Laura Dern: two-time Oscar nominee, muse of David Lynch, acting legend, purveyor of purple in the next Star Wars movie, and owner of the most cherished cry-face in the world. It’s likely the 50-year-old knows she’s at least four of those things, but only recently has she discovered the internet’s obsession with her emotive facial contortions — and now that she’s in on the joke, she can’t stop spreading the joy we all feel when she sheds a tear on camera.
Amid her career resurgence — otherwise known as the Dernaissance — which snowballed after she bagged her second Academy Award nod for supporting Reese Witherspoon in Jean-Marc Vallée’s 2014 drama Wild, the Hollywood icon has seemingly embraced her status as a meme queen — even if she doesn’t entirely understand what that means.
“Wait. I’m a meme? Uh, what’s a meme?” she wrote on Instagram Wednesday, sharing a photo of herself bawling in a scene from Lynch’s 1986 classic Blue Velvet with a fan-made rainbow background that has long circulated online.
By Friday, Dern had apparently become educated in the art of meme-ery, posting a shot of herself and producer Jayme Lemons wearing T-shirts emblazoned with a particularly expressive still of the performer’s face lifted from their short-lived, gone-too-soon HBO dramedy Enlightened.
There are still plenty of digital Dern goodies left for the actress to discover. For example, a few years ago, someone dressed a beetle in a costume inspired by her taupe shorts eleganza look from Jurassic Park.
And there’s a delightful young woman, Maria Wojciechowski, who dedicated an entire Instagram account to looking like Dern, aptly titled “I Look Like Laura Dern.”
So, other royal cry-faces of the universe, where’s your sense of humor? Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, and Claire Danes, it’s your move.