If you want an example of a Fierce Lady, look no farther than Jennifer Lawrence.
More than any other recent female actress or celebrity, Jennifer has shaped our culture’s opinion of her — seemingly, through sheer force of will.
If you’re a woman aspiring to be a Fierce Lady — or a man aspiring to attract a Fierce Lady into his life — it pays to be aware of the characteristics of one of the best female role models alive today:
- Keep a sense of perspective about your job. “I’m not saving anybody’s life. There are doctors who save lives and firemen who run into burning buildings. I’m making movies. It’s stupid.” This from an Oscar-winner! While she keeps a sense of perspective, Jennifer is also reportedly totally serious and focused on set. But her perspective on her profession is what keeps her humble, and humility is a key trait to develop for a woman aspiring to be a Fierce Lady, or a man aspiring to become a F.G.
- Stays away from unhealthy influences. “The internet to me is kind of like a black hole, and I never really go on it.” Readers, take note: the “black hole” aspects of the Internet are to be guarded against, while the incredible power of the Internet to unleash your creative genius on the world is not to be underestimated.
- Understand that you’re a role model, and that your actions speak louder than words…but that words do matter. Jennifer clearly understands she’s a role model, and as such, there are consequences for her actions. In word and deed, Jennifer has made a deliberate move towards not starving herself into the thin, waifish actress that Hollywood and popular culture expects. “I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner…That’s something I was really conscious of during training…I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong – not thin and underfed.” (How’s that for a meme?) And also: “I’ll never starve myself for a part.” In a society obsessed with unattainable Photoshopped standards of beauty, this is a revolutionary act.
- Speaking the truth that no one else dare voice has power. Jennifer dares speak what she knows to be true, even if it contradicts social convention. On the topic of female beauty standards again: “You look how you look. Be comfortable. What are you going to do? Be hungry every single day to make other people happy? That’s just dumb.” The courage and conviction to speak this boldly is rare, and in that honesty is real power.
- Be aware that success will change you. “A doctor takes their doctor coat off and goes home. Sometimes I wish I could just shed this…. Go down the street and get my own coffee or go into a restaurant and just sit there. A huge part of my life force as an actor is just people-watching, and I can’t do that anymore. That scares me because if I’m going to start running on memories, then eventually I’m going to run out of the memories I had from before I was famous—about how it felt to just sit in a café and watch people who were just talking and not staring at me.” This is such a sad statement, it feels like a scene from a movie. Hats off for this level of self-awareness, Ms. Lawrence, and may you find your tiny cafes where nobody knows your name, and create new memories to fuel your art.
- Keep it real. Jennifer clearly doesn’t put herself on a pedestal, and this inspires admiration in everyone around her. Says Emma Stone, “I am so grateful that she exists in the world, as someone who is authentic and who has not bent to fit any idea of what a woman should be in that kind of a position.” Others who have worked with her have often said that “What you see is what you get.” This is what Fierce Ladies should aspire to as well. Says Liam Hemsworth: “There’s no filter […] She says whatever she wants, whenever she wants.” A Fierce Lady may apply a bit more tact, but Lawrence’s lack of filter is refreshing, particularly in the calculating, rarified atmosphere of Hollywood.
- Be prosaic about your beauty, and makes smart choices about it. “I dress like an old woman in my real life. If you’re having a conversation with people, you don’t want them to remember you as the girl with the tits. You want them to pay attention to what you’re saying.” And because of this, she has become so much more than just another pretty face in Hollywood: even other beautiful women look up to her, like Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli, who admitted to having a crush on Jennifer, and said “She’s what a woman should look like.” It’s safe to assume Bar is talking about more than just Jennifer’s physical appearance.
- Stay resilient. Says Jennifer: “Things can happen to you, but they don’t have to happen to your soul.”
Jennifer, an actress, teaches us deep lessons in being — that when we act, we put on a mask that covers who we truly are, and we give away our power. By leaving the masks on the screen and refusing to act to “fit in” to Hollywood culture, Ms. Lawrence is has given none of her power away. (That’s probably why Forbes recently named her the Most Powerful Woman in Hollywood.)
And by keeping all her power for herself, she’s been able to have a much more profound impact. (And I’m willing to bet she’s happier, too.)
Jennifer showed up on the scene and immediately gave lie to every Hollywood starlet who was behaving from a persona or a mask. We see their off-screen acting in stark contrast to Jennifer’s real-life shenanigans. Yes, she’s crude, and sometimes foul-mouthed, impolite, or improprietous, but we value all that because it is real.
She’s not filtering; she’s not trying to impress anybody; and most critically, she’s not trying to give us any impression of herself that is any different from who she actually is. That is the ultimate breath of fresh air in a room stunk up by the fetid stench of fakery.
This deep honesty with who we really are is a lesson for anyone who’s ever worn a mask.
There is much to consider here for women, who are rewarded for always being “nice” and always filling into social roles (even though it makes them rage and seethe inside to do so, since it is unacceptable for them to show outward anger).
What would happen in you, as a woman, if you let YOUR mask drop, and let your true self surface?
For men, who are taught to wear a mask of “masculinity” in polite society in which fear, rage or tenderness is verboten, we are asked to consider: what might we be like if we let the mask drop? What would come out to play, if we let it?
As you consider this, if you feel a little fear — this is a good thing. Our fear is a compass, guiding us towards greatness. (Tweet this.)
Follow your fear. Hunt it. And bring it down.
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Also published on Medium.