It only occurred to me recently as to why I’ve grown so fond towards Brie Larson: she reminds me of the rise of a certain kind of celebrity in the ‘90s. She’s normal looking – pretty, but in a normal way – and she doesn’t look tweaked or pulled or contoured. She wears normal clothes. She seems to be politically engaged in a way that a lot of celebrities were in the ‘90s too. I don’t know, she just gives me a vintage-y flair. Anyway, Brie looks totally ‘90s on the cover of the March issue of Marie Claire UK. That’s what made me think of it – this cover could have come out in 1997. For her profile, Brie hand-selected her interviewer: Keah Brown, a freelance journalist, a woman of color and someone with cerebral palsy. Brie and Keah talked about why Brie wanted someone other than a white male interviewing her. You can read the full Marie Claire piece here. Some highlights:
Why Brie requested a disabled, female journalist: ‘About a year ago, I started paying attention to what my press days looked like and the critics reviewing movies, and noticed it appeared to be overwhelmingly white male. So, I spoke to Dr Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who put together a study to confirm that. Moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive. After speaking with you, the film critic Valerie Complex and a few other women of colour, it sounded like across the board they weren’t getting the same opportunities as others. When I talked to the facilities that weren’t providing it, they all had different excuses.’
Why she wants to give women like Keah more visibility: ‘I want to go out of my way to connect the dots. It just took me using the power that I’ve been given now as Captain Marvel. [The role] comes with all these privileges and powers that make me feel uncomfortable because I don’t really need them.’
On female superheroes: ‘It’s just the beginning. Captain Marvel will not be the answer to all of these things. It’s about breaking it open to say, “Here’s another way; here’s something to look at to then continue the conversation further.” For me, just the act of accepting the role and the process of getting physically strong [Larson worked out for four and a half hours every day for three months] changed me so much and made me stronger mentally. Hopefully, that will remind others, whatever journey they’re on, of their inner strength.’
How she feels about making big money: ‘I wouldn’t say I had a surplus [amount] of money until about two years ago. So, it’s still a fresh experience for me and, because I never had it, I always felt scared of it. I grew up getting [my clothes] at the thrift store. When I was finally in a position to go out and buy a T-shirt, I was like, “How is it $100? I could buy 50 of them at the thrift store.”’
What she spends her money on: ‘The extra money I have is like energy, it’s a currency I can use. I’ve realised I’ll go broke for the people I love, and I love a lot of people. I’m happy to pitch in and help others fulfil their dreams, get on their feet, whatever it is. I donate to GoFundMe. I don’t need that much stuff, I’ve had this jean jacket I’m wearing for three years. I’m good, I don’t need another jean jacket.’
Is there something slightly performative about Brie? Sure, maybe. But don’t discount what she’s doing just because she’s aware that she’s being watched and behaving accordingly. It’s so smart for Brie to make this an issue, and to use her power to request a disabled woman of color to interview her. I also buy that Brie is really this person, that she’s trying and she wants to use her power for these kinds of things, and that she’s giving away her money and all of that. She’s a good person. I’m proud of her.
Cover courtesy of Marie Claire UK, additional photo courtesy of WENN.