I have a real thing for biographies come summer time, and generally my biographies of choice are tragic tales of beautiful heroines of the stage and screen, or fashion icons, or famous writers, but all of them powerful and inspiring women.
So it was only natural that I read the biography of Vivien Leigh. Only. Natural.
I have been obsessed with Leigh from a very young age. Originally, my parents were going to name me Katherine Scarlett, and call me Scarlett (because I need an excuse to be even more dramatic), and the moment I heard that story as a child, I became hooked on Gone With the Wind. My mom says I almost ruined it for her, I would want to watch it as often as possible, even faking sick so I could stay home from elementary school to spend the day watching the turmoil of the south with my favorite heroine, Scarlett O’Hara. I even dressed up as Scarlett for Halloween when I was 10.
And the biography of Leigh has made me love it even more. She was a tremendously generous and giving person who managed to fill the lives of those around her with joy and love constantly. Even in the times when she was facing manic depression, she still made every effort to be a caring and kind person. She was Lady Olivier, a die-hard romantic, and she cared about being an actress. I had no idea before I read her biography that the most important thing in her life was her love of the stage and that she consistently starred in classic Shakespeare pieces as characters that would rock you to your core.
She makes me want to be a better person. She makes me want to send flowers to my friends just because, write letters to my friends across the country, be utterly fabulous and glamorous, read every book I could get my hands on, and maybe even throw my hat into the ring for a play.
Vivien Leigh, you were a gem, and an inspiration, I salute you.