There are just some stars who make a profound impact not only through their roles, but off-screen, as well, and Carrie Fisher was one of them. Fisher died on Tuesday at the age of 60, but she will, of course, be remembered as someone who transformed Hollywood and the lives of young girls and women everywhere. As much of an inspiration as she will forever be, there was a time when the woman who brought Princess Leia to life had a lack of confidence while filming the hit films from George Lucas. And Carrie Fisher's self-doubt during Star Wars makes her all the more relatable.
Ever since she appeared on screen in Return of the Jedi while wearing that famous gold bikini next to Jabba the Hutt, Fisher was labeled a sex symbol. The moment even became a fantasy for some. (Remember on Friends when Ross wanted Rachel to dress up as "Princess Leia in the gold bikini"?)
But, believe it or not, Fisher never saw herself that way. While chatting with the New York Daily News in December 2015, the actor opened up about her self-doubt and revealed it took her a decade to realize what the gold bikini meant to others. "What's funny is I wish I had known I was a sex symbol. That's so odd," she admitted. "Because I don't think that way. I don't look at myself even remotely that way. So that would have been hilarious, if I had the chops for hilarious at the time."
Really, who goes around thinking they are a sex symbol? It's completely understandable why Fisher didn't view herself that way. Add in all of the pressures from the outside world, specifically Hollywood, and it's no wonder Fisher was so hard on herself.
Like many other women actors throughout the past and present, Fisher felt pressure to ensure she looked a certain way. "There are other pictures of women with t*ts and [looking] sexy [in swimwear], like Bridget Bardot and Sophia [Loren], and then there's me in that [gold] bikini," she told the Daily News. "I'm an extremely self-conscious and tense person … I did not know that I was pretty. I just thought I looked OK and I could go out."
Fisher just saw herself as an actor alongside a cast of primarily men doing something she loved and playing a multi-dimensional character, but not someone who would become a so-called sex symbol. "I went from the only female in that series, and it wasn't a real sexual character, to all of a sudden, boom," she told the Daily News.
As it seems to go with my female roles both on the big and small screens, Fisher's character was turned into someone who began to be recognized more for her appearance, rather than just for being a multifaceted badass. The fact that many were paying more attention to her bikini, body, and face, rather than her talent is rightfully something Fisher despised.
Similar to how Jabba the Hutt kidnapped Leia and viewed her as an object, that is sadly how the world started seeing Fisher after that gold bikini scene. Funnily enough, Fisher even told NPR in November she couldn't wait until Leia killed Jabba so she could take off the gold bikini. Can you blame her?
"When [director George Lucas] showed me the outfit, I thought he was kidding and it made me very nervous," she said. "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. ..."
She continued, "What redeems it is I get to kill him [Jabba], which was so enjoyable ... I sawed his neck off with that chain that I killed him with. I really relished that because I hated wearing that outfit and sitting there rigid straight, and I couldn't wait to kill him."
Seeing that Fisher has experienced self-doubt over her physical appearance shows how hardly any women are exempt from feeling this way. When a huge celebrity like Fisher admits they aren't 100 percent confident and sometimes don't like themselves it becomes almost comforting to know a famous, rich, talented, and successful woman is just like us everyday women who feel the exact same way from time to time.
Unfortunately, the pressure to be perfect is something she said she continued to face throughout her life. As the January Good Housekeeping UK cover star, Fisher claimed she was required to lose more than 35 pounds for the 2015 Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. "They don’t want to hire all of me — only about three-quarters! Nothing changes: it’s an appearance-driven thing," she said. (Reps for Bad Robot and Lucasfilm could not immediately be reached for comment on Fisher's claim. Bustle will update the story upon receiving any comment regarding the claim.)
"I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance," she also told Good Housekeeping. "That is so messed up. They might as well say get younger, because that’s how easy it is."
There was also a time in December 2015 when Fisher tweeted for everyone to stop judging her appearance. The criticism became too much and too ridiculous for her. She wrote:
Please stop debating about whetherOR not👁aged well.unfortunately it hurts all3 of my feelings.My BODY hasnt aged as well as I have.Blow us👌🏼— Carrie Fisher (@carrieffisher) December 29, 2015
My body is my brain bag, it hauls me around to those places & in front of faces where theres something to say or see pic.twitter.com/T2TXiEyl17— Carrie Fisher (@carrieffisher) December 29, 2015
Youth&BeautyR/NOT ACCOMPLISHMENTS,theyre theTEMPORARY happy/BiProducts/of Time&/or DNA/Dont Hold yourBreath4either/ifUmust holdAir/takeGarys— Carrie Fisher (@carrieffisher) December 30, 2015
If you're part of Hollywood, it's become a sad reality that no matter what, your physical appearance will sometimes outweigh your talent. That's something Fisher faced throughout her career, but especially when growing up as the daughter of Debbie Reynolds.
"I looked at my mother and said, 'Wow. She is gorgeous and I don’t look like her, therefore I’m not pretty. And my father doesn’t visit… I mustn’t be pretty because he likes pretty women,'" she divulged to Good Housekeeping. "You think, 'I’ll go into show business because then I’ll get enough love and they will put make-up on me properly and then my life will work.'"
Over time, Fisher realized that being pretty isn't what makes someone truly happy. "We treat beauty like an accomplishment, and that is insane," she also told Good Housekeeping. "Everyone in LA says, 'Oh you look good,' and you listen for them to say you’ve lost weight. It’s never, 'How are you?' or 'You seem happy!'"
The way Fisher viewed herself at the time of Star Wars is something many women can relate to. There is so much pressure as women to maintain a certain weight and to be physically "perfect" at all times. That is not realistic, whatsoever. Plus, there is no particular weight or physical attribute that make someone more attractive than another. Everyone in society needs to realize that no matter someone's shape, size, color, and so on, they are beautiful.
Thank goodness for Fisher. She is one of those few actors women can and will always relate to.