As I watched the violently graphic film Savages this weekend (not for the faint of heart) I couldn’t help but fall in love with Salma Hayek’s character as the leader of a major drug cartel in Mexico. It was the same feeling I got watching Lucy Lui as O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill, Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsmen, and Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. There is something about a strong female villain that is so much more gripping than the typical “bad guy” we have grown so accustomed to.
In Savages, Salma has lost her husband, who was in charge of the largest drug cartel in Mexico and is the new boss. Her scenes include slapping one of her workers while yelling every bad word in the Spanish language, watching a traitor being tortured to death without batting an eyelash, and casually chatting with her in-house hostage via Skype. Other than her character’s extremely cold personality, her style in the movie is absolutely perfect. All her scenes include a necklace with a string of obscenely large diamonds, and she absolutely rocks amazing outfits like a white pant-suit and a stunning red dress. All the while, she sports a fierce black wig with straight cut bangs. Needless to say, she was the most stylish drug cartel boss I’d ever seen. If her character was played by a man I wouldn’t be as impressed, because you don’t expect women to be so evil and equally gorgeous. Que Fuerte!
Speaking of evil, nobody played evil better than Charlize Theron in the most recent depiction of Snow White. She literally sucks the youth out of girls to maintain her own, all the while parading around her dark castle in costumes fit for (naturally) a true Queen. Forget Snow White, she was the real star of this movie and looked absolutely stunning in every single scene, even when her youth was fading. Her stunning high feathered collars, lethally spiked crowns, and extraordinary jewelry stole every scene. If evil could ever be majestic, Charlize perfected the combination.
Flash back to Meryl Streep as the editor of the biggest fashion magazine in the world in The Devil Wears Prada. Her furs that she threw onto the table for her stuttering assistants to hang up were enough to cause a PETA protest. Her attitude alone made all the designer clothes look ten times better, and her expertly flipped chic hair was the perfect match to each of her looks. We LOVED to hate her in this movie and after watching it, I just wanted to be a ruthless fashion editor à la Miranda Priestly and rule the fashion kingdom.
There are so many more female villains that come to mind, but the last of my favorites has to be Lucy Liu as O-Ren in Kill Bill with her Crazy 88 men ready for a fight at the nod of a head. The fashion for this movie was on a whole different level, set in Japan with Lucy playing the gorgeous assassin that witnessed the murder of her parents as a child and vowed revenge, growing into one of the most dangerous female assassins in existence. Her final one-to-one battle with Uma Thurman in the snow gave me a whole new appreciation for Japanese fans and kimonos.
Not that such evil behavior should ever be encouraged in real life, but watching amazing actresses portray such strong, unconventional roles creates a certain impact that no Joker from Batman or Darth Vader could ever come close to portraying. How do we feel this powerful in real life? Leave out all the cruelty and just dress to kill. Think powerful shoulders, spikes, dark colors, rich fabrics and sparkling diamonds. Vive la femme fatale!