Helena Bonham Carter turned 50 on Thursday. That means we've had a full half century of Bonham Carter greatness. It doesn't seem like long enough yet, does it? The temptation to emulate her is strong, but would go against everything she stands for. Bonham Carter has been dazzling audiences for 30 years... and breaking stereotypes along the way. To celebrate the birthday of a True Original, here are eight Helena Bonham Carter quotes that prove she's a seriously badass feminist.
What is it about Bonham Carter that fascinates us so? Could it be the unbelievable range she has shown as an actress since she burst on the scene in 1986 with A Room With A View? She could have been typecast as "period drama girl" after that, all lush curls and smoky eyes, but she wouldn't have any of it. She has gone on to play Bellatrix LeStrange in the Harry Potter movies, Miss Haversham in a remake of Great Expectations, an ape in Planet of the Apes, and of course, the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland and the upcoming Alice Through The Looking Glass, to name just a few.
She had children with her partner of 13 years, collaborator, Tim Burton, but never lived with him (the couple broke up in 2014 but continue to work together and raise their children). She dresses how she pleases, acts how she pleases, and always manages to seem like she would be gorgeous fun to hang out with in the process.
When you need a little reminder about the value of authenticity and feminism, look no further than Helena Bonham Carter.
"Imperfection is underrated, perfection is completely overrated."
With all of the pressure actresses must face to look a certain way, Bonham Carter has always done what she wanted. Worn what pleased her. And when CNN's Brooke Anderson asked her if she considered herself a "true eccentric," Bonham Carter responded by saying, "Most people who know me would say... I am thunderously normal." Because she's not about being pigeonholed, even as an original.
"I like pretending to be other people: I could reinvent myself, reinvent my own reality."
Because we don't actually have to be anyone we don't want to be. Tired of being the person you are today, feeling stuck in a rut? Just reinvent, baby.
"I drink booze, I smoke, and I'm hooked on caffeine. I actually have been known to swear at times and belch and even raise my voice when provoked. And I'm not physically repressed!"
What can I even add to that one, I ask you?
The word "normal" has become somewhat synonymous in my brain with "predictable". Also 'boring' and for some reason 'be a good girl and your reward will be a normal life.'"
I'm with her on this one. There's no such thing as a "good girl," thanks.
“Why do we put our self esteem in the hands of complete strangers?”
It is a sad existence, to wait for other people to tell you how you should feel about yourself. And I can tell you from experience, if you're waiting for someone else to make you feel worthwhile, you might have to wait a very long time. Go do you, and let them do their own thing — all fearless women do.
"Most Insane People Are Funny."
The reasons are two-fold. One, you're guaranteed to have a rocking good time. Two, they will make you seem well-balanced in the process. Win-win. Don't be afraid to look stupid — everyone else is watching you in awe anyway.
"Why not wear mismatching shoes? Who says we can’t?"
How has no one thought of this before? I've embraced the mismatched socks... but mismatched shoes? She really does do whatever the hell she wants, doesn't she? Besides, there's no "fashion" rule that says you can't.
"It took me ages to grow into being a woman, into being happy with it."
The truth is, being a woman is pretty fun, as long as you get to be the kind of woman you want to be. Rather like borrowing a beautiful dress from someone. It's pretty, and you appreciate it, but it doesn't quite fit you. You have to keep on trying until you find a you that fits.
To Helena Bonham Carter on her 50th birthday — we are all tremendously grateful that you found a you that fits.