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Our mission at Shona, which we do accept, is to inspire and empower girls. So for this week, our chosen hero is Dench. Dame Judi Dench. Actress, philanthropist, advocate, it’s hard to choose what we like most about Dame Judi. Luckily, we don’t have to.

With experience on both the theatre stage and the silver screen, it’s no wonder she’s been honoured with so many awards and titles. Here’s a short list: she won a BAFTA for Most Promising Newcomer, earned the title Dame for contributions to the arts and sciences, charities, and public service, and she has 11 honorary degrees!

What we really like about her is what she’s done with her platform. Dame Judi is generous with her time and money. The list of charitable organizations she is a patron of go on and on. Many of them are related to medicine or theatre, but she also advocates for wildlife conservation, the rights of indigenous people, and more.

In the world of acting, Dame Judi speaks out against prejudice in the movie industry, particularly against older actresses. Not only is she sometimes told that she is too old to try something, being called a “national treasure” makes her feel suffocated like she’s been locked inside a glass cabinet. Well, you know how we feel about glass barriers for women: they are only good for shattering.

Dame Judi is persistent, too. When macular degeneration in her eyes made it hard for her to read her scripts, she learned to memorize them after her friends read them to her. Learning all her lines that way takes time and effort, but Dame Judi isn’t one to give up when the going gets tough. She says that “You find a way of just getting about and getting over the things that you find very difficult.” 

As impressive as all this is, we’ve really only scratched the surface of everything she’d done. Despite approaching 90, Dame Judi seems to be showing no sign of slowing down and we really cannot wait to see what she does next!

 

P.S. We don’t have any pictures of them, unfortunately, but Dame Judi is also fond of embroidery, just not the type you might expect. Here’s an example of something we think she might create: 

Judi Dench's fantastic embroidery

(Artist unknown; https://www.rejectedprincesses.com/blog/judi-denchs-fantastic-embroidery)

 

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