2016 has been a hard year. We have lost so many great people this year, but the death of Carrie Fisher has definitely hit me the hardest. Most people know Carrie from her epic role as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy and last year’s The Force Awakens as General Organa. She was more than that role though. She was an accomplished author and screen play writer, she was an advocate for mental health, a comedian, and above all, she was an icon that taught little girls that princesses didn’t have to wait to be saved by a prince, they could save themselves.
The original Star Wars trilogy came out before I was born, but I have many happy memories of sitting on the couch with my dad, watching the movies when they came on TV. At the time I didn’t know enough to realize how truly awesome Princess Leia’s character was, I just knew that she was the one girl amongst all of the guys. Looking back at it though, I can fully appreciate how great not only the character of Leia was, but also how important Carrie Fisher’s performance was.
Princess Leia was self-assured, confident, smart, and independent much like Fisher was in real life. Even though she battled through addiction and dealt with mental illness, she was able to overcome and use her experiences to bring attention to her causes. Fisher used the spring board of her popularity to reach out to girls everywhere to tell them that beauty isn’t everything. That being smart and being able to look after yourself are important. That you make your own destiny. She paved the way for strong female characters that each new generation could look up to.
Now as I watch the Star Wars movies with my kids, I know that my daughter will be able to see a great role model on screen and through her and all of the others like her, Carrie Fisher will live on.
Rest in peace, Carrie Fisher, may the Force always be with you.