by Keith Lutz, Staff Writer
Star of film and screen as well as an aspiring entrepreneur, producer, and a globally recognized fashion icon, Charlize Theron has many titles to her name but you probably recognize her for playing strong female characters that exude grace, poise, charm and are utterly dripping with style. She’s what every woman wants to be when they’re in charge and she’s who all of the men look towards when considering modern Hollywood beauty. And that’s what makes her so universally appealing as a fashion and style icon: Her strength which exudes both sexiness and command. Charlize Theron is no quivering tree suffering fools in the heady winds of Hollywood’s male-dominated world. Charlize Theron pioneers her own path and we’re here to learn from her. Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about her background, her style history, and just what makes Charlize Theron such an irresistible figure in the world of fashion and film.
Theron’s film career began back in the 1990s with a slate of roles in films such as 1997’s The Devil’s Advocate and 1999’s The Cider House Rules. She won an Academy Award for Best Female Actress for her turn in 2003 in Monster as Aileen Wuornos. She followed this up with a nomination for her role in 2005’s North Country and has since racked up a bevy of action film roles such as Prometheus and Mad Max: Fury Road. Needless to say, versatility is Theron’s strong suit.
As far as her style is concerned, it is a sure strength and one she readily acknowledges, telling Elle Magazine about how she is not afraid to take risks, “It depends on what it is. Sometimes it’s time-consuming, you can’t just do it overnight. You can shave your head, but I’ve had to gain a lot of weight for movies, I’ve had to drop weight really fast for movies. I’ve had to learn accents or embody physical behaviors or twitches and things like that. And sometimes you take to some things easily and sometimes [not]. That’s the challenge of the job. That’s why I like my job so much, because at the end of the day they’re fruits of labor that you don’t pick very easily. And I love that. I like hard work. I like putting the effort towards it and then being able to look at it and go, ‘All right, I did that.’”
A dual US and South African citizen, her winning an Academy Award in 2003 represents the first time an actress from South Africa has won that prize. She has since gone on to expand her ventures into production as well as starring in ads for fashion houses. Her recent appearance as a Dior spokesmodel has solidified her position as both an international style icon and modern Hollywood royalty.
And it seems that Charlize Theron is very much aware of her position in Hollywood – as well as how much it contrasts with the notion that only younger starlets should command attention. Long a problem in both film and fashion, youth is often treasured over experience and, though Theron has somewhat eternally young looks, she still acknowledges the double-standard operating for women in the industry.
She told Elle Magazine when asked about youth in fashion and film, “It’s ironic that we’ve built the beauty world around 20-year-olds, when they have no f–kin’ concept about wisdom, what life is about, having a few relationships below [their] belt and feeling hardships, to grow into [their] skin and feel confident within [themselves] and to feel the value of who [they] are, not because of a man or because of something like that. And I think that’s such a beautiful thing.”
Indeed, Theron’s style considerations – as evidenced by her Dior role – are often “considered,” that is, taking into account both personal tastes as well as what is “eternally” in style. This is why Theron’s looks often tend towards the classically glamorous and usually incorporates touchstone pieces such as luxurious gowns in metallics, among others. In fact, many of her Dior campaigns use this same signature style to set off her classic beauty as well as her uniquely hued emerald eyes and golden hair.
She’s also daring when it comes to her style and credits her South African heritage for her pragmatic approach to outfits.
In an interview with Elle Magazine, she said, “I’m incredibly lucky, people are very generous and sending me stuff. I never take that for granted, but I’m always very aware that I’m one person and I can’t wear everything. The idea of stuff just hanging in my closet and not being used — there’s a little bit of the African in me that gets bothered by that [somewhat].”
As anyone who has followed her career, this is not surprising as Theron has always shown a keen interest for doing her part and contributing to the world in a positive way. To the extent that she is able, she often incorporates her fashion and style sensibilities into her work as a philanthropist even though these two worlds might seem at odds. This is because fashion and style is a combination of spiritual and physical, or the material and the immaterial, for Theron.
She told Elle Magazine, “I know that I’m only as good as I am because of the things that I allow into myself and into my soul, because that’s the stuff that I project back out. So I can’t live in a bubble and expect to come and work with Dior or go work on a movie and not have some kind of an evolution within myself and my own thought process and a passion about things or what’s happening in the world. All of those things are the elements that make you who you are, and those are the things that sincerely come across in a photo or a commercial or in an interview. That’s a constant thing for me. I make a real effort to try and live in the real world and not just the dream world.”
Perhaps that is why, when The Guardian asked her about her favorite word, Theron chose “Compassion.” When asked about her least favorite word, she said “Judgment.” Theron exists in a halcyon world that few mortals will dare enter, yet she is keenly aware of this lofty position and tries to connect in a very real way through both style and action. The world of fashion is often filled with a lot of judgment but so rarely does compassion enter into the equation. Perhaps that is why Theron is so enduringly appealing and will likely remain so for years to come.