There’s only one Winona Ryder. She would never claim to be the only Winona—the name “goes way back to the Indigenous people of this country,” Ryder says over the phone; there’s also Wynonna Judd and the activist Winona LaDuke (“She’s kind of a hero of mine”)—but it’s not like a million heads turn when someone calls out to her. “It’s so unusual,” she says. “I joke with Keanu Reeves about this. If you hear our names, it’s probably us.”
The way she got her name is just as unlikely, an accident of biology and geography. Ryder’s parents were at a laundromat in the Minnesota city of Winona: her mother pregnant, her father a little clueless. “She bent over to pick up this pamphlet with a girl on the cover, which said The Legend of Winona, and she went into labor,” she says. “I was supposed to be named Laura!”
Earlier this month she returned to Winona to explore her place of origin, with the help of Squarespace. The aim? You can see the results—a Super Bowl spot, a photo essay, and a book—at WelcometoWinona.com. Vogue talked to Ryder about how this journey began, her relationship with the internet, and why she hasn’t seen the new Little Women yet (but don’t worry, she will).