As if 2016 couldn't be more cruel, Carrie Fisher has joined the long list of celebrities that have now passed away during this terrible year. Known for her kindness and wit, Carrie Fisher rose to fame after portraying Leia Organa in the "Star Wars" films. But Carrie Fisher was more than just an actress, she was a role model.
1. She was open about having a mental illness
Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Fisher challenged the stigma of sharing mental health problems publicly, and openly talked about the realities of mental health conditions. Her honesty earned her the reputation of being a mental health hero and taught others that her mental illness does not define her.
2. She did not shy from explaining it to young children
At the 2015 Indiana Comic Con, a young boy asked Fisher what "bipolar" means. Instead of shying away from the question, Fisher gave an honest and insightful answer.
3. She spoke out about her past drug addiction
Just like she was an advocate for mental health, Carrie Fisher never sugarcoated her struggle with addiction and spoke openly and honestly about her battle. She did not act ashamed or hide that part of her life, and instead used her story to try and help others.
4. She combated sexism
When "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was released, some parents called for a ban on all Leia merchandise due to the fact that in "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" Fisher's character wore a revealing outfit. To which Carrie Fisher replied, "I think that’s stupid ... The father who flipped out about it, 'What am I going to tell my kid about why she’s in that outfit?' Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage."
5. And ageism
Fisher was very outspoken about the link between older male actors and young female costars. She said, "I’m a female working in show business, where, if you’re famous, you have a career until you’re 45, maybe. Maybe. And that’s about 15 people.”
6. And body shaming
After "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was released, viewers praised Fisher's costars Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford for aging well, but complained that Fisher did not look good for her age. To which Fisher replied, "Men don’t age better than women, they’re just allowed to age." After all, earnings for female actresses peak at 34 years old and then start to decrease, while earnings for male actors rise until age 51. So maybe people just weren't used to seeing a 59-year-old woman on screen.
7. Her most well-known character is a role model to women everywhere
A strong female character played by an equally strong actress.