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The Tempest bids farewell to Carrie Fisher

Most famous for portraying Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" movies, Carrie Fisher was a talented writer and advocate for mental illness and substance abuse.

It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Carrie Fisher, an actor, writer, mental health advocate, and all around dynamite human. Fisher passed away of cardiac arrest on December 27th, at the age of sixty.

Fisher is perhaps most famous around the world for her iconic performances as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” movies. Leia inspired – and continues to inspire – countless little girls who watched her with rapt wonder. She is a character who leads an inter-galactic rebellion, fighting for her people’s freedom, as well as for her own.

Fisher went on to conquer the romantic comedy genre with her supporting performance in 1989’s “When Harry Met Sally.” As Sally’s best friend Marie, Fisher portrays a dynamic, successful thirty-one year old woman settling for a relationship with a married man who did not satisfy her emotional needs.

While Sally’s journey is to realize that Harry is her ideal partner, Fisher’s portrayal of Marie is both edgier and more interesting. She is a woman who, in order to find the fulfilling romantic partnership she desires, must to learn to accept a healthier form of love from someone who truly appreciates her. As such, Marie’s journey is just as much about achieving self-love as it is about romantic love. Yes, “When Harry Met Sally” is a work of fiction, but Marie is a character who became a personal hero to many women I know.

Fisher was an icon both onscreen and off, and led a very different kind of rebellion in her own life. Before it was fashionable, Fisher let the world in on the messiness of women’s lives. Unlike previous generations of starlets, Fisher admitted her life did not live up to the standards of perfection society expects from actresses. She rejected the notion that because she sold us fantasies on screen, she had to pretend her life was one as well.

Instead of selling us the illusion of a princess descended from Hollywood royalty who herself became a global superstar before her twenty-first birthday, she showed us the complicated truth. She confidently discussed her bipolar diagnosis and her experiences living with mental illness.  She let us in on her struggles with substance abuse and addiction.  She talked openly about aging, and the damaging expectation that female celebrities continue to look the same as they did in their youths for the rest of their lives. In her professional life Carrie Fisher often lived in fantastical worlds, but when she was off-duty she was nothing but real.

So rest in piece, Ms. Fisher. You made it a little bit easier for other women to stop pretending to be perfect. Your life was a beautiful, complicated, high-achieving, messy adventure. You will not be forgotten…