In 1999, Julia Roberts made waves when she walked the Notting Hill premiere red carpet — but not for the usual reasons. Yes, her sparkly dress was fabulous, and yes, she was America's newest sweetheart, but Robert's armpit hair took center stage as she made her way down to the event.
Wearing a cap sleeve sequined shift, she held her velvet clutch in one hand and waved at cheering fans with the other, allowing the paparazzi to snap thousands of frantic photos of her short tufts of underarm hair and cement the moment in pop culture history.
As you can imagine, the reactions were varied. Some cringed at the idea of having so much body hair — and flaunting it at a red carpet while wearing a designer dress, no less. Others hailed it as a feminist moment and a statement against antiquated beauty standards. But according to Roberts, it wasn't really a planned-out move. While it might have made waves at the time — and still does when other women follow in her footsteps — it was more of a mistake than a strategy. She simply didn't realize people were going to see her pits.
Twenty years later, Roberts shared the story behind the au naturel look, where she delved into that moment during her appearance on Busy Tonight. Promoting her new Amazon mystery mini-series Homecoming, she was questioned about that pivotal moment in between chatting about her new project.
The host, Busy Philipps, said that when she was younger and saw Roberts flaunt her fuzz, she thought it was very punk and inspiring — but Roberts never went on the record to confirm or deny if it was a pointed statement. So Philipps prodded and asked if the hair was an intentional subversion, or if Roberts was just like, "I just cannot shave my pits this month."
"I just hadn’t really calculated my sleeve length and the waving and how those two things would go together and reveal personal things about me," Roberts told Philipps. "So it wasn't so much a statement, as it's just part of the statement I make as a human on the planet, for myself."
While it might not have been a direct feminist statement, it's still wildly relateable. How many times have you only shaved only your knees because of the holes in your jeans, or decided not to waste time in the shower with a razor because you knew no one was going to see your body hair?
Even though it wasn't necessarily intentional, the actress has inspired a slew of other Millennial and Gen-Z people to follow in her footsteps, where everyone from Paris Jackson to Amandla Stenberg have done the same thing.
And let's not forget that Roberts constantly pushes against fashion and beauty standards that try to box women in — like that time she walked barefoot down the Cannes Film Festival red carpet when an unofficial rule stated women had to wear heels. Roberts just DGAF, and neither should you.