Hollywood has been talking about sexism in the industry a lot lately, and the difficulty for women over 30 to get roles that matter. The ones that do are often asked to do extraordinary things to their bodies to make it look like they haven’t aged. Carrie Fisher, however, was allowed to look like herself in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, something which is a huge breath of fresh air. She spoke to Time about returning to the role of Princess Leia and what’s different this time around.
She was asked about how Leia has changed. She said, “Oh my God, she got so much older. I tried to stop her, but apparently that includes death so that didn’t seem like a good solution. Along with aging comes life experience so in every way that is consistent with even being human, Leia has changed. About coming back to the role and if there was hesitation, she said, “No, I’m a female and in Hollywood it’s difficult to get work after 30—maybe it’s getting to be 40 now. I long ago accepted that I am Princess Leia. I have that as a large part of the association with my identity. There wasn’t a lot of hesitation.”
She also talked about makeup and whether the minimalism, was her idea or the studios’. “No, it’s me. I’ve seen pictures of myself with makeup on and I look like those women who look like they’re wearing makeup so they can look young, and I don’t think that’s good. They have all these products now called—wait, what’s it called, it’s my favorite—youth suppressant, or age go away, they don’t work. I didn’t wear a lot of makeup to begin with and I was always—you have to be very careful with that stuff. It really annoys me that I’m vain, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to discard that tendency.”
For those of us who grew up with Star Wars, and who’ve aged along with her, this matters. It matters to be able to see a woman you remember as very young, as an older woman. Especially an iconic character like Princess Leia, now a General. We like to freeze time in Hollywood, and yet it marches on for all of us. It’s lovely to see that reflected on the big screen.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will hit theaters on December 18. May the Force be with you.