– by Sammie Wetherell –
There are many names that will surround Carrie Fisher forever. I for one will remember her by these titles but I will also use the titles:
Carrie was all these things and so much more. As we come close to the release of the new Star Wars film, and the anniversary of her death, I wanted to do my own celebration of a woman whom I wish I appreciated more alive than I have done after her death.
I have always had an appreciation for Carrie and the part she played in Star Wars. How can you not, she was a rebel princess with impressive hair who welded a gun. She is an icon and hero to many women in the pop culture community. I hadn’t realise the scope of her role in Star Wars — at a young age I was too busy playing with my action figures to realise the impact she played in the lives of young girls.
A little background . . .
Carrie was born Carrie Frances Fisher on October 21, 1956. The daughter of the great Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, two iconic Hollywood stars. She was always surrounded by the glitz and glam of Hollywood, but she never wanted to be an actress. The career path of actress fell on her when she was hanging out with friends on a set one day. This led to her role in Shampoo along side Warren Beatty at the tender age of 18. With stars in her eyes she decided to learn more about the craft and go to drama school in London.
In 1976 she auditioned for a space opera called Star Wars. A film she never really saw going anywhere, she thought it would be a B-movie at best. How wrong she would be. Star Wars took off into the stratosphere and catapulted her career to great heights. Now I would like to say at a price, but Carrie’s mental heath issues started well before Star Wars.
Her mother recalled in Bright Lights, a documentary done just before their deaths, that Carrie started changing at 13. Her personality would shift from manic to depressive, she looked like a weird child in a time when bipolar was not recognised as a disease. She took drugs, drank herself stupid and overdosed before she could finally accept what was going on. Carrie would go on to be treated and spoke out about her mental health issues. Not without setbacks and breakdowns, but through time she fought back at life.
Carrie isn’t just famous for Star Wars, she also had many roles outside of the franchise. I for one will always love her as Tom Hanks’ wife in The Burbs, or Drop dead Fred, or a nun in Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. No matter how many other movies she did, the one that always came back into her life was of course Star Wars.
I’ve always seen her as this iconic being but never truly understood the impact she had on women. When I was growing up I was only interested in male characters as the hero. I grew up with an older cousin and what he liked, I liked. Luke Skywalker, He-Man and Pete Venkman were my heroes. I would’ve never looked at Princess Leia as a hero, honestly I wouldn’t have even looked at her. I was a tomboy and she wasn’t in my league. It wouldn’t be until I was much older that I truly saw her for the hero she was. Not just as Leia, but as Carrie.
I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that she is no longer with us. I wish it didn’t take me until her death to realise what she meant to me. I had no idea how much of an incredible writer she was. She truly was gifted with words and expressions, and explaining herself in a way you can understand. There was no shame with carrie in any aspect of her life. Her bravery and willing to speak up is something I find strength in, more than the role she played in Star Wars.
I could go on for hours on how much I love this woman, and still find myself crying when I see her on the screen. I want to end this article with my favourite Carrie quote.
“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. Whats important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”
Until Next Time, Peace, Love & Peanut Butter xoxo.