Even though they were written hundreds of years ago, Jane Austen’s characters stay with us. We meet Elizabeth Bennet, George Wickham, and Fitzwilliam Darcy in coffee shops, workplaces, and parties. That's because Austen had a knack for capturing the essence of human nature, which is one reason we read her over and over again today.
One other place we see Austen's characters? In today's celebrities — these ones, in particular. (Side note, casting directors: If you want to use these suggestions, I'll gladly meet you for afternoon tea to chat about where to send checks.)
Who’s the sweetest, loveliest lady in Austen’s canon? None other than Jane Bennet. She’s the girl you root for and can’t help but love. She can do no wrong. Cue Jennifer Lawrence. We’re eager to see all her movies, and every goofy statement she makes in an interview reminds us of our best friend.
Love her or hate her, somehow she still manages to be entertaining. We’re talking about Emma, of course, Austen’s witty yet misguided leading lady. An extrovert who borders on pampered brat, Emma has much to learn about the world, yet possesses an underlying lovableness that prompts us to forgive her more than we should. Where can Emma be found among today’s celebrities? T-Swift. A savvy businesswoman and songwriter, Taylor can’t yet seem to translate that savvy into her love life. But that doesn’t stop us from belting out “Begin Again” or “Red” or “Our Song” or…well, you get the point.
He’s the man who plays with every girl’s heart, who flatters her just enough so she believes she’s his, and then leaves her heart broken on the floor. We’ve all met some Wickhams along the way, and we may not have known they were trouble when they walked in, but we should have, so shame on us. Perhaps the most famous modern day Wickham is John Mayer. Need we say more?
Mr. Darcy. Just his name is enough to make us drool. Our culture has swooned over Darcy for centuries. Who could we possibly choose as a modern update? Clearly, we can’t pick anyone other than Ryan Gosling. For if the 1800s had memes, there would absolutely be a “Hey Girl” Mr. Darcy.
However, let’s not overlook Henry Tilney, the oft-forgotten romantic interest from Northanger Abbey. The witty, endearing counterpart to the naïve and accidentally hilarious Catherine Morland, Henry Tilney is the man we all dream of. Think of him as a more outgoing Darcy. Who is Henry Tilney today? Well, hello Tom Hiddleston! Sure, he plays a villain, but his sincere and hilarious personality makes a million times more attractive than the hero. Tom is refreshingly genuine compared to most of airbrushed Hollywood.
We thought Lydia was cute for a while. She was just like someone’s little sister that had crushes on all the boys, had so much to learn about the world, yet was still totally adorable. That is, until she ran off with the dreaded Wickham. Then, Lydia’s antics were revealed for what they truly were: a grab for attention. Hmm, who does that remind us of? Sorry, Miley. You’ve made the headlines of all the Mrs. Bennets of the world, but the Elizabeths and Janes are not amused.
Most of us have a little Marianne Dashwood in us. Romantic and expressive, Marianne conveys her views on love with a passion we feel, too. Although her passion gets her in trouble sometimes, we root for her to find true love. Mindy Kaling is the living image of Marianne. Relatable, delightful, and sweet, Mindy has us smitten, and we’re dying for her to find her own Colonel Brandon.