Speaking at Tulane University’s commencement ceremony in New Orleans, actress Helen Mirren offered words of wisdom to the class of 2017.
“Whether you’re in Tipitina’s, French Quarter or the Oval Office, no good can ever come from tweeting at 3 a.m.,” she told the audience gathered in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
After receiving an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Mirren explained in Buzzfeed format what she called “Helen’s Top Five Rules for a Happy Life.”
- “Don’t be in a rush to get married.”
2. “Treat people just like people.”
“Remember that every single person, whether they have dominion over your life or not, deserves equal respect and generosity,” she said. “I do have an addendum to rule number two: No matter what sex you are, be a feminist.”
“I didn’t define myself as a feminist until really quite recently,” Mirren explained. “But I’d always lived like a feminist, and I always believed in the obvious: that women were as capable and as energetic and as inspiring as men… but to join a movement like feminism just seemed too didactic, too political for me. However, I’ve come to understand that feminism is not an abstract idea, but it’s a necessity.”
“So now I’m a declared feminist, and I’d encourage you to be the same. And now, actually, an addendum to the addendum: Never again allow a group of old, rich white men define the health care of a country that is 50.8% women and 37% other races.”
3. “Ignore anyone who judges the way you look, especially if he or she is some anonymous creep lurking on the internet. If you are that person lurking on the internet, stop it!”
4. “Don’t be afraid of fear.”
“Now, sometimes it’s wise to be afraid, like if you’re going to dive into a pool with not enough water in it or drive drunk. Moments like that be afraid, be very afraid,” she said.
5. “Don’t over-complicate things.”
“Don’t procrastinate,” she said. “Do call your parents at least once a week. Tell them you love them. Tell them you love them and then ask for the money, not the other way around.”