for as long as we can remember. But, prior to becoming the ultimate WAG / global fashion designer, she was formerly known as Posh Spice in the iconic band The Spice Girls. The girl group of five slayed the music industry, so we can't help but gush over this throwback.
The millennials will always remember Victoria as Posh Spice, but we have seen her grow into an incredible mother and fashion icon. Even when she and David got together in the early 2000s, they pulled out all the stocks when it came to red-carpet outfits. She's always had that star power quality, spicing up lives one look at a time!
Will Smith B.T.S on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, 1990
This is a story all about how Will Smith carried the sitcom legacy and became one of the most famous actors in the industry. From living it up in a mansion in Bel Air to going viral for one of the most shocking slaps, Smith is also someone we have watched grow right before our eyes. "It's very easy to play myself," he recalled of his famous role.
We can't help but time-travel all the way back to the Fresh Prince days, reminding us how electric the 90s were. It was all about the big hair, boom boxes, wacky shirts, and parachute pants that pretty much everyone could pull off. Thankfully, these trends have recently returned to style, giving us all the nostalgia we need.
Matt Damon, Robin Williams & Ben Affleck Win An Oscar For Good Will Hunting, 1998
Name a more iconic trio. We'll wait. The iconic 1997 film Good Will Hunting received multiple Oscar nominations in nine different categories, including Best Picture and Best Director. Now, it's a toss-up between the fantastic cinematography, mathematical narrative, and the incredible star power included in the film.
A gap was felt in the industry when we lost Williams in 2014. He carried a comedic legacy like no other, and thankfully, Affleck and Damon were lucky enough to work with him. Plus, it's crazy to see where these guys are today, with Affleck married to his old-new flame J-Lo, while Damon is one of Forbes' most bankable stars.
Jim Carrey With His Daughter Jane, 1991
From the Christmas Grinch to The Mask, Yes Man, and Bruce Almighty, we have loved watching Jim Carrey on our screen throughout the years. He is one of the most genuine actors to make it to the big screens, and he has clarified his views on Hollywood authenticity. He's a family guy, and this picture is a subtle reminder.
The world fell in love with his nurturing Canadian personality. He even tends to reflect his true self when playing roles. Carrey has one daughter, Jane Erin Carrey, who he had with his ex-wife Melissa Womer. The picture above with his daughter in 1991 is a moment of nostalgia we all needed. Plus, he's got the classic dad fashion.
Whitney Houston & Muhammad Ali, 1998
It's not every day - especially today - that we see one of the world's most famous singers stand on stage alongside a worldwide professional boxer. While Houston had over 200 million records sold worldwide, and Ali was one of the most significant sports figures of his time, it's safe to say we can both grant them the name, 'The Greatest.'
The viewers watching the 1998 GQ awards had the pleasure of watching one icon gift an award to another. This was a true power moment in pop culture history. They both marked their names in each of their industries, with films made about both of them, while pop artists and fellow athletes aim to live up to their legacy.
Tom Cruise Walks the Red Carpet With His Mother, 1990
Receiving awards is cool and all, but the greatest gift we could ever ask for is having supporters by our side no matter what, including parents. For Tom Cruise, he was well aware that he had his mother to thank for his success. Taking a look back at this photo from 1990, the smile on his mom's face says a thousand words.
Mary Lee was a special education teacher who majorly supported her son's career. In 2006, Cruise told Parade, "I saw how my mother created hers and made it possible for us to survive… She held three jobs. She said, 'We're going to get through this." Mary Lee attended many awards on her son's arm before she passed in 2017.
Julia Roberts, Her Fiancé & Woody Harrelson, 1991
Now, we know what you're thinking. What is so iconic about this photo of Julia Roberts on a casual stroll with her ex-fiance? While Roberts was one of the most beautiful bachelorettes in Hollywood, she made it clear who was boss - and through some memorable moments. She was the Queen of rom-coms, on-screen and off.
With Kiefer Sutherland's history of alcohol abuse, it was all fiery rumors and cheating scandals. According to reports, on their wedding day, Julia escaped and ran off with his best friend, Jason Patric! "That snake pretended to be my best friend, and all the time, he was really after my girl," Kiefer said, according to The Standard.
Robert Downey Jr. at the Oscars, 1993
We're not sure where to start with this one. While we can comment on the young and dashing Robert Downey Jr. with a full head of hair, his fashion choices are everything we never thought we needed. The velvet suit gives off major 90s vibes, but we still appreciate the effort to dress for such a fancy occasion.
The Oscars during the 90s were pure movie magic. At this particular event, Downey Jr. walked alongside Morgan Freeman, Susan Sarandon, Denzel Washington, Emma Thompson, Richard Greer, and the list could go on. But this picture of Rob is a friendly reminder of the simpler times in Hollywood and the old-fashioned Hollywood glam.
Tom Hardy In Make Me A Model, 1998
After studying at the Drama Centre London, British actor Tom Hardy went on to star in the most successful films and television shows in the industry. From The Batman to The Dark Knight, Spider-Man, Venom, and Peaky Blinders, we're a sucker for a Tom Hardy production. But let's just take it back to Hardy before his prime time.
We know he's got the acting talent and the looks to match, but little did we know about his small side hustle before he rose to fame. Hardy took part in a morning British entertainment show called The Big Breakfast, where he won Model of the Year! We wonder what ever happened to that modeling career. Still, it all worked out for him.
Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love & Daughter Frances Bean Cobain, 1992
This one is a little emotional for us. There was a unique love within this little family trio. Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love only wanted the best for their daughter, despite being highly publicized figures in the 90s. Cobain's music career was at its peak while Love rocked through the 90s with her grunge era. They were couple goals!
Frances Bean is the only daughter of Cobain, leaving us a bit of the Nirvana singer in this world. Now 30, People say Frances is "coming into her own." After Cobain passed in 1994, Frances Bean is continuing to hold a strong relationship with her mother while upholding "her father's legacy through visual arts and music."
Jason Momoa in Baywatch, 1999
Jason Momoa really loves the water. From Baywatch to becoming the King of Atlantis, he has grown into his own unique aesthetic. While Momoa reflects a Hawaiin beachy vibe with the long hair and masculine build, we can't help but think about his 90s days when it was all teen beach movie vibes.
His first aquatic debut was when he landed the role in the famous television series Baywatch, playing the role of Jason Loane. He was one of the many lifeguards that were very appealing to the eye. We have to say, we are grateful for this throwback of Momoa, and we are sure he is as well since he found his flair for adventurous productions!
The Cast of ‘Friends’ Before Fame, Early '90s
Right before Friends became a sitcom sensation and worldwide phenomenon, the group of 6 jetted off to Vegas for some bonding and quality time. While they spent days living like regular people, little did they know how much of a connection they would all have, leading them to NBC's victory.
Jennifer Aniston, who played Rachel Green, reminisced on the image above on The Ellen Show. Director Jimmy Burrows took them out for dinner and gave them all $200 to "go into the casino and go gamble because this is the last time you'll be able to walk into a casino anonymously," hinting their lives would never be the same again. He was right.
Ashton Kutcher During His Modeling Days, 1999
We gotta love Kutcher. From the moment he stepped on the scene on That 70s Show to being the star of our favorite rom-coms, he has adorned our television screens. But aside from the talent and charm, he is now happily married to long-term friend Mila Kunis with two children! But where was he before all of this?
He was definitely the bad boy on the block. From being the cheeky Michael Kelso to the host of MTV's Punk'd, he always had a flair for being on the camera. Before becoming an actor, he was signed with Next Modeling Agency in New York City, making his way to Paris and Milan while even being the star of Calvin Klein commercials.
The Undertaker & His Fans, Early '90s
The Undertaker, born Mark William Calaway, was one of the most ferocious American wrestlers to ever step inside the ring. At 6'10," he is one of the greatest "big men" in wrestling history. But, it's impossible to believe he's just as tough on the inside as much as he appears on the outside.
We can't help but say 'aw' at this adorable photo. While this proves you can never be too tough to take a loving photograph, The Undertaker hilariously revealed to Ryan Satin, "I have no idea who that is and why I'm in that lady's house." Maybe it was just a loving fan? But she'll never forget it!
Pamela Anderson Gets Discovered at a Baseball Game, Early '90s
From the baseball game to the beach, Pamela Anderson, Baywatch's finest, was first discovered on the pitch! The blonde bombshell attended a BC Lions game when she was just 21 years old, but little did she know how her life would change, and it really did all start by being on camera!
As the big screen turned to various crowd members, it just so happened to land on Pamela, and she quickly became the talk of the stadium. She was scouted, and before she knew it, she was the Tool Time Girl in Home Improvement before making her way to becoming one of the globe's most popular lifeguards.
Brooke Shields & Pal Michael Jackson, 1993
Here's to many more unseen images! Now, this is something we thought we never would see, and it turns out the Prince of Pop and Brooke Shields were very close pals. Two head-turners in one picture? While acknowledging the image below was probably taken with a classic 90s camera, it's reminding of the culture in many ways.
It was all about big hair and bold fashion choices. These are the moments that are long gone but never forgotten. After meeting in 1978, their similarities as child stars made them instant besties. Though, MJ famously told Oprah the two were dating, which Brooke quickly refuted, considering she was dating Lois & Clark star, Dean Cain.
Adele With Her Spice Girls Poster, Mid '90s
Adele was one of the many fans who had their life completely spiced up! She rose to fame after releasing her album 19 in 2008, and while she created her own path, it's crazy to believe she was one of the super fans herself! This image of a young Adele rocking her heart out in front of Spice Girls posters is all we need.
The Spice Girls had a short reunion in 2019, and Adele did not think twice when it came to seeing them in concert. She gushed on Instagram, "Oiii last time I saw the Spice Girls at Wembley was 21 years ago! Tonight with my nearest and dearest i cried, laughed, screamed, danced, reminisced, and fell back in love with my 10-year-old self."
An Edgy Kim & Kourtney, Mid '90s
Kim and Kourtney need no introduction. The reality sisters rose to fame after a scandal involving Kim (and Ray J) quickly turned the entire family into E! celebrities. While each family member holds a unique personality, there is definitely something exciting and admirable about these two.
"Before we look forward to 2023, we're going back…way back…to the '90s," Kourt gushed of the throwback above. From her blunt humor to Kim's reality star-turned-lawyer era - fans have never failed to follow the headlines about them. Whether it's dark lipstick and thin eyebrows or Poosh and Skims ventures, they were made to turn heads.
A Young Cameron Diaz, 1994
We can't forget Cameron Diaz and her iconic roles in Hollywood. From being the voice of Princess Fiona in the Shrek series to the hopelessly devoted Amanda Woods in The Holiday, and cozying up to Ashton Kutcher in Vegas, her breakout moment was when she played Tina in The Mask. However, she nearly didn't get the part.
90s Diaz was thriving in the modeling industry but began dabbling in acting. According to IMDb, producers originally wanted Anna Tina Carlyle to star alongside Jim Carrey as Tina Carlyle, but when Diaz stepped on the scene to try out for the role, they agreed that her chemistry with Carrey was undeniable and non-negotiable.
Liv Tyler With Her Reconnected Father, 1999
Back in the day, almost the entire world knew who Steven Tyler was, the lead singer of the legendary rock band Aerosmith. However, one special person in his life was totally unaware of who he was and his profession - his own daughter! Aside from their striking resemblance, Liv took a peak at her mother's diary before learning the truth.
When Liv was 11, she gazed upon an Aerosmith poster. She told Interview, "My mom has a diary entry or something where I wrote, 'I think Steven is my father.'" She then revealed to The Guardian, "I felt a connection in a very strong way when I met him as a little girl, and I didn't know why at first, but I figured it out rather quickly."
Courteney Cox Pre-Monica Geller, 1990
So before Courteney Cox trademarked the infamous Monica Geller, the gorgeous brunette was already placed in the spotlight. It's difficult to think of her as anything else but the cleanest freak in NYC, but the Friends star was the perfect girl to star in music videos - and not to mention, she was easy to fall in love with.
She appeared in Bruce Springsteen's music video for Dancing in the Dark and was cast as Alex P. Keaton's girlfriend in Family Ties. The craziest fact? She originally auditioned for Rachel Green, meaning she could have been the one arguing over the infamous break with Ross Geller! Thankfully, it all worked out the way it was supposed to.