Helen Mirren thinks her looks are “bloody irrelevant,” refuses to worship at the altar of young Hollywood penises

When Helen Mirren says, “I’m not beautiful; I clean up nice” it’s like if Queen Elizabeth says, “I’m not royalty; I’m the supreme governor of the church, the head of the commonwealth and the defender of faith.” It’s bollocks, is what I am saying. But when Mirren was awarded Hollywood Reporter’s 2010 Sherry Lansing Leadership Award yesterday, that’s exactly what she said.

A reporter said to Mirren: “You’ve won fans as a role model for having sex appeal in your 60s. How does that make you feel?”

And Mirren replied:

A bit cross, actually. We have to let go of this crap. It creates even more pressure on women, and I certainly don’t want to be a part of that. I’m not beautiful; I clean up nice. 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.

During her speech at THR’s annual Women in Entertainment breakfast, Mirren also offered up this gem:

I resent in my life the survival of some very mediocre male actors and the professional demise of some very brilliant female ones … However, with all due respect to you many brilliant and successful women in this room … really not too much has changed in the canon of Hollywood filmmaking that continues to worship at the altar of the 18 to 25-year-old male and his penis.

You can watch Mirren’s full speech below.


Helen Mirren’s gender-bending turn in The Tempest starts Friday. Until then, I’ll just be watching this video on repeat, trying to pick up some pointers on poise and prose.

What do you think of Mirren’s speech?