She was unapologetic for who she was.
She walked slowly and deliberately into a room like she belonged there.
She looked people in the eye when she spoke, and didn’t veer away.
She held her own – in the way she carried herself and the way she handled herself with others.
I found Ava Gardner projected on the screen at the 100 year old movie theater where I was a film projectionist.
She was already dead by then.
But watching her image in film, she taught me what it was like to be alive.
There was something about her…
and at that time I wrote in my diary in the projection booth
a single word
and that was “danger”.
Years later, when coming up with a name for my company…
that word struck me most
because at the time I felt like the most “dangerous” thing to be
was my true self.
By blending in, going along with the norm, by punching the clock at the same time every day, by wearing things that everyone else wore, by toning myself down –
I was safe to everyone.
But by doing the things I ached for, by making a leap and quitting a job I hated, by wearing clothes that were different, by daring myself to do burlesque and not caring how people might judge me. When I let go….
I was dangerous.
That’s how Danger Dame was born.
When I sign off some diary entries with “love and danger”
it’s my reminder to myself to stay true to myself, to keep pushing, to keep being dangerous.
Here’s what I learned from those femme fatales of the silver screen, the top 3 ways to be dangerous:
1. Stand Up for Who You Are and What You Believe In.
Marlene Dietrich, was approached by Hitler in the late 1930s to come back to her native Berlin and be a celebrated film icon of Germany. She despised the Nazis and what they stood for, and said she would never go back to home of Berlin while he was in power. She became an American citizen in 1939 and was one of the first actresses to help sell war bonds in the fight against the Nazis.
2. Speak Slowly, Make Eye Contact and When You Look Away – Do It Deliberately.
Lauren Bacall is one of my heroes. Watch her deliver her words with punch, slow and sure. When social anxiety is gripping me and I want to just hide, look down and not make eye contact – I remember Lauren and her straight forward confidence.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Take Up Space.
Rita Hayworth in Gilda is one of the classic films in American cinema – in both of her dance numbers – notice how she holds her arms out to the sides often. She declares her space and takes it over. She’s not a shy violet shrinking in a corner. Demand your space and take it over fabulously.
In what ways are you dangerous?
When have you taken a chance, pushed yourself or gone beyond the norm?
Tell me boldly in the comments.
Let’s start a revolution.