Vogue’s April issue has a series of covers featuring actresses from around the world, representing the biggest and/or most promising names from fourteen countries. Lainey emailed me about it and said, “Global actresses…and Scarlett Johansson?!?!” I get it, though, ScarJo is a huge draw around the world. Lately it seems like every story in her tag is some f-ck up or other, but she is one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, and she is still VERY popular. So it makes sense to me she would be part of this worldwide actress survey. But I do wonder if she realizes she isn’t the biggest star in this profile. That honor goes to either Angelababy or Deepika Padukone.
And ScarJo does not come off the best in this group, either. Talking about increasing opportunities for women amidst the greater push for inclusion, ScarJo says, “It’s a conversation that Hollywood has never had before. […] It feels like we’re all kind of catching up.” Not ALL, Scarlett. There are plenty of actresses who don’t repeatedly put their foot in their mouths when discussing representation and opportunity. Just because it’s a stumbling block for you doesn’t mean it is for everyone else, too.
Also not coming off super great is Korean actress Doona Bae. (She’s a favorite of the Wachowskis, so you may have seen her in Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Ascending, or Sense8.) This is a large group profile, so she has limited space to make an impression, and the one she makes is self-serious and a little condescending (Crazy Rich Asians is “kind of decent”). A profile focused on her, with the space to drill down, would probably contextualize her better, but as is, she’s lucky ScarJo is in this cohort, too. She also says her life is “basically what all millennials would probably dream about”. So…debt free?
Who does come off well? Lea Seydoux, as always, seems effortlessly cool. Elizabeth Debicki, too, always seems cools and gets in a solid shot at the sexist ways female characters are described in scripts. Eiza González (Baby Driver) talks about feeling the importance of positive representation for the Latinx community after she started working in the US. And then there is Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani (Paterson), who fled Iran after her passport was confiscated. For Farahani, every performance is a rebellion, even if she doesn’t want to be made into a symbol.
So it’s a bit of a mixed bag, but there are enough interesting women doing interesting things to create an optimistic impression of the next generation of international stars. Adesua Etomi-Wellington is helping build the reputation of Nigeria’s film industry, Hera Hilmar is repping Iceland as the next untapped well of fresh faces, Liv Lisa Fries is proof of how streaming series can launch international careers. There are so many new paths to success and ways to be heard, and this generation of ambitious actresses gets to take advantage of that. And on a completely shallow note, group profiles like this usually make for good photo spreads, although I am mildly alarmed at the number of tit bows in this spread. Let’s all agree to stop that trend before it starts.
You can check out all the photos here.