Life advice from Helen Mirren, “the nastiest of nasty women”

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Moya Crockett

You don’t need us to tell you that Helen Mirren is the best. She’s a supremely talented, patently intelligent queen who doesn’t take any crap from anyone, while also seeming like she’d make a great drinking buddy. (You just know Dame Helen has some great stories to share over a pint and a bag of crisps.)

But if our admiration for her was ever in doubt, it has just been well and truly cemented for ever and ever, amen.

Accepting the ‘Legend’ award at this week’s ELLE Women in Hollywood event in Los Angeles, Mirren first vowed to “be the nastiest of all nasty women” – referencing Donald Trump’s description of Hillary Clinton, which has since been reclaimed as a feminist battle cry.

She then launched into her “tips to get through life because obviously, you know, I'm quite old so I've lived quite a lot of life” – and they’re just as funny, smart and relevant as you’d expect.

helen mirren

Mirren with her husband, American director Taylor Hackford, who she married in 1997 at the age of 52.

According to Elle, Mirren’s words of wisdom are: 

1. “Never drink alcohol unless you are celebrating something, upset on something, or if it's a day that ends with the letter ‘Y’. And never drink when you are driving.”

2. “There are no rules about love – I don't believe – but don't be in a rush to get married, honestly. I married Taylor [Hackford] much later in my life and it's worked out just great. Give your partner the freedom and support to achieve their ambitions. Very important and that goes both ways, men and women.”

3. “At the blackjack table, always split aces, eights and nines. Believe me, it really improves the odds.”

4. “Connect with friends daily. I don’t mean on Facebook. Better to have three great friends than 300 friends on social media; friends you can really talk to.”

5. “And finally, ignore anyone who judges the way you look, especially if he or she is someone anonymous miserable creep, lurking on the Internet or is a bloated, small headed dinosaur-y handed candidate for president.”


Dream girls: Mirren with Lupita Nyongo at the ELLE Women in Hollywood event in Los Angeles.

Mirren, 71, who lives in Los Angeles with her American husband Taylor Hackford and has been a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton, also shared how times have changed for women since she was a girl.

“When I was about 14 years old, I remember… I was sitting at this bus stop, wanting so desperately to be an actress,” she said. “I was convinced that a big, black car would drive by and it would screech to a halt next to the bus stop and this man would get out with a cigar in his mouth and he would say, ‘You’re the one! You’re the star! Come with me!’”

That never happened, but Mirren observed: “The best of that whole story now is [another] 14-year-old is out there sitting on a bench just as I was. She’s out there, in 2016, feeling the same feelings I felt of wanting to be an actress.” 

But one thing has changed: “She’s hoping that a small electric car will screech to a halt beside her and out will get a woman.”

Dame Helen, we salute you. God Save the Queen. 

Images: Rex Features


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Moya Crockett

Moya is Women's Editor at, where she is currently overseeing the Visible Women campaign. Carrying a tiny bottle of hot sauce on her person at all times is one of the many traits she shares with both Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.

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