Carrie Fisher meant a lot to her legion of fans. We admired her as a cultural icon and were fascinated by her life as the daughter of two celebrities. We reveled in the creativity and honesty of her writing and cheered her frankness about living with mental illness and weight stigma and appearance pressure.
Why do so many of us feel a deep connection to Carrie Fisher? Why are we in pain at her loss? A lot of it has to do with intimacy and access. Thanks to her body of work and the interviews she gave over many years, we know a lot about Carrie Fisher. What we know, including the topics mentioned above, is of a highly personal nature. This kind of intimate self-disclosure and sharing of feelings creates an emotional bond.
They say that the relationship between an actor and her fans is one sided. That’s partially true, but not entirely. Actors often crave a relationship with their audience. In fact, many of the things Carrie shared in interviews about her celebrity parents related to their desire for an audience. The draw of the celebrity to her fans is real. Although most of us did not experience Carrie Fisher face-to-face or one-on-one, this does not negate the intimacy or the power of our connection to her.
Think about it this way: The Queen of England does not form individual relationships with all of her subjects. But her whole life is dedicated to them. She thinks about them in the things she does and says and they matter to her. In turn, they each have a bond with her. Bonds with public figures do make emotional sense. They are far from a waste of time. They can and do make the lives of both the figure and the audience richer.
Despite or because of her perfect imperfection, we were drawn to and inspired by Carrie Fisher. Because her insights have captivated us, be they from her semi-autobiographical writing or her disarmingly frank comments in interviews, it seems fitting to remember Carrie through her own words. Therefore, what follows are a number of her quotations on a variety of topics important to her and to us. [Quotes can be found here: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/c/carrie_fisher_2.html]
Carrie Fisher on Celebrity
Carrie was the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. She has spoken about the toxicity of Hollywood celebrity, including how difficult it is when stardom recedes.
“In the Fifties, my parents were known as 'America's sweethearts'. Their pictures graced the covers of all the newspapers. They were the Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston of their day.”
“I am truly a product of Hollywood in-breeding. When two celebrities mate, someone like me is the result.”
“I was street smart, but unfortunately the street was Rodeo Drive.”
Carrie Fisher on Being Princess Leia
Carrie spoke about both the difficulty and the honor of being a popular culture icon. She said, for example, that it is heady stuff to see yourself as a shampoo bottle where your head screws off. Yet, she also had a warm relationship with her fans and appeared to understand and acknowledge our love for her.
“Leia follows me like a vague smell.”
“I have been Princess Leia exclusively. It's been a part of my life for 40 years.”
“I found out when I did the Oprah Winfrey show that there was a cookie jar of me. So she gave it to me. I had no idea prior to that that it even existed.”
Carrie Fisher on Appearance and Weight Stigma
Carrie herself and the character Princess Leia represent a mix of beauty and depth that resonates with so many women. Both actress and character are known for their moxie, their frankness and their ability to accomplish anything. At the same time, both are beauty icons. Women everywhere identify with this struggle of contradictions – the wanting to be bold and substantive, but feeling the pressure to fit a prescribed ideal for appearance.
“I'm in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up. They might as well say 'Get younger,' because that's how easy it is.”
“There were days I could barely struggle into a size 46 or 48, months of larges and XXLs, and endless rounds of leggings with the elastic at the waist stretched to its limit and beyond - topped with the fashion equivalent of a tea cozy. And always black, because I was in mourning for my slimmer self.”
“We treat beauty like an accomplishment, and that is insane. Everyone in L.A. says, 'Oh, you look good,' and you listen for them to say you've lost weight. It's never 'How are you?' or 'You seem happy!'”
Carrie Fisher on Mental Health
“I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I'm still surviving it, but bring it on. Better me than you.”
“One of the great things to pretend is that you're not only alright, you're in great shape. Now to have that come true - I've actually gone on stage depressed and that's worked its magic on me, 'cause if I can convince you that I'm alright, then maybe I can convince me.”
“I'm very sane about how crazy I am.”
Carrie Fisher on Her Writing
Fisher’s work Postcards from the Edge is a semi-autobiographical story that touches upon some of the issues reviewed here including mental illness, addiction, the pitfalls of celebrity and the way forward to sanity.
“I have a mess in my head sometimes, and there's something very satisfying about putting it into words. Certainly it's not something that you're in charge of, necessarily, but writing about it, putting it into your words, can be a very powerful experience.”
One Final Carrie Fisher Quotation
“People see me and they squeal like tropical birds or seals stranded on the beach.”
This last Carrie Fisher quotation, for me, represents so much of what we love about her. In it, we see her sardonic sense of humor, the acknowledgment of the absurdity of celebrity, but also that almost childlike acknowledgement of the love that we feel for her that she reflected back to us.
Right now, I am missing not only what Carrie Fisher was to us—her words and that inimitable style – but I am mourning the loss of all of the things we might have heard from her in the days and years to come.
Carrie, we miss you. We love you. May YOUR Force be with US!