If one thing is for sure, Amber Heard isn’t afraid to speak out, whether it's about politics, society's rigid (not to mention incredibly exclusive) beauty standards, the film industry’s shallow perpetuation of those beauty standards, or the way women are treated differently based upon physical appearance. The actress and advocate opened up about all of this—and more—in Allure’s new December cover story.
Being a woman in Hollywood, it seems, only serves to highlight and exacerbate issues with beauty and sexism that everyone can relate to. And as Heard proves, these conversations are eye-opening for some, depressing for most, and important for all of us to participate in.
“[As a kid,] seeing princesses in my books called beautiful was frustrating. I found the same frustration in Hollywood. I read 5 to 10 scripts a week, and 4 out of 5 have nothing else to say about the female lead. Always the same adjectives: beautiful or sexy or some version of it. I started saying to my agents, ‘Don’t send me scripts where the first adjective in the female description is ‘beautiful.’ And if the second is ‘enigmatic,’ throw it in the trash.” The word ‘enigmatic’ means ‘Her backstory doesn’t matter.’ I fell for that so many times.” When asked about the first key adjective for the stereotypical male lead, Heard responded, “There isn’t one — it depends on the movie and the story. And that’s the key.”
We applaud Heard for speaking out about gender-based issues. While some people might argue that Hollywood scripts aren’t important or meant to be taken too seriously, we disagree. They matter because they dictate how real people are represented. And, as we know, representation matters (this is also why we’re so happy to see beauty brands like Fenty Beauty, H&M, Sephora, and ASOS turn to more inclusive and diverse ad campaigns).
“I was wired from an early age: I don’t want to be the princess. I want to be the prince. I want to do the fun stuff. I would rather be brave or smart than pretty,” she said. “They’re not mutually exclusive, my face and my brain.”
While it’s worth noting that Heard does in fact seem to fit the bill for Hollywood’s and society’s traditional beauty standards, that doesn’t mean that her experience is any less real or her perspective is any less important. We can all learn from it. For example, we can learn to embrace aging, which is a concept that other A-List celebs have been backing as of late. Helen Mirren, for one, refuses to even use the term anti-aging. As you might expect, Heard is totally on board with this. “What an honor to grow into your face,” she said, “to have the things that aren’t ephemeral speak the loudest.”
Head over to Allure to read Heard’s full interview. Then, see trans women share the first time a beauty product made them feel like themselves.