Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Helen Mirren: “I hate the word beautiful, I wish there were another word for it”

rexfeatures_5158286s.jpg

Helen Mirren is one of those rare Hollywood women whose acting careers has continued to flourish as she ages.

The award-winning actor spoke with beauty journalist, Sali Hughes, in this weekend's Guardian, about what being beautiful means to her...although she “hates that word.”

Mirren, 70, famously accepted her contract with the french make-up brand L'Oreal Paris, on the condition that her photographs not be retouched. 

"My whole life, one had these images of perfect, incredibly youthful girls shoved at you as what you should aspire to...and we’re not even talking about 25-year-olds, incidentally, we are talking about girls of 15. Who looks 15? It’s not fair,” she says.

Admitting that with youth comes beauty, Mirren says:

“I definitely don’t look better now than when I was young. Definitely not. Of course I looked better then. The great thing that happens as you age is that you don’t really give a flying fuck. I don’t look so good, but I don’t care.”

When asked if she thought herself beautiful, Mirren retorts:

“I hate that word. Kate Moss is beautiful, so is David Beckham, and I can appreciate a beautiful girl walking down the street. Young is beautiful. But the majority of us are something else, and I wish there was another word for it.” 

helen mirren

Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience

The Queen star continues to call-out Hollywood sexism on behalf of her younger contemporaries:

“I think what’s galling to me is when you see someone who’s supposed to be a high-level surgeon in a film and she’s being played by a 28-year-old actress. They wouldn’t even be qualified yet, never mind eminent.”

Mirren argues that people want to watch lives they can personally relate to, saying:

“You want, as an audience member, to see people that you recognise and can identify with.”

What it comes down to, the Prime Suspect actor says, is:

“Profound sexism – the ‘Would you fuck her?’ kind of attitude.”

But rather than blame Hollywood alone, Mirren believes that it is society that must change before the film industry can follow.

Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect

Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect

“When roles for women in real life change, then you will see change in the film industry,” she says.

Mirren adds that when it comes to ageing on-screen, the opposite is true of men:

“We all watched James Bond as he got more and more geriatric, and his girlfriends got younger and younger. It’s so annoying,”

However, she also claims that now men are also now being scrupulously criticised by the industry as well.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mirren says that the image of the real man in film, has now been replaced by the gym-obsessed, unattainable image of a sculpted beefcake.

“It's absolutely incredible. They all have to have these ridiculous bodies now that are completely unrealistic.

“They all have to be in the gym for three or four hours a day. Tedious. Awful,” she says.


Cult beauty journalist, Sali Hughes, will be in conversation with make-up artist to the stars, Lisa Eldridge at Stylist Live on Saturday 17th October at 4pm. Tickets are from £25 each and you can secure your place here

Additionally, if you feel passionate about sexism in Hollywood, come along to "Talk Feminism with Gemma Cairney and Friends" at 10.30am on Saturday 17th October and at 12.15 on the same day, No More Page 3's Lucy-Anne Holmes and journalist Caroline Criado-Perez will be discussing online feminist activism.

Stylist Live is a four-day festival of cocktails, culture, catwalks and conversation hosted by Edith Bowman and Dawn O’Porter on Thursday 15 – Sunday 18 October 2015.

Related

rexfeatures_5074029ac.jpg

Helen Mirren: Men shouldn't put their arms around their girlfriends

rexfeatures_3380439a.jpg

The top 50 most empowering feminist quotes of all time

ThinkstockPhotos-487390388.jpg

87% of British women experience sexism at work, says Stylist study

last fckable day..JPG

Huge age gap exposed between actors and their female love interests

main_rt.jpg

All hail Elizabeth Windsor: CEO, Great Britain

rexfeatures_5052948q.jpg

Sienna Miller quits play over gender pay gap dispute

rexfeatures_5147839r.jpg

Tom Hiddleston gets naked for feminism

rexfeatures_3687096j.jpg

In their own words; how A-list women feel about ageing

rexfeatures_5012017c.jpg

Anne Hathaway says she is losing film roles to 24-year-olds

Comments

More

Michelle Obama 'to pursue career as children’s book author'

Here’s what the First Lady has planned for life after FLOTUS

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Jan 2017

Katherine Heigl reveals traditional name for baby boy

Heigl and her husband, Josh Kelley, have welcomed their first son together

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Jan 2017

Emma Watson almost played another Disney princess instead of Belle

"Belle just resonated with me so much more.”

by Moya Crockett
17 Jan 2017

This pop star stopped a concert when he witnessed sexual harassment

Atif Aslam, a huge star in his native Pakistan, told the men to “act like human beings”.

by Moya Crockett
17 Jan 2017

Shailene Woodley on her plans for life in Donald Trump’s America

“I’m going to do every single thing I can to stand up to fascism.”

by Moya Crockett
17 Jan 2017

Jamelia pens powerful essay about racist encounter on UK train

“This behaviour is not ok with me, and it shouldn’t be ok with you”

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Jan 2017

Claire Danes reveals how she overcame her phobia of female friendship

“Girls were cliquey as eff... that was hard for me.”

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Jan 2017

Reese Witherspoon opens up about Hollywood’s “Smurfette Syndrome”

“For 25 years, I’ve been the only woman on set.”

by Moya Crockett
16 Jan 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the weekend

From Liv Tyler's new love to Chrissy Teigen's fried chicken fashion

by Nicola Colyer
16 Jan 2017

Khloé Kardashian shuts down reporter who tried to victim-blame sister

The reporter suggested that Kim Kardashian's lifestyle was to blame for the Paris robbery

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Jan 2017