Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars.

Carrie Fisher has died.

I immediately started crying.  Carrie was beyond just an amazing actress Рto me, she was a true warrior princess.

Best known as Princess Leia Organa from¬†Star Wars, Carrie was born a princess in real life. The daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Carrie spent her entire life in the spotlight – both on screen and off.¬† But her life was tumultuous – it started¬†with her parents’ divorce at the age of 2, and continued¬†nearly her entire life.

Carrie made her film debut in Shampoo (1975), but her true fame came in 1977 when she brought Leia to life.  Leia was how I first met Carrie, introduced at a young age to the laser-gun-wielding, butt-kicking, sassy princess who captured the hearts of her male co-stars and the world.  She was only 19, but Leia Рand Carrie behind her Рwas a bold new vision of what a princess could really be.

Carrie’s later roles as an actress and author continued the brash, sassy, and confident personality that I fell in love with in¬†Star Wars.¬† Leia was more than a princess – she was a warrior.¬† She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and stand up to her peers, or even the menacing Darth Vader.¬† She didn’t let anyone boss her around, and she fought for the principles and causes that she believed in.¬† Yet she could also play the gracious princess, using beauty, charm, and grace to hold the hearts of millions.

And that bikini scene?  Leia owned it.  As sexist as the costume was, and as idealized as her sexuality became, Carrie owned that bikini.  She proved that a woman could be sexy and strong at the same time Рshowcasing a side to women that I had rarely seen before.  Leia was able to use any circumstance thrown at her and overcome it, even using her own chains of bondage to kill her captor and obtain her freedom.

I will forever remember Carrie as the first true warrior princess I knew: a woman who, on screen and off, proved that women were so much more than the world ever gave them credit for.¬† She owned every role, stood up for those with mental illness, and never lost her brash humor and honesty in dealing with the world. I’ll miss you, Carrie.¬† Thank you…for everything.¬† Rest in peace.

-Tiffany Rhoades
Program Developer
Girl Museum Inc.

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