Women I Admire: Sissy Spacek

I always say that in the movie of my life I would want to be played by Sissy Spacek. Many people don’t get it, she looks nothing like me, I know, I’m black, and she’s white. But as a minority, I don’t have the luxury of a huge selection of people in movies who look like me. But more importantly, I don’t think it would matter, Sissy is a queen and I’m sure she would find a way to play me anyway, black or not.

Why do I identify so much with her? Like most actors, I identify more with her characters on screen, than her real life, (which I don’t know a whole lot about except that she has been married to the same man for 40 years, which is a triumph in and of itself). I first saw her as Carrie, the ultimate revenge fantasy for a high school misfit (actually, don’t tell anyone but I saw Carrie 2 first, it came out when I was having a rough time in Middle School). I also loved her in Badlands, where she played an adventuresome prairie girl, who takes up with a charming stranger and goes on a violent crime spree in the heartland. In 3 Women, she plays the awkward and demure character of Pinky, who has a nervous breakdown and changes drastically as the movie goes on. I could go on, but I won’t.

In her personal upbringing, Sissy Spacek was a self-described tomboy. Her character Holly turned into a bit of a tomboy, after learning to shoot a gun, but she also played the very feminine Pinky and Loretta Lynn. She’s played introverts and extroverts, Type As, type Bs and everything in between. What strikes me about Spacek is her ability to be sensitive without seeming frail on incapable. When I picture a sensitive person, I think of Sissy Spacek.

I tend to fall into the trap of thinking that actors are bad people. As an introvert, I don’t have a huge amount of respect for extroverts, but actors are some of the worst it seems, because they feed on the love and energy of others, and they make their living lying. Sissy Spacek almost makes me think that actors may not be so bad.

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