When people ask me what career I'm thinking of pursuing, I usually respond with "psychologist." However, the real answer is that I want to be Uma Thurman when I grow up. Part of it is an infatuation with the fantasy of who she is as a drop dead gorgeous movie star, but there's more to it—and her—than that.
Thurman is most recognized for her roles as Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction and Beatrix “The Bride” Kiddo in Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2. She was a powerhouse in the action genre, starring as a super powered heroine before the era of Marvel films.
Though Thurman's stunt double, Zoë Bell, is responsible for the grace and agility portrayed when her characters fight in scenes, it's Thurman's cool composure that elevates her performances to something more special. She did, however, get to show off her own moves in this iconic scene from Pulp Fiction, which later inspired a song by Fall Out Boy.
Thurman portrays the perfect amount of passion in every role without coming across as overly angry or upset, and the control she yields over her performance makes her all the more intimidating. While the command that Thurman displays over her emotions is certainly exceptional, the calm and collected demeanor that she possesses in the real world is even more admirable.
After a long run working alongside directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Harvey Weinstein, Thurman emerged with a lifetime’s worth of physical and emotional trauma. While reflecting on her history with Weinstein, her rage was evident—yet she remained poised and articulate.
In a move that can only be described as equal parts iconic and badass, three years ago Thurman took to Instagram to wish her followers a happy Thanksgiving—and to call out Weinstein and his "wicked conspirators." It was mature, with a hint of vengeance.
In a profile published by the New York Times in 2018, which came out a few months after the post, Thurman officially revealed that Weinstein had attacked and assaulted her on multiple occasions after the release of Pulp Fiction. She recalled warning him that if he continued to do to others what he did to her, “You will lose your career, your reputation and your family, I promise you.” Though she continued working with his entertainment company, Miramax, Weinstein was an enemy in her eyes—not too far off from The Bride keeping a hit list in the Kill Bill series.
Thurman also fell out with her frequent creative partner Quentin Tarantino after she injured herself while driving a convertible for a scene in Kill Bill, having been pressured to do so by Tarantino despite her initial refusal. The heavily modified car crashed into a tree, severely damaging everything from Thurman's neck to her knees. She was denied footage of the accident for 15 years after she refused to sign a document releasing Miramax from their responsibility in the incident.
Though she found the incident degrading, describing how she went from feeling like "a creative contributor and performer to being like a broken tool," she posted a clip of her accident to Instagram to accompany the NYT article—with a caption that she had been forced to keep quiet for 15 years.
Though Uma Thurman has achieved incredible success on the big screen, she also stands as a symbol of the dark underbelly of Hollywood. Though she's seen some of the worst that Hollywood has to offer, she has continually spoken up about her experiences and earned respect and love from audiences.
Throughout the highs and lows of her career, she's held her chin up, given us some of the most incredible performances in cinema, and raised a family. Independent, composed, and resilient, Uma Thurman is the definition of badass.