Joan Collins recently said that “there aren’t many good-looking actresses around today.” I absolutely agree. What today can compare to: Rita Hayworth flipping her hair (she shot her signature film “Gilda” while also 6 months pregnant); Ingrid Bergman’s close-up; Grace Kelly’s sophistication; Kathleen Hepburn’s natural elegance and acting prowess; Kathleen Turner in her husky voice plotting murders; Sharon Stone crossing and uncrossing her legs; Loren; Deneuve. These women SMOKED. They smoldered. They were unique. They were over 20 and over 100 pounds.
Movie stars are not about acting merit; it’s screen presence. It’s buying into the illusion lock stock and barrel. The women need to send our imaginations reeling — as do the men. It’s the movies! And beauty need not mean pretty. Cases in point: Bette Davis, Barbara Streisand and Bette Midler. But they had screen presence that could outshine their footlights. They were like cats on-screen. You were riveted to them no matter who else was in frame.
Though all blondes, but you would never confuse Lana Turner with Jean Harlowe or Marilyn Monroe. More and more, you can’t tell actresses apart nowadays here or in India. I can attest that what’s pretty is more like what’s anorexic and size 0 to 2. Or else, it’s cute. Maybe this has to do with all the movies now playing to tweens, thus Miley Cyrus. Exceptions: Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, and see last paragraph.
In romantic comedy, if you don’t have any curves, the better. A funny woman is best as a safe woman. Joan Collins is right: Jennifer Aniston has many virtues but she is an attractive girl-next-door. She probably will admit to that herself. Who cares when she makes as much as she does and can green light films?
The only positive: beauty is expanding. So Latinas (Sofia Vergara; Dominican Zoe Saldana, the overlooked Spaniard Paz Vega who I will plug endlessly over Penelope Cruz in looks and acting chops); African Americans (Halle Berry, Jada Pinkett Smith); South Asians (Aishwarya Rai, Shilpa Shetty); East Asians (Gong Li, Grace Park, Lucy Liu); and older women like Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Joan Allen are all getting props where they previously would not have, thereby expanding definition of what constitutes beautiful. In fact, I would say that they are more and more fitting ‘smoldering’ and ‘unique’ than their mainstream cute counterparts.