There's no arguing that Jackie Collins had a fascinating and unique life. The bestselling author, whose family confirmed her death Saturday after a battle with breast cancer, grew up in England but ultimately became a Hollywood insider. She went from 15-year-old high school dropout (after being expelled, no less) to trailblazing novelist. Along the way, she racked up numerous impressive accomplishments, including selling more than 500 million copies of her often scandalous books and even meeting the Queen of England. There's no sugar-coating it: she was a badass.
After getting kicked out of school and deciding not to return, Collins headed to Hollywood and dabbled in acting. Writing, however, was always her passion — so much so that she did it until she died. Amazingly, her first manuscript was quickly accepted, kicking off a four-decade long career that was wildly popular, yet sometimes intensely controversial.
Being criticized wasn't something the author worried about, though. Collins remained open and honest, both in her writing and life in general. She tackled topics that other writers wouldn't touch, from sex to double standards. Her life was lived on her terms and without regrets.
In celebration of Jackie Collins' life, here are 10 badass facts about the author:
She had a famous sister, but she left her own legacy.
As the sister of actress Joan Collins, it would have been easy for Jackie to live in her shadow. Instead, she managed to become famous in her own right, carving out a place for herself in writing.
All of her books were New York Times bestsellers.
Every single book that Collins published hit the coveted New York Times bestsellers list. What an accomplishment.
Her first book was banned because of its (realistic) depiction of a sexual relationship.
When The World Is Full of Married Men came out in 1968, it was banned in Australia. Not only does the book include an affair, it contains extremely steamy sex scenes, especially for the time. Collins also described the book as turning the double standard on its head.
She rebelled against her father's chauvinism by writing strong female characters.
Being candid as always, Collins told the Daily Mail that her father was a "chauvinist." His attitude toward women was a huge influence on her, inspiring her to fight against the gender double standard. Impressive.
She wrote her books long-hand, as in by hand.
Collins knew how to use a computer and did so while researching, but she chose to write her manuscripts using pen and paper. I can't imagine the hand cramps, but since Collins started her writing career before computers were in almost every home, it makes sense that she got into the habit. She told Hello magazine that she had an assistant to type the pages up, so I guess why mess with a good thing?
Collins did most of her own editing.
In an interview with The Examiner, the author shared that she was "very rarely edited" because she prefers to do it on her own. As she said, "If I fail, I'd rather fail on my mistakes, rather than somebody else's." Although I personally am a fan of editing, I'd never considered that perspective before; I think it's really interesting and admirable.
She overcame loss.
Not only did she lose her mother to breast cancer at a young age, Collins lost both her beloved second husband and later her fiancé to other forms of the disease. The author learned to move on, while enjoying the good memories and celebrating the lives of her loved ones.
Collins was OK with being single.
Also in Hello, she shared that she enjoyed being single. "I've had so many great relationships in my life, I don't feel the need to be in another one. I want to be in control of the remote," she said.
She didn't let a cancer diagnosis ruin her life.
"I've written five books since the diagnosis, I've lived my life, I've travelled all over the world, I have not turned down book tours and no one has ever known until now when I feel as though I should come out with it," Collins told People.
She lived without regrets.
In her interview with People, which took place just days before she died, Collins discussed her very full and unique life. "Looking back, I'm not sorry about anything I did," she shared. It's amazing that she was able to say that at the end.
Images: Giphy (5)