Mirren admits she struggled to use her own sexuality as leverage early on in her career, until her scandalous role in films like 1969’s Age of Consent – in which she stripped as the teenage muse of an older painter.
And she’s happy to have paved the way for contemporary actresses and music artists.
She tells New York Magazine, “I much prefer overt sexuality to sleazy, vulgar prurience… I was kind of a trailblazer because I demanded to do it my own way. I’d say, ‘I’m not having it put on me by someone else…’
“I’m thrilled young girls are claiming their sexuality for themselves. I love bold women: Madonna and Scarlett Johansson – sexy and gorgeous, but not only that. And Miley Cyrus – fantastic! And Lady Gaga. I love the way she’s elevated pop to performance art, or dragged performance art down to pop, or maybe made a wonderful amalgam of the two.”