4839943915_3233d767ebI wish I were British so I could go around saying things are “bloody” this or “bloody” that. “Freakin’ ” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

My friend Cory sent me this link from a CNN blog, which reports on Helen Mirren being bloody peeved that Halle Berry praised her hotness, among other things.

“Presenting the 65-year-old actress with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, Berry told her, “Helen, you have single-handedly, all by yourself, broken down that barrier because you can age, you can do films that are successful, and you can still be hot as hell!”

Clearly Berry meant it as a compliment, but Mirren was pissed–no, actually, she was “cross,” which is so much more contained and hence cooler–that her looks were even commented upon.

“It creates even more pressure on women, and I certainly don’t want to be a part of that,” she explains. “…Why don’t we talk about the fact, for example, that I just did ‘Arthur,’ and the cinematographer was a woman, the film operator was a woman, the whole camera team were women? That’s where we should be putting our attention. The fact that I look good at the age I am is bloody irrelevant.”

I see her point, of course. Looking good as you age, while it may take a bit of effort, is hardly an achievement or a sign of leadership, as the award she was receiving was meant to recognize. What’s more, we don’t have that much control over it, and we have much more over how we behave and what we do and say. I guess she didn’t appreciate being crowned a beauty queen (which Berry herself was as a teen) when she didn’t feel she’d signed up for the pageant.

But is it “bloody irrelevant?” I don’t know…she’s an actress, and actresses of any age are beautiful, by and large. It seems highly relevant, if you’re an actress, anyway. Helen Mirren is one of the few older actresses who work, so of course she’s pretty. I challenge anyone to name an ugly actress–the handful that there are odd looking are mostly character types whose names you’d never know.

Maybe she was mad in the same way that the very elderly take offense when people underestimate their intellect or cognitive skills–maybe she feels patronized, or annoyed that it’s assumed that she wouldn’t be hot. The idea that her hotness is something that needs to be remarked upon because of her age must piss her off–I mean, render her cross.

Halle Berry meant that Mirren was an inspiration. My question is, are her looks the inspiration, or is the fact that she’s still employed (in part because of her looks) meant to be inspiring? I’m not so much inspired by Helen Mirren being pretty and employed as I am by her speaking her mind. Freakin’ awesome, no matter what you look like.

Photo by Gage Skidmore CC