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7 Reasons Why Helen Mirren Is Awesome


With Helen Mirren about to be given BAFTA's highest honour, Eva Mackevic explains just why she deserves it...

As Helen Mirren is due to be presented with BAFTA’s highest honour, the Fellowship, on February 16th at the BAFTA Awards Ceremony, it is the perfect time to remind ourselves of and celebrate the Dame’s pure awesomeness. A lady of talent and class, she is the mixture and embodiment of all the best female archetypes. She is the cool aunt who covered for you when your mom found pot in your room; the intense mistress who made you do stuff that makes you blush just thinking of it until this day; the elegant, sophisticated wife you take to business dinners and opera nights – she is everything you ever dreamed of and she knows it.


Mirren is the winner of an Oscar, three Golden Globes and four Emmys. Her acting career spans across almost half a decade and is still thriving as the actress keeps on undertaking a variety of roles, not afraid to push herself beyond her comfort zone. A jack of every performance platform, from television to stage – and master of them all, she nevertheless strives to do more and does not cease to learn and evolve.


My first Helen Mirren experience was the hauntingly erotic The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989) by Peter Greenaway. What I did not realize at the time was that the love scenes in the film were a skip in the park compared to Mirren’s shenanigans in Caligula (1979) (the uncut version of which was X rated) or Age of Consent (1969). Her sexual freedom and relaxed attitude about nudity is one of the most significant things that make her such a strong, powerful woman. That sexual magnetism combined with her intelligence and sharp wit, make Mirren a phenomenon oscillating somewhere between the Queen and Dita von Teese.


If I am roughly close to being at least half as voluptuous as Helen Mirren is when I am 68, I will be a very, very happy lady. Despite her general “cool chick” demeanour, which entails not really caring for being glamorous and dolled-up, Mirren has proven to be a woman of impeccable taste and style. Not only is she an epitome of grace and elegance voted “Best dressed woman” by multiple magazines on a number of occasions; but she is also a pretty buff babe winning “Body of the year” title in 2011. J-Lo, eat your heart out!


Another awesome thing about Helen Mirren is the fact that she could not care less about cramping her style when it comes to movies. She always wants to try out new things and is willing to learn the ropes of making action block-busters or Hollywood comedies from scratch. She has gone for films in every atypical for her genre, ranging from National Treasure 2 (2007) (where she played Nicolas Cage’s mother) to Arthur (2011) in which she starred as Russell Brand’s nanny; to Monsters University (2013). She has also expressed great enthusiasm for taking part in the Fast and Furious franchise, stating that she is a big Vin Diesel fan.


Literally.  In 2003 Mirren received a damehood for her services to the performing arts at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace, and she accepted it in her own unique style. In an interview with David Letterman she recounted how she rolled out of a reeking, post-Saturday night, trashed taxi in her best dress for the ceremony where everyone else arrived in shiny limos. Also, her excitement was mostly focused on the massive sparkly, Liberace – inspired broach she was to receive (and Prince Philip placing it onto her bosom).


What makes Dame Helen especially lovable is her informal, laid-back attitude towards herself and life.  Despite the prestigious awards, a series of serious films and challenging theatre work, she is still the girl who dyes her hair pink and twerks as she receives Harvard’s Hasty Pudding award. The age, fancy accent and larger-than-life career are just a glossy veneer for this bubbly, down to earth gal with a love for bawdy jokes.


Charity work is no rarity in the celebrity world, with Bonos and Jolies forever battling for the philanthropist of the year title. Dame Helen is not exactly an exception and she is associated with organizations such as Oxfam, the military support charity Help the Heroes and many other charitable projects. However, there is something particularly wonderful about the Dame pretending to be the Queen and having tea with a dying boy to make his wish come true. After the real Queen turned down the idea, Mirren put on a real show with corgis and servants for Oliver, the boy with Down’s syndrome, diagnosed with terminal bone marrow cancer.


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