Helen Mirren Reveals Her Rules for a Happy Life in Commencement Speech

Dame Helen Mirren isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She once professed her love for clear stripper heels and told Women & Home magazine, “I always wear stripper shoes because it’s pretty intimidating to find yourself in a room full of incredibly beautiful women who are at least a foot taller than you.”

The unfiltered dame did it again when she spoke at Tulane University’s 2017 commencement, and she didn’t mince words when she offered graduates her rules for a happy life.

In true Mirren fashion, she started off the speech by saying, “First — keep it short. No one wants to hear a 30-minute speech. So, that’s it, I’m done, see you at the bar. Make mine a vodka martini with a wedge of lime. The lime is because I’m a health fanatic,” before outlining her top five rules:

  • Rule No. 1: “Don’t be in a rush to get married.”
  • Rule No. 2: “Treat people just like people … every single person, whether they have dominion over your life or not, deserves equal respect and generosity.”
  • Addendum to rule No. 2: “No matter what sex you are, be a feminist.”
  • Addendum to the addendum: “Never again allow a group of old, rather grumpy, rich white men define the health care of a country that is 50.8 percent women and 37 percent other races.”
  • Rule No. 3: “Ignore anyone who judges the way you look, especially if it’s some anonymous creep lurking on the Internet. If you are that person lurking on the Internet, stop it.”
  • Rule No. 4: “Don’t be afraid of fear … throw caution to the winds. Look fear straightaway in its ugly face and barge forward. And when you get past it, turn around and give it a good swift kick in the ass.”
  • Rule No. 5: “Don’t overcomplicate things … do call your parents at least once a week. Tell them you love them. Then ask for money.”

In addition to delivering the keynote address, the Oscar-winning actress also received an honorary degree from Tulane University.

Check out a full transcript of the speech here.

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