Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage
With a prestigious career spanning over 40 years, Dame Helen Mirren is a tour de force. Helen has starred in a miscellany of superstar roles since her debut in the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1967. She is also one of the few performers to ever win The Triple Crown of Acting (comprised of an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony Award). That being said, the 74-year-old icon remains warm and down to earth. Here’s what Helen wants you to know about sex, dating, and independence.
Helen Mirren on sex
As a reluctant sex symbol, Helen is outspoken about sexuality. She believes sexuality is “a fabulous part of life”, and that there’s no one-size-fits-all rule to intimacy.
Helen Mirren subscribes to the belief that sex changes as you travel through life, and that at each stage of life, sex means, and is, something different. “For some people, they’re happy to leave it behind, and for others they’re happy for it to continue,” she says.
Moreover, “I think some people are very sexual as they carry on through life, and other people are very happy to say ‘Ah, thank heavens that’s over!'”. Importantly, Helen is vocal about people doing what is right for them. She declares that she “wouldn’t make any rules about that sort of thing.”
For Helen, sex is to be celebrated. But it’s also up to individuals to decide what they want out of it, or whether they actually even want it at all.
On online dating
Helen is pro online romance. Dame Mirren has often noted how helpful and encouraging the online space is for love across divisions of age, race, and culture.
“I think it was very difficult for women in particular, 50 or 60 years ago,” she says. “Because they couldn’t go prancing into a bar on their own to meet people.” Technology has solved this problem now though, as she continues on to say “now there’s accessibility for people to meet an incredible, huge cross-section of people.”
Moreover, she encourages her friends to make use of the digital tools available to find happiness. “I was talking to a friend recently and her marriage has just broken up. She’s been online and found wonderful people to chat with.” Ever-affably, Helen concludes “Maybe she’ll meet them, maybe she won’t, but I think that’s very exciting.”
Photo: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
Since childhood, Helen’s financial independence was important to her parents. Helen’s parents took pains to teach her to make her own way in the world, and to never depend on a man. This wasn’t always easy, especially with her career in the arts.
“…it was very hard at first when I was starting my career in an industry dominated by men. It took me time to learn how to defend myself in that world. I figured out you have to be more aggressive if you want to make your own way and not get pushed around.”
In short, Helen Mirren contends that “women need to be able to speak up for themselves.” Hear, hear!
Although she acknowledges that “the spirit of change has been bubbling under the surface…and now we’re in the middle of a volcanic eruption where women are able to speak about the issues facing them”, she’s been outspoken for decades. Famous for her snarky replies to sexist journos, Helen has been a champion for female sexuality since the 60s.
Here she quips her interviewer commenting on her so-called “sluttish eroticism” on stage:
Our take-home from Helen Mirren is this: do what makes you happy, own your sexuality, and don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself!
Read more about over cover star Dame Helen Mirren in our March issue.
By Features Writer, Ashton Kirsten