The crowds on the red carpet parted, and for a brief moment, the rowdy photographer pit quieted:
The queen Dame Helen Mirren had arrived.
Mirren, one of eight powerful forces of the silver screen celebrated at ELLE's annual Women in Hollywood event, held the ballroom at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills captive when she took to the stage to accept her legend award. "Yass Queen!" Vanessa Hudgens shouted out from the back of the room. (We all heard you, Vanessa.)
What happened next was a completely charming, self-deprecating, inspiring, and all around nasty speech, capped off by some sound life advice. And who wouldn't want that from Helen freaking Mirren?
Read it in full:
"Well you know my mum would have been pleasantly surprised at this compliment. My father would have believed every word and later on my husband, Taylor, will say, 'Well, after all these years, you still fool me, you're still getting away with it, Helen.' Isn't this how we always feel? Like we're getting away with it. We really don't deserve it, you know?
I am going to be the nastiest of all nasty women
"Anyway, you know when I was about 14 years old, I remember I was sitting on this park bench…no, not park. It wasn't a park, it was a bus stop! Yeah, it was a bus stop. I was sitting at this bus stop, wanting so desperately to be an actress. Wanting to make my mark on the world. Wanting to be famous, wanting… just wanting, you know how it is when you're young and you just want. I was convinced that a big black car would drive by and it would screech to a halt next to the bus stop and this man would get out with a cigar in his mouth and he would say, 'You're the one! You're the star! Come with me!' Well of course needless to say I [was] brought up in a town that was like the British equivalent of Coney Island so that was highly unlikely. Instead my trajectory took a different kind of path which was more to do with idealism, belief in work, being punctual, which has brought me to this incredibly incredible place–especially the punctuality part of that. Never particularly been a fan of the words "the late Helen Mirren. ' Although I think with the Legend award, that name is probably coming at me like an express train [laughs]. Anyway, all I can say is that the best of that whole story now is that that 14-year-old is out there sitting on a bench just as I was. She's out there, feeling the same feelings and a small electric car will screech to a halt beside her and out will get a woman.
I don't look at this truly meaningful award as a recognition of what I've been fortunate enough to accomplish in the past but as a reminder to step up my game in the future.
"So, I'm a legend. My career is definitely over. No more Red 1 and 2, no more playing the queen-thank God, no more five a.m. calls. No more appearances on Fallon, no more borrowing lovely jewelry-it's going be all early bird dinners and CNN at eleven o'clock in the morning for me. Well, you know what? Not a bloody chance of that. Because I don't look at this truly meaningful award as a recognition of what I've been fortunate enough to accomplish in the past but as a reminder to step up my game in the future. Take on new challenges and make you proud that you have chosen me tonight.
Never drink alcohol unless you are celebrating something, upset on something or if it's a day that ends with the letter 'Y.'
"Anyway, you have given me something that I will treasure forever and I'm just quickly going to give you a few tips to get through life because, obviously, you know I'm quite old so I've lived quite a lot of life. Feel free to pass these along, my top five tips.
Never drink alcohol unless you are celebrating something, upset on something, or if it's a day that ends with the letter 'Y.' And never drink when you are driving.
There are no rules about love-I don't believe-but don't be in a rush to get married, honestly. I married Taylor much later in my life and it's worked out just great. Give your partner the freedom and support to achieve their ambitions. Very important and that goes both ways, men and women.
At the blackjack table, always split aces, eights and nines. Believe me, it really improves the odds.
Connect with friends daily, I don't mean on Facebook. Better to have three great friends than 300 friends on social media. Friends you can really talk to.
And finally, ignore anyone who judges the way you look, especially if he or she is someone anonymous miserable creep, lurking on the Internet or is a bloated, small headed dinosaur-y handed candidate for president."
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