Winnie From The Wonder Years Is Simply Gorgeous Now

Winnie Cooper was the ultimate 90s crush for teenage boys watching The Wonder Years. As the object of affection for series' lead Kevin Arnold (played by Fred Savage), she was front and center for the show's too-short run from 1988 to 1993. According to IMDb, actress Danica McKellar had just a couple guest appearances on The Twilight Zone before she was cast in what would become her breakout role at the age of just 13. When the show wrapped, she went to college at UCLA, graduating with a degree in mathematics.

Luckily, McKellar didn't stop acting, subsequently popping up in shows like The West Wing and The Big Bang Theory. She's also a filmmaker, having written, directed, and produced a short, Speechless, in 2001, which featured fellow Wonder Years alum Dan Lauria, who played Kevin's dad. McKellar also has producing credits, including on Christmas at Dollywood, which naturally stars the incomparable Dolly Parton.

Danica McKellar IS Winnie from The Wonder Years

It's safe to say that if Winnie Cooper could see McKellar now, she'd be proud. In fact, McKellar, who now authors books on mathematics, told Today that she might actually be living Winnie's adult life herself. "I think Winnie Cooper might be writing math books ... she was always really smart and studious," she said. One of her favorite storylines from The Wonder Years found Winnie scoring higher in her math SATs than Kevin, which was a big deal considering the show was set in the 60s. "Winnie Cooper was ahead of her time," McKellar noted.

The actress grew up alongside her character, sharing how she was often studying on set after shooting a scene related to Winnie's schooling or breaking up with boyfriends just as Winnie and Kevin were breaking up on the show. It was easy for her to tap into what a teenage girl might be feeling in that moment because, "All I had to do was think about what had just happened in my life."

Danica McKellar still has her admirers

Still, there were times McKellar didn't enjoy fame, even telling Today she once pretended not to be herself after being accosted by fans at Disneyland. She isn't hopeful for a Wonder Years reboot either, arguing it might ruin the show's place in pop culture. The actress still holds her Wonder Years family incredibly close however, sharing a photo with Savage and Josh Saviano, who played friend Paul Pfeiffer, in 2019 and gushing alongside it, "You guys are like family... I mean, we DID grow up together, after all."

McKellar also played up her image as the object of every teenage boy's affection in a hilarious punishment on TV prank show Impractical Jokers, which found James "Murr" Murray tasked with interviewing her, his childhood crush, while oiled up for a bodybuilding competition. Aside from being an excruciating piece of television, it also showcased just how gorgeous Winnie Cooper grew up to be (which only made things more uncomfortable for poor Murr).

Danica McKellar is an advocate for young women

Although McKellar credits The Wonder Years with catapulting her to stardom and giving her a platform, the actress and scholar utilizes that platform predominantly to encourage other young women to follow their passions rather than hiding away. Her math books, aimed at female students of all ages, including the New York Times bestsellers Math Doesn't Suck, Kiss My Math, and Girls Get Curves, aren't just aimed at those interested in the subject either.

As McKellar explained to CNBC, math, "Exercises the problem solving part of your brain, which will help you better able to pursue your dreams, whatever they might be." The studious actress and advocate explained that young women shouldn't shy away from studying because they're worried about being judged by their peers. As she sees it, "You don't have to choose between being fabulous and fun and being smart — they go hand in hand."

Nothing can stop Danica McKellar's positive outlook

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made life incredibly difficult for people all over the world. McKellar understands the privileged position she's in, telling Media Village she's been trying to keep busy and give back as much as possible, whether answering fan questions, recording readings for children's charities, or providing an insight on homeschooling, which is something she's intimately familiar with. "The biggest tip I can give anybody is to have patience... Listen to your kids and what they're interested in right now, what they have to say and what are their frustrations. Stop your output and take in theirs," she advised sagely.

The actress also utilized her downtime to get some work done on her Hallmark movie, the second installment in the Matchmaker Mysteries series, admitting, "I had to do some [voice pick-ups] in my son's bedroom. I filled his bunk bed with pillows, and I bought this great professional microphone online, so it ended up sounding great and hopefully you won't be able to tell the difference."