Molly Ringwald may live on as a perpetually coming-of-age teenager in her fans’ minds, but the 48-year-old actress was every bit the adult during her visit Tuesday to Maine as she talked with young voters on the Gorham campus of the University of Southern Maine. It was a long way from the famous lipstick scene in “The Breakfast Club,” but no less riveting.

Usually the person peppered with questions, in this appearance she did most of the asking: What did the 18- and 19-year-olds she spoke with, many of them voting for a president for the first time, care about? Health care, education and equality were cited frequently.

Ringwald told the students who had gathered in the Brooks Student Center that Hillary Clinton is the best candidate for the job, and she encouraged them to take advantage of the voter registration table that was set up.

Freshman Alexis Brown was there more for Ringwald than the politics. She wasn’t registered to vote, but she has all of Ringwald’s movies. (“Sixteen Candles” is her favorite.)

As for the election, “I’m not sure I’m going to” vote, she said. “I think I’d have to pay more attention to politics. I don’t really know what’s going on.”

Talking with three students, Ringwald paused to compliment one of the women on the highlights in her hair. “Thank you so much! I’m gonna cry,” the student said, looking about as excited as Ringwald’s Samantha Baker character in “Sixteen Candles” was about her surprise birthday date with Jake Ryan.

For about an hour, Ringwald posed for group photos and talked with students about the importance of the upcoming election. The scene didn’t have a hip, new-wave soundtrack and won’t be quoted for the next 30 years by those in attendance, but it was important for Ringwald in her role as a Clinton surrogate.

“I don’t feel like I can stand by as a concerned mother and a concerned American and not do something, not speak out,” she said during an interview at the Democratic Party headquarters in downtown Portland. Ringwald, who has two daughters and a son, went on to talk about wanting a leader who will focus on closing the gender gap, addressing climate change and protecting national security.

“The most important thing is that our country is safe, but I feel like our standing in the world is important,” she said. “We are a powerful nation, and we need to make the right choices.”

Connecting with young adults who were around the same age Ringwald was when she was making hit movies seemed only fitting. “Bernie galvanized the younger, millennial generation and he made so many great points. I understand that, but now they have to – we all have to – understand that their future is in peril if they don’t take this vote very, very seriously,” she said.

Earlier in the day, Ringwald hosted a meet-and-greet with Clinton supporters at Arabica on Commercial Street. About 40 people waited in a cordoned-off portion of the coffeehouse, and the chatter before Ringwald arrived at about 10 a.m. was as much about Ringwald’s iconic roles in ’80s films like “The Breakfast Club,” which also starred Portland native Judd Nelson, as it was about Clinton. But once Ringwald started talking with people, it was all politics.

“Hillary is going to do a great job as commander–in-chief,” she told a group of supporters. “I’ve met her personally. I campaigned for her senatorial race in New York, and I think she did a great job. She is one of the smartest, most charismatic, most resilient people I’ve ever met, and I think she’s a great example for me as a woman, for my kids, for my two girls and for my son.”

Among those in attendance was Democratic state Rep. Drew Gattine of Westbrook.

“I’m a child of the ’80s,” the 53-year-old lawmaker said. “I love all the John Hughes movies, and obviously it’s really important to me that we elect Hillary to the White House and keep the momentum that we’ve gained the last eight years.”

Kat Cecil, 29, of Brunswick drove to Portland for the event because the election is “probably the most important of my lifetime.” Having a celebrity there was also a motivator. “I was excited that someone as famous as Molly Ringwald was also dedicated to this monumental cause.”

Still, there was time for picking the brain of that ’80s redhead. Who would be Clinton’s biggest supporter: Andie from “Pretty in Pink,” Samantha from “Sixteen Candles” or Claire from “The Breakfast Club?”

“All three of them,” Ringwald said, “because they’re smart, intelligent women.”

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