Born on the same day as Carrie Fisher, Isobel Montgomery Campbell considers her parallel life.
It must have been in 1978 that Richard and I came out of the Putney Gaumont with our heads reeling. We had finally been to see Star Wars, and it was just as everyone had said –there was nothing else like it. The speed of the action was breath-taking, the realism of the world Lucas had created was entirely convincing, we had been propelled into a different universe.
And in amongst it all, I was relieved to find that in this different universe, the Girl was good. I approved of her. Up until then, let us remember, the girl in action films was usually some helpless sex symbol, handicapped by high heels or tight clothing – but this one was an equal member of the gang. On the whole her clothes were practical, and instead of high heels she wore action boots. And this was important, because Star Wars was –and possibly still is– the biggest film ever made. Which meant that the equality of the sexes it portrayed was equally ground-breaking. And part of that equality was portrayed in the humour. The girl’s feisty repartee showed she was relaxed and on top of her game, even when stuck in a garbage masher.
Then at some point I chanced upon Carrie’s date of birth in a magazine, which I was intrigued to find was the same as mine.
Now I’m not one to believe in astrology, but there are a few similarities between us.
The first one: when Carrie talked on the The Ellen DeGeneres Show about her face having big round cheeks, I immediately identify with that. My father had laughingly said I had a round face, just like an apple. I hated my cheeks! Which contributed to a deep sense of self-loathing Carrie seemed to have too. It took me many years to stop believing this – I was fortunate to have a husband who kept telling me I was beautiful. But really it was only when Catherine Zeta Jones came along with the same face that I believed him.
Where do we look for a sense of self-worth? Far too often it is in the images that surround us. I now believe that it is what is in your head, not what is on it, that makes you beautiful.
Sebastian, writing about seeing Dame Edith Evans act for the first time says “I was convinced that I had seen not only a great comedy actress, but a dazzlingly beautiful woman. I never wavered in the first of these convictions, but not even her greatest admirers would claim she was beautiful. The fact is, in face and figure, she was what the Americans would call homely. A great actress has the skill –the genius– to present herself as she wants the audience to see her.”
Isn’t that the secret –the same old same old: your beauty comes from within.
Now my cousins say to me: “I have those cheek-bones!” the very ones I was so ashamed of in my youth. Yet when Sebastian had them, they were so handsome.