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The First Words the Sublime Helen Mirren Would’ve Taught a Daughter: ‘F— Off’

Helen Mirren
Stuart C. Wilson, Getty Images

Dame Helen Mirren is 67 — and damned near flawless. She dyes her hair pink for the fun of it, publicly yells at noisy people, and knows how to walk in stripper heels.

She never had children, and that’s almost too bad — because if she’d had daughters, she’d have given them amazing life advice. Specifically, when and how to tell people to eff off.

“If I’d had children and had a girl, the first words I would have taught her would have been ‘f– off’ because we weren’t brought up ever to say that to anyone, were we?” Mirren explained to the Daily Mail. “It’s quite valuable to have the courage and the confidence to say, ‘No, f– off, leave me alone, thank you very much.’”

“You see, I couldn’t help saying ‘Thank you very much,’” she laughs. “I just couldn’t help myself.”

Politeness aside, Helen’s long entertainment career means she’s used her fair share of profanity — and that she knows a little something about sexist attitudes.

“Into the 1980s, as an actress, you would [sometimes] be the only female on set,” she recalled. “Otherwise it was completely male, and a particular kind of testosteroney male that was quite hard to deal with.”

“[Today] I find [it] very exciting, to see girl grips, girl camera … whoops, sorry, not girl, female,” she corrects herself. “FEMALE cinematographers.”

But as for roles in front of the camera, there’s a double-standard that’s been harder to change.

“I’ve seen contemporary [female] actors of mine have fantastic careers up to the age of about 45, 50, and then suddenly, as they reach the zenith of their ability … there’s nowhere for them to do it,” she said. “Whereas comparatively mediocre male actors can go on working.”

Fortunately for all of us, the powers that be in Hollywood keep Mirren busy. Catch her in theaters now in ‘RED 2,’ in which she reprises her role as badass assassin Victoria — a character she says was inspired by Martha Stewart.

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