Ever since she burst onto the big screen as Rose in Titanic (yes, our younger selves did sneak into the living room to watch the DVD when our mum wasn’t looking), Kate Winslet has been one of the most loved actors in Hollywood.
Even though, we’re sorry to say it, there definitely was room for Jack on that floating door….
From Titanic, Kate went on to bring us some other brilliant entertainment options, from Revolutionary Road, Divergent, The Reader, Avatar 2 and Sense & Sensibility to The Holiday and, most recently, the Mare of Easttown (we’re still heartbroken BTW) – and her career has been peppered with awards and accolades at every turn.
In short, Kate is our hero and so, to celebrate the Uber-talented woman’s birthday, we’ve rounded up just five of the times she proved herself worthy of the title.
1.When she refused to be airbrushed for Mare of Easttown
Speaking to The New York Times, Kate Winslet revealed that, while filming for Mare of Easttown, director Craig Zobel “assured her” he would airbrush “a bulgy bit of belly” in her sex scene. “Don’t you dare!” was Kate’s response. Kate also shared that she rejected the show’s promotional posters twice because they were too retouched. She asserted that the “fully functioning, flawed woman” she was portraying needed to be as real and honest as the women watching her.
We think it’s safe to say that we all loved this move from her – it’s always refreshing to see someone that looks like us on screen. Even back in 2015, she fought for a clause demanding that her images with L’Oréal be natural and not retouched in any way. Simply iconic.
2.When she spoke out about body image issues in Hollywood
“If she just lost 5lb, Leo would’ve been able to fit on the raft.” This was a comment made by Joan Rivers about Kate’s body during the filming of Titanic. Kate told the Irish Times, “Yes. In my 20s, people would talk about my weight a lot. And I would be called to comment on my physical self. Well, then I got this label of being ballsy and outspoken. No, I was just defending myself.” We should all be taking a leaf out of her book – why should anyone ever have to defend the way their body looks? No one – and Kate Winslet is clearly not taking anyone’s unwarranted advice.
3.She saved Richard Branson’s 90 year-old-mother from a burning building. No, seriously.
When on holiday in the Caribbean, Winslet woke up to the smell of burning. Richard Branson and his family were sleeping in a nearby building when it burst into flames after being struck by lightning. Despite thick smoke, Winslet didn’t hesitate to join the rescue team. She picked up the elderly woman in her arms and carried her away from the blaze. Branston told the Hindustan Times that it felt like it was a film: “It was quite surreal for her to be in a real-life situation like that”. A real-life action woman – could she get any cooler? No, no she could not.
4.She led the call for more roles for women over 40. And portrayed them in the way they deserve.
In Mare of Easttown, Winslet stressed that she wasn’t going to shy away from Mare’s ‘real-life’ problems. Perhaps the post-lockdown timing of the show’s release was part of it but her portrayal of Mare felt pretty on-the-nose for a lot of women, either burnt out from working from home or exhausted after home-schooling for a year. Her honest, raw portrayal of a grieving middle-aged mother didn’t shy away from anything. She also told directors she wanted to be in “complete control” of how she was presented in her sex scenes and felt that this year had been a real turning point for older actresses to play fulfilling, powerful roles.
Mare was no exception, and her character paved the way for this cause in every manner of the word. In fact, she is generally just a gal’s gal. She proudly stated that “actresses in general are celebrating one another really freely now. That didn’t exist quite as much when I was younger.” Maybe that was, in part, down to her influence and legacy as an actress. What’s not to love?
5.When she refused to thank Harvey Weinstein at the 2009 Oscars.
Back in 2009, Kate Winslet won Best Actress for her performance in The Reader, a post-WWII romantic drama based on the novel by Bernhard Schlink. In her acceptance speech, she thanked 19 people. However, she left one name off the list – Harvey Weinstein. Now, let’s bear in mind that allegations about Weinstein’s sexual abuse first surfaced in 2017. That means eight. whole. years. before the scandal was uncovered, Winslet was standing up against him and holding him accountable. She remarked to the LA Times, “I remember being told, ‘Make sure you thank Harvey if you win.’
And I remember turning around and saying, ‘No I won’t.’” She also revealed to Vanity Fair that, “for my whole career, Harvey Weinstein, whenever I’ve bumped into him, he’d grab my arm and say, ‘Don’t forget who gave you your first movie.’ Like I owe him everything,”. Well, in this truly ground-breaking, rebellious moment at the Oscars, she definitely made a stand.
Anyway, brb, just adding Kate Winslet to my ‘iconic women’ Pinterest board and asking myself “why wasn’t she on here before now?”