As if 2016 weren't cruel enough already, legendary actress, writer, and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher died on Tuesday after a heart attack on an airplane days earlier. (Although, per her wishes, let's say instead that she "drowned in moonlight, strangled by [her] own bra.") Fisher was an inspiration to girls and women all around the world, and when one such young woman was picked to carry on her legacy, Fisher took her under her billowy white robe sleeve. Carrie Fisher's advice to Daisy Ridley, who played Rey in The Force Awakens, was inspiring, bold, and badass, and thank goodness we can read it over and over again even if the woman who gave it is now gone.
Back in 2015, during a pre-release Star Wars publicity bonanza, Fisher and Ridley talked for Interview Magazine. The whole article is worth a read, filled as it is with Fisher's witticisms and warmth. But perhaps most memorably, towards the end, as she and Ridley discuss what it's like to be considered a sex symbol, Fisher gave her young protégé some hard-won advice, saying,
FISHER: Well, you should fight for your outfit. Don't be a slave like I was.
RIDLEY: All right, I'll fight
.FISHER: You keep fighting against that slave outfit.
RIDLEY: I will.
The "slave outfit" in question was, of course, the infamous gold bikini Jabba the Hutt forced Princess Leia to wear in 1983's Return of the Jedi.
Fisher notoriously hated the gold bikini, telling NPR,
It wasn’t my choice. When [director George Lucas] showed me the outfit, I thought he was kidding and it made me very nervous. I had to sit very straight because I couldn’t have lines on my sides, like little creases. No creases were allowed, so I had to sit very, very rigid straight.
Nevertheless, in typical Fisher fashion, she found a way to turn sexist lemons into feminist lemonade. Though the first time she appears onscreen in the bikini is as Jabba the Hutt's slave, her last onscreen appearance in the outfit consists of her strangling him to death. Once, when an outraged father asked her what he was supposed to tell his child about why Princess Leia was wearing that inappropriate outfit, she said,
Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it.
Thanks in part to Fisher, the new generation of Star Wars women will likely never be forced into gold bikinis. They'll be too busy wielding lightsabers.
Fisher was one of the first women to show the world that princesses didn't have to wait around and pine for princes. They could strangle the slugs, and become generals. We will miss our favorite princess/general so very much.