Jennie Garth: 90210 taught me to be competitive with other women


Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling have a podcast called 9021OMG. Jennie and Tori, of course, met on Beverly Hills 90210 back in the 90s when they were cast as Kelly Taylor and Donna Martin. The two ladies have remained friends, even attempting a few non-90210 projects together. But according to Jennie’s comments on the podcast, the fact that she and Tori formed and kept a friendship is quite a feat because the show bred competition among the women. Jennie said that competitiveness with other women was something with which she struggled for a long time after the show.

Jennie Garth has admitted she struggled with her competitive attitude towards other women “for many years” due to her time on Beverly Hills, 90210.

“A lot of what happened on that set shaped us in all directions,” Garth, 49, said on Monday’s episode of her and costar Tori Spelling’s 9021OMG podcast.

“But I think as a young girl… [the show] brought out a super competitive part of me being in that environment of being judged because of my looks or how I looked in an outfit,” added Garth, who played Kelly Taylor on the hit ’90s teen drama.

She continued, “It was just a different day and age and it gave us young girls a lot of mixed messages. I, for many years, struggled with [it].”

“If I’m honest, I think [the show] kind of taught me to be threatened by other girls be threatened by other women [and] be more competitive because I wanted our costars approval or attention,” she said.

The effects stayed with Garth, who went on to reprise her character on the spinoff 90210 and the reboot BH 90210.

“It messed with me on a deeper level and not until later in life that I kind of think it wasn’t ever about the other girls,” Garth reflected. “And why did I ever make the other girls an enemy in my mind?”

[From People]

I did not watch a lot of Beverly Hills 90210 when it was on. That’s only because I was bartending to pay for college, so my schedule didn’t allow for much evening TV. I caught a few of the early episodes, the ones in which the Minnesota Walsh family were the comparisons against the Southern Californian families of privilege. Going purely off memory, I felt like they addressed female competitiveness on the show, so it’s disheartening to hear they actively encouraged it when the cameras stopped rolling. I remember the discussions in the media surrounding the cast – who’s the hottest, the actresses weight, etc. And each actress in the cast was assigned a role by the media as well: Tori was the nepotism hire that would never live up to the job. Shannen Doherty was the Difficult One. Gabrielle Carteris was The Lucky One, because she was hired to be smart, not pretty. And poor Jennie was the Hot One. I say “poor Jennie” because every successive attractive actress hired was compared to her so of course she would see her co-stars as threats and not allies. I can’t imagine having her husband turn out to be a serial cheater did anything to help heal her need to compete.

But it sounds like she did heal and good for her. I think Jennie is on to something when she said, “It was just a different day and age and it gave us young girls a lot of mixed messages.” Jennie is just a couple years younger than me. I, too, distrusted women for most of my life. I definitely competed with them whether they knew it or not. And I have no idea where that came from. I blamed certain people for years, but I think they were just existing with the same mixed messages that Jennie and the rest of us were. I hate to admit it, but it took having a daughter for me to see my dysfunction with women. But I am so grateful I finally did because having women in my life now is absolutely amazing.




Photo credit: Avalon Red

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22 Responses to “Jennie Garth: 90210 taught me to be competitive with other women”

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  1. Darla says:

    So interesting. I think once you accept there will ALWAYS be someone prettier than you, it’s freeing. That’s something you have to work out when you’re pretty yourself. And then you develop your other qualities, which are much more amazing. I couldn’t have gotten through this life without my girlfriends so thank god I’m not competitive that way. Also at some point, you must reach the maturity of; who gives a isht what men think? Not wanting their approval cookies should happen, and the earlier the better. Some women always want that, can you imagine?

  2. SlipperyPeople says:

    She and Tori were mean girls to Tiffany Thiessen. I watched her reality show and was completely turned off by her. I’m sorry she felt bad about herself, but it doesn’t change the fact that she’s an asshole.

    • Darla says:

      Tiffany was my favorite back then. She brought such a sense of humor to that role. None of them had that prior. I loved Val. I thought the show stank after she left and they brought on what is her name? Brenda from GH. I definitely liked it the first 3 or 4 seasons, but for me the show was at its peak for the Val years.

    • Lurry says:

      I came here to say the same thing. Tori and Jennie didn’t even say acknowledge her character for a skit on RPDR. Tiffani has been nothing but gracious to them both never bad mouthing them or her time on the show.

      @Darla Tiffani was my fave back then too. I love a “bad girl” “vixen” type of character that stirs the pot and brings drama, and Val brought that. 🙂

    • Meg says:

      didnt tiffany say in an interview she used to such good friends with jennie that she was in the hospital room when she gave birth? Now theyre not on speaking terms

  3. Noki says:

    Kelly obsession levels towards Dylan were beyond ridiculous.

    • Diana says:

      Yes! I will never forgive her betrayal to Brenda!!!!

    • Jegede says:

      Considering the late great Luke Perry was the one who pushed for that storyline, – confirmed by Garth and producer Charlie Ronson, – it’s hilarious poor Kelly still gets the blame for breaking up D & B!!😄😄

  4. Jegede says:

    Jennie Garth is only saying this now, cause of the plethora of dish over the years from MANY BH 90210 co-stars stating what b!tches she and Tori were to them.🙄🙄

    Tiffani Thiessen, Jessica Alba, Vanessa Marceil, Hilary Swank, Kathleen Robertson e.t.c The list is endless.

    Almost all the women who were on that show – in some format – have a horror story involving Jen & Tori.

    • Calibration says:

      Jegede, yep I heard all those stories. We’ve all heard about tori and jJenni . Gut feel they’re just cashing in.

    • Darla says:

      I honestly didn’t know they were this bad, wow.

    • Jules says:

      Yes the wording is interesting…. she manipulates things so that she actually sounds like the victim here. She could have apologized for her behavior and admitted she was a bully. But nooooo, it was something external that made her do it, so she is not really at fault, in her eyes at least.

  5. readingissexy says:

    Funny–I feel like the world taught me to distrust men.

    From cheating boyfriends to graduate student guys telling me things like “you only succeeded n this class because the professor thought you were hot” and even current men in my department (higher ed) that “forget” to include me in final deliberations for projects…yeah, men can’t be trusted.

    (Kidding, sort of?)

    • M says:

      That’s your experience but is it really the real world. Beliefs can be toxic

      • Hannah says:

        Why are you here gaslighting, M? THAT is toxic. The original commenter shares about difficult experiences — which others have also shared — and your response is to belittle and cast doubt? Not nice.

  6. Kaykay says:

    A lot of kids shows today has so much drama in them. I am banning many, many programs like that in my house. My daughter is only allowed to watch co-operative, educational shows.
    Disney especially is full of drama, nasty attitudes, and unhealthy relationships. Why even bother putting dramatic ideas and phrases in little developing brains? It’s beyond me.
    Stop the negative domino effect by deleting unhealthy and toxic relationship entertainment content for kids.
    A lot of the drama and sassy phrases that I expressed as I teen was directly “programmed” by shows that I was watching. Do not underestimate the power of TV.

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    There has ALWAYS been competition and angst between women. Always. And to have a meaningful existence with girlfriends depends entirely on upbringing, the friends we choose and how we maneuver life. I was always a social little thing and didn’t play one-up games like my mother and her vain and competitive friendships. And although some of their daughters played those games and could effectively be classified as mean girls, I had no part of it. I was friendly to them just as I was friendly to those they despised or thought they were better than. I was, and have always been, Switzerland and in some cases throughout the years, built some bridges. We don’t have to hate each other for our successes, failures, looks, et al. We can celebrate and commiserate everything all the time no matter what. That’s been my life, and I stand by it lol.

  8. lucy2 says:

    I watched the first few seasons of it while in high school. Looking at the cast now, it’s shocking how all white it was.
    I remember being super into the show, and the behind the scenes gossip as they got famous, and there was so much stuff about the rivalry between the women. It’s patriarchal BS, girls and women are conditioned to look at each other as competition, a distraction while men do all kinds of nonsense and awful stuff.
    What’s really sad is that Jennie and Tori reportedly kept that going to any new woman joining the show, and I doubt have owned up to that an apologized.

  9. Hugh says:

    Willing to bet no one on set made her be the sort that is always jealous and competitive with other women. That sort of personality is either genetic or possibly the result of childhood trauma and/or really tragic parenting. I don’t know if it changes with work/therapy but for others’ sake I hope anyone with this issue can get help.

    • Amando says:

      You really don’t think being a teenager in a toxic work environment with paps, rabid fans and gossip magazines could make a person be like that? LOL

  10. Amando says:

    I love Jennie! She was always my favorite character on 90210 and I followed her career after the show ended.