VMAs 2020: Rose McGowan Explains Why She Wore Iconic Dress at 1998 Ceremony

Ahead of the 2020 VMAs, actress Rose McGowan is reflecting on the iconic dress she wore to the 1998 ceremony, and explaining why she chose it. As some may remember, McGowan attended with her then-boyfriend, Marilyn Manson, and stunned the crowd by donning a see-through chainmail dress. Photos of the outfit regularly rank high on lists of most memorable VMA moments.

Now, in a new interview with Yahoo, the 46-year-old has revealed that this was her "first big public appearance" after allegedly being raped by disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. McGowan says that she decided to wear the dress as a way of taking back her power. "I just felt like, 'Oh Hollywood, would you want a body just that you can use and throw away? Then I’ve got one for you!'" she shared. "It was like at the end of Gladiator when he comes out and he’s like, 'Are you not entertained?'" McGowan went on to say, "And if you look at me, I did it with power. I didn’t do it with my hand on my hip to be sexy. Most of the women that are dressed like that on the red carpet, it’s a calculated, sexy move to turn people on. Mine was like, 'I’m gonna f— with your brain. I’m going to blow your brain up.' And nobody had done it."

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McGowan spoke about the reactions to her outfit, saying that it was "kind of hard" to handle the criticism she faced for it. "They slut shamed me like crazy," she said. "I hadn’t really ever dealt with global media shaming." In spite of this, however, she says that she has no regrets for choosing the dress. "You know, when you do stuff sometimes on instinct and in a mood, like when a mood overtakes you on, you analyze what it was that brought you to that mood or that choice," McGowan said. "So, I’ve certainly had a lot of time to analyze and I’m looking at the timeline. But I completely understand why I did what I did."

While McGowan has taken a step back from acting these days, she continues to work creatively. She recently released Planet 9, her debut music album that Yahoo calls "experimental" and "meditative." She also continues to be a passionate and vigilante activist. The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards are set to air Sunday, Aug. 30.