Women on Film: Channeling Confidence

Helen Mirren’s Queen Elizabeth I shows us how to behave in the face of adversity.

Anyone who believes life is easy probably lives under a rock, inside a cave or in the magical, enchanted land of Denial. Life is more like a visiting carnival in the local church parking lot. You climb into that rickety “Black Hole” spinner ride – it shakes, spins, and pins you to the sides of its walls until you have the strength to peel yourself out of it at the end of the ride. But you have to know how to cope with the pressure when life straps you in for that wild ride.

This is exactly why we need Helen Mirren in our lives. The always eloquent British actress, who has played six queens in the course of her career, knows how to inspire both on and off the screen.

Here she plays Elizabeth I in an HBO mini-series of the same name. Mirren delivers the queen’s famous speech to the troops at Tilbury in Essex. The year was 1588 and England was facing a possible invasion from the Spanish Armada. The Queen herself rode out to greet her troops, who were massed to face the Spanish Duke of Parma. The text of this speech was found among royal papers in 1624, and it is believed that Elizabeth I herself delivered these very words to her troops.

Mirren spoke of playing Elizabeth I to HBO. As Mirren explains, “Queens are always such fascinating creatures, especially queens who equip themselves extremely well. They don’t fall prey to their circumstances or to men. It’s much harder for a woman to do that than a man. Much harder. She [Elizabeth I] earned our respect over the many generations that have come after her.”

Strong words from a strong woman about one of the most badass female icons. And yet, we can all carry this strength into our daily lives and livelihoods, even after the carnival ride, or in the case of Queen Elizabeth I, after a bloody war.

Katherine Butler

Katherine Butler is the Beauty Editor of EcoSalon and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.