Julia Roberts Style 90s Erin Brockovich Stealing Horses Kaput Kitsch Fashion Inspiration

Erin Brockovich - more relevant than ever!

Kaput Kitsch™ - Editorial

Last night, I watched the movie "Erin Brockovich" for the first time, more than two decades after its debut. It inspired me to write about three key takeaways that I believe could not be more relevant in 2023. Over two decades later, this film (or rather, this story) resonates remarkably in an era marked by climate change, economic uncertainties, and a complex web of global challenges.

Image: Universal Images Group North America LLC / Alamy Stock Photo


Released in the year 2000, "Erin Brockovich" is an American biographical legal drama film portraying the real-life events surrounding Erin Brockovich, brilliantly brought to life by Julia Roberts, as she embarks on a legal crusade against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) in connection to their responsibility for the Hinkley groundwater contamination incident.

Erin Brockovich, a mother of three, has endured two divorces and finds herself with just a handful of dollars in her pocket as she embarks on a job search. Through a series of unexpected events, she lands an assistant position at a small law firm, primarily to cover her phone bills. It's during her time there that she becomes acquainted with a pro bono case against PG&E, revealing the corporation's responsibility in causing severe illnesses among local families due to groundwater contamination.

Despite her ongoing personal and financial struggles, she becomes deeply emotionally invested in the case and the narratives of the plaintiffs, making it her heartfelt mission to assist the community in need.

What can we learn from this story? How can this case inspire us moving forward?

Inspiration One - Ask for help!

The movie demonstrates the significance for an individual’s identity and self perception to face global challenges even in times of personal difficulty. It shows that one can (maybe must) take part in confronting large-scale issues that one cares about while simultaneously dealing with omnipresent personal challenges. It’s tough! But handling these kinds of issues isn't just a privilege; at times, it can serve as the essential spark for personal fulfilment and inspiration in difficult times. It might even be the key to resolving one's pressing personal crisis.

And it highlights that it is only possible with the effort and support and understanding of the people around us. It takes all of us!

It requires leaving one's pride behind and daring to ask others for help, for advice. It’s not a weakness, it’s a strength. It means making other people’s knowledge and experiences your own. It might be the most relevant and most powerful skill of our modern age. 

Julia Roberts embodies this type of character with a striking blend of authenticity, charm, and relatability - as usual. Erin Brockovich's journey would have been impossible without the personal support of her biker boyfriend and neighbour, George, as well as the trust placed in her by her boss, Ed (after she convinced him to trust her - multiple times). Her ability to make a difference hinged on her confidence to ask questions and to be vulnerable and honest about ‘not knowing’ things at times.

Inspiration Two - Determination over Qualification

Another aspect I'd like to emphasise, which deeply inspired me, is how the movie explores the relationship between emotional intelligence and determination versus theoretical and traditional qualification. 

Erin Brockovich has no law degree, in fact, she has no relevant experience or qualification whatsoever. What she developed through the case and her personal day to day challenges are perseverance, determination and passion.

She proves that we don’t necessarily have to be experts or studied to tackle a specific problem. Actually I believe we can know absolutely nothing and still be part of something or  even start a movement. We can be the total opposite of what we and society think is ‘right’ and ‘needed’ to drive change. 

There is no right or wrong, there is only ‘if’. 

Determination over Qualification!

Furthermore the movie beautifully inspires us to reconsider the significance of emotional intelligence and social skills in a highly practical and data-driven contemporary world. 

Emotional determination and intelligence are essential when approaching work, especially when dealing with profoundly human challenges. They act as the driving force, releasing that extra bit of energy necessary to do the job. It functions as the mechanism pushing both our minds and bodies to simply "go and do it!"

Perhaps emotions and passion are, in fact, the most practical tools after all!

Inspiration Three - Not just a drop - a river!

The last point I want to address is a ‘classic’ activists hear all day. 
“I am just a drop in the bucket anyways!” 

The story of Erin Brockovich is a great example of how the belief of one human, of one ‘drop’, can kickstart an entire movement. Think of a window when it rains. You follow one drop running down the glass. It will inevitably catch a few drops on its way growing into a bigger drop, and a bigger drop, and…(you know where this is going)

This closely ties to the initial points we discussed. If you are genuinely driven by emotion and have the courage to seek help and support from those around you, this drop can fill a glass, a bucket, or eventually become a river. 

Erin Brockovich could easily be characterised as what we might initially deem 'a drop in the bucket' when she began, yet she persevered and grew with the challenge. One affected family at a time, she convinced to join her movement, collecting drops sliding down that glass to eventually form a beautiful river.


In 2023, the story of Erin Brockovich remains incredibly relevant. It inspires us to ask for help, and to join efforts in dealing with global problems, even when we face personal challenges. It encourages us to trust in emotional intelligence and determination and to take action, even if it seems like we can only make a small difference. Most importantly, the story shows that solving human problems requires a very human approach.

Oh, and we'll discuss Julia Roberts' incredible style in the movie some other time... :))

Author: Mo Wagner, Berlin, November 2023