Dame Helen Mirren: An Interview About Empowerment—and Lipstick

Images courtesy of L’Oréal Paris

We caught up with the longtime L’Oréal Paris model ambassador concerning the honourees of the annual Girls of Price gala, what makes her really feel empowered as a girl in 2021 — and the facility of an incredible lipstick.

Jennifer Berry

Date March 17, 2021

After I “meet” Dame Helen Mirren over Zoom, my nerves — she’s virtually royalty, to not point out a bona fide display screen legend and norm-defying badass, in spite of everything — are instantly calmed after we each notice we’ve chosen a scarf and assertion earrings for our from-the-collarbone-up look of the day. Twinning with an icon? Not a foul technique to finish a Monday. I’m chatting with the 75-year-old actor, mannequin and activist, who’s again internet hosting the L’Oréal Paris Girls of Price Awards Gala (nearly, after all), an annual occasion that honours a various group of Canadian girls leaders dedicated to combating for change of their communities.
During the last 5 years, in celebration of Worldwide Girls’s Day, the L’Oréal Paris Girls of Price Awards Gala has acknowledged the ladies main organizations whose causes embody the prevention and therapy of kid sexual abuse, meals insecurity, environmental sustainability, the event of platforms for BIPOC communities, and extra. (You’ll be able to learn extra about 2021’s deserving group of honourees right here.) Mirren, a longtime L’Oréal Paris model ambassador, final hosted the gala in Toronto in 2019.
Right here, my pleasant dialog with the unwaveringly charming Helen Mirren about what makes her really feel empowered, why she favours the phrase “swagger” over “magnificence,” and the facility of a extremely nice lipstick.
How does it really feel to be again internet hosting the L’Oréal Paris Girls of Price Awards Gala, however this time nearly?
The gala is so fantastic as a result of it offers these girls — who work typically in very troublesome circumstances and with such vitality and dedication and sacrifice — a beautiful night the place they’ll costume up, have a glass of wine and be lauded, praised and applauded. And I really like that L’Oréal does that for them. It’s at all times very glamorous. It’s very superbly executed. So I’m unhappy that they’re not experiencing that [this year]. However, I do know that will probably be an awe-inspiring expertise for all of us to witness what these girls do, and what girls up to now and girls sooner or later will do. And simply to be impressed by the vitality of ladies and their humanity and their dedication and their professionality and their talents; it’s an incredible factor to be part of.
What does the function of neighborhood with different girls play in your life?
I’m very fortunate. I’ve a sister who’s a vital a part of my feminine world. I’ve some very, very outdated mates that I’ve identified since I used to be in my early twenties and people girls are extremely necessary to me. After which after all, for me to be impressed by girls; I like it after I can discover a lady who’s an inspiration and that’s why [the Women of Worth gala] is so nice as a result of there are such a lot of know profoundly inspiring girls there. A neighborhood of ladies is essential; solely we actually perceive what we undergo. Clearly that adjustments culturally — it adjustments from nation to nation, tradition to tradition. However I believe there may be additionally a common understanding that ladies have that cuts proper throughout cultures and languages.
“I believe we must always all be taught that after we see inequality or injustice taking place round us, we’ve received to face up and be counted.”
What are some methods that you’ve felt empowered in your life, and what does girls’s empowerment imply to you now?
It’s extraordinary simply how a lot the world has modified since I used to be 22. Or, properly, since I used to be 15 or 16 [actually], as a result of earlier than that, I didn’t actually take into consideration stuff like [women’s empowerment]. However instantly it dawned on me the unimaginable inequality that ladies had, and the monstrous unfairness of it. I used to be enraged with the unfairness of it as I grew to become increasingly conscious of what was occurring within the relationship between women and men, what girls have been allowed to do, what girls weren’t allowed to do, what professions have been open to girls, what they have been supposedly not appropriate for, the duty they needed to take for something to do with intercourse.
It’s been so fantastic to expertise and witness the change in perspective, and likewise be taught myself as a result of as a lot as I thought of myself a insurgent — and I used to be in some ways as a teen, fiercely defending my proper to be who I used to be — on the similar time, you notice you had attitudes otherwise you didn’t perceive sure issues. The entire means of growth is a studying course of.
However by way of private empowerment, it’s merely these moments that you’ve if you assume, No goddamnit, I’m proper about this. And also you say so. And typically that’s fairly troublesome however I so admire individuals who try this. There are girls on the market who’re beacons of hope for us all, and at all times have been. So it’s these moments you simply rise up for your self — otherwise you rise up for another person, which I believe is much more necessary, by the way. We should always all be taught that after we see inequality or injustice taking place round us, we’ve received to face up and be counted.
What has the final yr of the pandemic taught you concerning the significance of self-care? How has it impacted your each day routines and regimens?
It’s given me time for train. I’m not ferocious about train in any respect however I’ve been doing yoga each day, which has been actually nice. And to have the time to do this has been terrific. It’s additionally taught me that, sure, it’s necessary to stand up, dress. Even when you dress in beautiful, cozy jim jams. [Editor’s note: That’s U.K. lingo for pyjamas.] Every single day I put my make-up on, though solely my husband ever sees it and he makes enjoyable of me, anyway. However I don’t care as a result of it’s for me. As soon as I get that executed, I really feel I can get on with enterprise, with work, with Zoom calls.
What function does magnificence or make-up play in making you are feeling empowered?
I really like placing on make-up. I discover it moderately meditative. I really like taking part in with totally different merchandise. I get made up each day throughout COVID; each day I do my workouts, have a espresso, get made up [laughs]. Then I take all of it off once more, in a while. I’ve at all times beloved make-up, at all times. Perhaps it’s one of many causes I’m an actress as a result of professionally I’ve needed to put on it.
However the phrase ‘magnificence’ — I’ve at all times had a little bit of a problem with the phrase magnificence. It was that you simply solely noticed very lovely folks promoting magnificence merchandise. And so folks like me, and billions of different folks like me, felt shut out as a result of [they think], I’m not lovely. I’m by no means going to seem like that if I put make-up on, it’s not going to occur. However make-up and hand lotion, skincare and nice hair merchandise, could make you are feeling terrific and look clear and contemporary and energetic and wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, which is way more necessary than trying ‘lovely,’ you recognize? So, I’m searching for a brand new phrase and my new phrase in the mean time is ‘swagger.’
What make-up merchandise offer you swagger?
L’Oréal has an incredible lipstick known as the Hydrating Core Lipstick in an unimaginable vary of colors, nevertheless it additionally has a balm within the center. So it’s like a balm, nevertheless it’s lipstick and it lasts, and you’ll simply smush it on and also you don’t have to must look within the mirror. Now that’s an incredible lipstick! And an incredible lipstick goes a good distance by way of providing you with swagger. Lipstick and mascara — for me, mascara as a result of I’ve received very blonde eyelashes — will give me swagger.


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