Cate Blanchett really is the whole package. It’s not shouted in every headline and article about her, but it should be. Blanchett sometimes gets overlooked by other women in the entertainment industry who are also focusing in on pay parity, equality in Hollywood and working to end harassment in the workplace.
When we started taking a harder look at Blanchett’s personal and professional choices, we realized we should be celebrating how she’s used her voice in a powerful way. She’s made decisions and proclamations publicly way before many others did, and she didn’t do it for trendy reasons — she did it because it’s who she authentically is as a person.
Ahead of the release of Ocean’s 8 on June 8, we want to call just a few vital Cate Blanchett details to your attention. They might just have you cheering a little louder when you see her latest film.
1. Cannes Film Festival
As Cannes Film Festival jury president, Cate led 82 actors and executives down the prestigious red carpet to call attention to gender inequality in the film industry and at the film festival. Kristen Stewart, Salma Hayek, Ava DuVernay and Patty Jenkins are just a few of the women who stood in solidarity with Blanchett that day.
“On these steps today stand 82 women representing the number of female directors who have climbed these stairs since the first edition of the Cannes Film Festival in 1946. In the same period, 1,688 male directors have climbed these very same stairs,” she said. “In the 71 years of this world-renowned festival… the prestigious Palme d’Or has been bestowed upon 71 male directors, but only two women: Jane Campion, who is with us in spirit, and Agnès Varda, who stands with us today.”
Blanchett used her position of power at the festival to remind everyone that time is up for this disparity. The movement isn’t just a fad.
2. Time’s Up
It’s time to shift the balance in the workplace, from representing the few to representing us all. Sign the #TIMESUP solidarity letter and donate to the #TIMESUP Legal Defense Fund right here: https://t.co/GNhkSnWIDb pic.twitter.com/a5oi2Sbaam
— TIME'S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) January 1, 2018
Blanchett was a part of the original group of 300 that launched the Times’s Up movement in early January. She, along with Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman and others, decided to kick off award show season with a strong statement. It wasn’t just about taking a stand for women in entertainment; it was about taking a stand with women in all industries.
The movement also became a fundraiser for a legal defense fund for “those who experience sexual harassment, abuse or related retaliation in the workplace or trying to advance their careers with legal and public relations assistance. The money raised will help defray legal and public relations costs in select cases based on criteria and availability of funds,” according to the movement’s official GoFundMe page.
Blanchett donated $50,000 when the movement launched. The fund has now raised almost $22 million.
3. Feminist pioneer
We shouldn’t be surprised by Blanchett’s activism. She was speaking out long before others felt empowered to do so. She’s been vocal about the media targeting women who are working parents. Why aren’t men asked the same questions about work-life balance?
“It’s certainly a question that’s never asked of men. The question is only ever directed towards women. ‘How do you balance? How do you have it all?’ When anyone plays a mother on film, there is a whole raft of judgment in that a mother is a particular archetype or that every mother is the same,” she said to IndieWire in 2014. “That’s complete rubbish. We did discuss a lot about that particular issue because of course there is a judgment on how women parent.”
Blanchett has been fighting for women’s rights longer than any of us realized.
4. Chameleon on-screen
Blanchett has never been defined by one genre. She’s great in her dramatic roles, and she’s also transitioned seamlessly into playing a Marvel movie character. Whether she’s playing Bob Dylan in I’m Not There or a lesbian in Carol, she’s an actor who will immerse herself in a role.
“Whenever I play a role, whether it’s on stage or screen, I’m always interested in points of difference,” she explained to Marie Clare in 2016.
Blanchett is anything but a one-note actress. Her depth and presence on-screen make us stand up and take notice.
5. Grace under scrutiny
Blanchett has won two Academy Awards, one for The Aviator and one for Blue Jasmine. Even though she is a major award show contender each year she has a film being considered, her contributions to the industry were downplayed by writer Aaron Sorkin in an email to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
Instead of having a meltdown over his opinions, Blanchett told GQ, “I knew that it was hacked, but I didn’t go and troll over the broken bones and identify the dead bodies. I didn’t do that. I was doing other stuff.”
During the press tour for the 2015 film Carol, a story about two women falling in love in the 1950s, Blanchett revealed that she had been involved with women “many times’ in her personal life. However, that’s almost all she said about her sexuality in the Variety interview, making it clear that she doesn’t define herself by her sexuality. She may be married to writer/director Andrew Upton, but being heterosexual, bisexual or lesbian isn’t a label she cares about.
“I never thought about it,” she explained in the interview. “I don’t think Carol thought about it.”
7. Fashion icon
Blanchett is known as one of the most fashion-forward women on the red carpet during award show season, but don’t think she’s dressing for you. It’s an expression of her own identity, and she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.
“For me, the true icons of style… it’s that for me it’s always those women who’ve been utterly themselves without apology — whose physical presence and their aesthetic is really integrated in a non-self-conscious way,” Blanchett said at the InStyle Awards in 2017. “Women who know how they look, it’s not all of who they are but just an extension of that, and it’s about women who feel free to wear what they want when they want and how they want to wear it.”
8. Mom of four
Blanchett loves being a mother to her four children, sons Dashiel, 15, Roman, 12, and Ignatius, 8, and daughter Edith, 3. She’s said that the best part of motherhood is the normalcy it brings to her life, which totally makes sense when she has months of working on-set.
“It’s very important to me to be able to enjoy taking them to school or making their lunches or cooking dinner at home for my family,” she told Working Mother. “I also like being able to be the kind of mother who is not only there to take care of them and love them very dearly but also one who has a career. I think it’s important to set an example and show how the two can work together quite well.”
Can we just applaud Blanchett for embracing aging gracefully? Sometimes Hollywood focuses too much on the superficial when beauty comes from inside. We need to hear more of this from female celebrities.
“I just accept it,” she explained to Working Mother. “Getting older happens to all of us, and there are many advantages that come with age. I feel much more comfortable in my skin today than I ever have before.”
If we needed more reasons to love Blanchett, we’ve got them. Since 2016, she’s been a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, going on fact-finding missions in Lebanon and Jordan, and she hopes to support the U.N.’s work for refugees around the world.
“There has never been a more crucial time to stand with refugees and show solidarity globally,” she explained in her U.N. statement. “We all have a desire to connect and this is what makes us all human.”
Don’t miss the opportunity to support Cate Blanchett and the seven other stars of Ocean’s 8 beginning June 8. Rooting on great women is definitely worth the price of admission.