The Truth About Alicia Silverstone's Time As Aerosmith's Famous Video Girl

Aerosmith's rise to fame began in 1970 when the band formed. Three years later, they released their first album, which included the iconic "Dream On." Then, in 1975, they released the album "Toys in the Attic," which Rolling Stone included on their list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time." Their recognizable band members and longevity has kept them relevant enough to have their own version of Guitar Hero. Metallica and Van Halen are the only other bands to have their own Guitar Hero game.

Aerosmith was able to roll with the changes that the 1980s brought to the music industry. MTV launched in 1981. In more contemporary terms, MTV made music videos go viral and the popularity of such videos made MTV gain popularity as well. Among the videos that MTV showed the most during its early days were "Sledgehammer" from Peter Gabriel and "Video Killed the Radio Star" from The Buggles. Aerosmith made their mark on MTV when they teamed up with Run DMC for the popular "Walk This Way" music video in 1986. However, this was not the only time that Aerosmith generated buzz for their music videos.

Aerosmith was in a slump during the early 1990s

The early 1990s was a forgettable few years for Aerosmith. Tours were not going well and MTV personalities disliked the band's recent music video for "Livin' on the Edge." What makes Aerosmith's continuous legacy all the more interesting is their ability to bounce back from lulls over their decades-long career. In 1993, the band released "Cryin'" and its accompanying music video. The video featured actress Alicia Silverstone. Her feisty character gets back at an ex-boyfriend in various ways throughout the video. What makes the video unique is that it does not focus on Silverstone as a sex symbol. Instead, her character is as a woman who is struggling, but also has "hopes and dreams." This contrasted with her debut film role in "The Crush" in which she plays a teenager with a sexual obsession for her older neighbor. The resulting video for "Cryin'" tripled sales for Aerosmith, according to Silverstone when speaking to Rolling Stone. The band then asked for her to feature in subsequent music videos "Amazing" and "Crazy."

The 1993 music video for "Amazing" features Jason London from "Dazed and Confused" playing a boy immersed in a virtual reality which he created himself. In the reality, he creates an ideal version of himself like an alter ego, and spends time with Silverstone's character. Now in the 21st century, virtual reality has gained immense popularity. Perhaps Aerosmith beat us all to it.

At First, Alicia Silverstone did not like the Aerosmith association

Silverstone had already acted in films prior to appearing in the music videos for Aerosmith, but "Crazy" in 1994 was the first acting role for Liv Tyler, the daughter of Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler. She starred alongside Silverstone as a high school girl who plays hooky in the music video (per Entertainment Weekly). "Crazy" was one of the most-requested videos on MTV throughout 1994. Tyler joked about a remake starring herself and Silverstone upon the 20th anniversary of "Crazy" in 2014 (per MTV).

All of these music videos were hits on MTV and Alicia Silverstone went on to star in "Clueless" in 1995. Though she is perhaps best known for this film, the general public long associated her more with Aerosmith. "I do remember when I was in the Aerosmith videos and people would call me 'The Aerosmith chick,' and I was like 17 and I was very offended! Because I was like, 'I'm a very serious actress.' How could you?...Now I find it hilarious!" she recalled to Cinema Blend in 2020.

The Aerosmith music videos helped Alicia Silverstone's career

Indie Wire included "Clueless" on its list of the 100 best 90s movies. Some even still associate yellow plaid with Alicia Silverstone's character Cher Horowitz in the film. Perhaps the public would not have a character like Cher Horowitz if Silverstone had not gotten her big break in Aerosmith music videos. Though film roles allowed Silverstone to distance herself from Aerosmith, those music videos propelled her career. Amy Heckerling, the director of "Clueless," was a fan of "Cryin'" after seeing it on MTV and credits the video for her discovery of Silverstone. "I saw 'Cryin” and just went cuckoo bananas," Heckerling explained (per Rolling Stone).

All of the Aerosmith videos that starred Silverstone have racked up hundreds of millions of views on YouTube (per Brave Words). Even over 25 years on, fans still love Silverstone's Aerosmith trilogy and it seems that Silverstone herself now has a healthy appreciation for them as well.