To me, this is the defining image of Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia.
It’s from The Empire Strikes Back (1980), made when Fisher was only 22 years old. The Rebels are about to flee their base on Hoth as the Empire attack. After the triumphalism of Star Wars (1977), the film is a darker, almost nihilistic tale of the rebels constantly on the back foot, trying to escape the clutches of the vengeful Empire.
When I watch this movie with my daughter, I will often make sure she is paying attention to this scene, and explain why I think the Princess is so impressive.
Any woman who aspires to any position of leadership will likely face a similar situation. Alone, in a male dominated environment, facing down a crowd of men.
Confronting their possible annihilation, Leia has to muster the troops, briefing them on the plan to hold off the Empire and make their escape. Fisher was a beautiful woman, shorter than the men she is commanding, a female amongst the male pilots.
None of that matters. She is in charge. She has poise, confidence, and the authority to lead these men. She has to give them the hope they need to believe in.
Hope. I hope my daughter remembers this scene. Be like Carrie Fisher’s Leia. Own the room, inspire others to greatness, address those men like a boss.
Because you are, just like her.
RIP Carrie Fisher. Thank you for inspiring and enlightening generations of little girls and boys.
Image from ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ (1980), directed by Irvin Kershner, © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.