“An activist with a cleavage”: How Erin Brockovich turned her criticized sexy aesthetic into a legal weapon | Celebrities, Vips | S Fashion EL PAÍS

“An activist with a cleavage.” That’s how he liked it describe oneself to herself, back in 2007, to Erin Brockovich, the tireless fighter in favor of the environment who saw her name give the title to one of the highest-grossing films of the year 2000 and opened the doors of Olympus hollywood to a Julia Roberts who confirmed her stellar status with her first and only Oscar. In addition to her inspiring story of overcoming, if something made the lawyer an icon, it was an aesthetic bet based on daring and sexuality. A look that made her the target of prejudice and ridicule from her colleagues in the courts, but it ended up becoming a hallmark and an essential weapon of their legal strategy. 21 years after the premiere of the film, his story returns to the screens with Rebel, a ten-episode series that landed this May 28 on the Disney + platform.

Erin Brockovich poses by her dressing room in 2000. Photo: Getty

Katey Sagal, known for playing the indomitable matriarch of the motorcycle club of Sons of Anarchy, plays a transcript of the untitled attorney named Annie Bello who works for social justice without rest or reservation. Also starring Andy García and created by Krista Vernoff (Grey’s Anatomy), Brockovich serves as an executive producer and is pleased that the fiction is inspired by her activist performance during the two decades after the release of a film that became a global success. “I am older, wiser and more evolved. I approach cases with different ways and approaches, but I am still as frustrated as ever for being undervalued or pigeonholed ”, declared in a recent interview with the consultant, who has published two books and starred in a docureality on the rights of citizens called Final justice.

“I heard many comments about my breasts, my cleavage, the way I dress, my language… but I didn’t have time for them. They were poisoning people, they were responsible and they knew it. So screw them! That was my true position on the matter ”, declared Brockovich to the magazine Vulture about the care and moral judgments to which she was subjected. While her classmates looked at her boobs and her classmates criticized the length of her skirt, the young woman from Kansas broke with all the archetypes of the conservative world of law, embodying herself as a modern David who defeated the corporate Goliath. “What matters is inside,” he defended.


Katey Sagal plays the consultant and activist in ‘Rebel’. Photo: Disney +

A thirty-year-old, mother of three and divorced on many other occasions, dyslexic and without studies in the matter, former model and beauty queen on the Pacific coast got a job at the law firm due to an accident –a traffic, specifically–. After hiring the services of the Masry & Vititoe law firm to represent her in the case, Brockovich ended up landing a position as an assistant in the company and, while organizing the paperwork, uncovered a case that ended up becoming the largest civil lawsuit in history. of the country to date. Her investigation found that the energy company Pacific Gas & Electric had concealed the contamination of the waters of the town of Hinkley for 30 years, ending up in the hospital herself due to the toxins. After years of lawsuits and meetings, the ruling was favorable and the multinational had to compensate the 600 plaintiffs with 242 million euros, about half a million dollars per affected.

His power dressing it was a far cry from the one popularized by Melanie Griffith in Guns for Women a decade earlier. Collared tops halter, flowery bodices, tiny leather miniskirts, bras push up with leopard print and dizzying stilettos. His portrait could appear in the British dictionary next to the definition of the adjective brassy, which the specialized press repeated incessantly in articles about her figure and which is used to describe “the woman who laughs and speaks too loudly, who puts on too much makeup and wears cheap and shiny clothes.” What in Spanish we would call a mix between ordinary and tacky.

Such was Brockovich’s pride in his wardrobe that, when he went to the screening of the film, he only complained about one aspect. “The only thing that is imprecise is that the skirts are not short enough,” she told the film’s director, Steven Soderbergh. Ed Masry, Brockovich’s boss at the law firm that made her an icon, also lamented about Roberts being cast as the lead. “Her tits are too small and her tongue is not very dirty,” she claimed, suggesting the option of Goldie Hawn as the ideal casting.

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The role of Erin Brockovich provided Roberts with his only statuette to date. Photo: Universal

The importance of styles for the environmental activist is also reflected in one of the film’s most memorable scenes, when Ed (played by Albert Finney) suggests Erin rethink her way of dressing due to the “discomfort” that her wardrobe has created in some of his companions. “Well, it just so happens that I think it looks good on me. And as long as my ass is not an elephant, I will wear whatever I want, if you don’t mind ”, she defends herself, not only leaving her mentor without reply, but also urging him to rethink his taste for ties. In another sequence, when the lawyer asks his assistant how he intends to obtain key but confidential information for the case, she answers in an exhaustive way: “They call them boobs, Ed.”

The provocativeness of the costumes even scared Julia Roberts herself, who feared that she would be seen by viewers as an artistic license who sought to take advantage of the attractiveness of the most popular actress on earth at that time. “We wanted him to be seen as as much an integral part of her as her hair or her voice. We didn’t want them to think, ‘Oh, we’ve hired someone with very long legs, so we’re going to put on the shortest skirts known to mankind.’ Roberts, who won her only Oscar for best actress thanks to this role, also took a while to get used to appearing on set in these outfits, despite another bold and iconic wardrobe, that of Pretty Woman, made her a star. “I have things in my closet that I would call dresses. Erin has things on hers that she would call a dress. The final ‘two’, that which usually covers your ass, is what is missing ”, he evoked in the magazine Entertainment Weekly.

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Even Julia Roberts herself had qualms about the film’s daring stylistic gamble. Photo: Universal

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“An activist with a cleavage”: How Erin Brockovich turned her criticized sexy aesthetic into a legal weapon | Celebrities, Vips | S Fashion EL PAÍS