Jennifer Beals Quotes

1. I said, wouldn't it be nice, instead of having these women fight with each other over men, which seems to be more of a cliche, wouldn't it be wonderful if they were the true comrades and it took these men much more time to infiltrate their friendships.

2. The love scenes that worked, regardless of the director, were the ones where the actors weren't fearful. When somebody was fearful, you could see it right away. It takes you out of the story, and that's to be avoided at all costs.

3. My husband does so many romantic things for me, it's absurd.

4. Making sure that when my child went to school people were enlightened enough not to torture them, you know?

5. I wouldn't want them to feel lonely or outcast ever in any way. And no matter where they were in the world, I'd want them to always feel incredibly confident about who they were and proud.

6. I knew there was something I had to do yesterday. I couldn't remember what it is. I can't figure it out. I know it's a holiday. I know I don't have a meeting. It's very confusing.

7. Certainly from the rehearsal process with Elizabeth I think it was very clear. Well let me start again. We were initially supposed to be more combative.

8. By annihilating somebody else in whatever way, then that person feels that they also have the ability to, then, restore the person.

9. I don't think Roger Dodger is really about men. I think it is more about relationships and about how you present yourself, not only to the opposite sex, but to yourself. What lies are you going to tell yourself in order to get through the day?

10. I think that in some ways everybody is like Roger. Everybody thinks that when their friends have a problem, that they know the answer and that it's much easier to analyze the problems of other people than your own.

11. I think that the two of them have been doing this for a really long time and it is more like sport. Yes, they would love to find a lasting relationship, but it's not likely to happen the way they are going about it.

12. I'm just talking specifically of women's friendships. If two women go to a bar and they are fighting over men, it makes it much easier for the men. If two women are very close and they act as it makes it very difficult for the men to pull one over on anybody.

13. I've had some of the best craft services on independent movies, actually, because they get more creative, generally, with a smaller budget. The work is still the same. I didn't really notice the difference other than I was getting dressed behind a curtain, basically.

14. It became very clear to the director that it would be foolish not to use our friendship. I had tried to talk to him about it because all the relationships in the film are so, not negative, but antagonistic. There's not a lot of love going around.

15. It doesn't seem as if there's that much of a difference between a big production and a little production, other than you have a smaller space in which to get dressed and you have a shorter waiting time.

16. Oftentimes what happens is that the writer understands one character, but they don't understand the other one, and the other one ends up not being written as well.

17. Oh, this absolute loneliness and the game - loving to play the game, loving to go and tell stories to men that certainly weren't true, just for the sport of it, just to see how they would react.

18. There was a sense of all the things that go on on the street, particularly in New York, that you are just completely unaware of, that that conversation could be happening at any time. I loved the instability of the camera. It's just an unstable world.

19. What is their potential for evil; what is their potential for wickedness? That's the only time that those characters become interesting to watch.

20. When you have to play a character that seems to be a relatively decent person and seems to be like yourself, I think the trick in that kind of character, so that you don't become a cliche, is to find where their weaknesses are.

21. You automatically are trusting because not only is the person a friend, they are so incredibly gifted that you know someone is going to be able to hit the ball back to you across the net.

22. You can make yourself feel better about yourself if you project your shadow side, if you project your own potential for evil onto someone else. By annihilating them and, therefore, your shadow, you bring yourself into some state of purity or reformation.

23. Love is the most dangerous thing in the world. (Interview at - 2004)

24. Love is the greatest light, the brightest torch, and will always be the greatest instrument of change. (Acceptance speech for The Center Orange County's "Torch Bearer" Award, Santa Ana, California - 5 June 2010)

25. Love is large; love defies limits. People talk about the sanctity of love - love is by definition sacred. Not some love between some people, but all love between all people. (Speech at 4th Annual Power Up Premiere Gala, Los Angeles, California - 7 November 2004)

26. There is no wasted effort. It will all add to the path. It will all add to the journey. Somehow. You just can't even imagine how it will. But you just need to do things fully to the best of your ability. And you go towards the thing that you love. What you love to do. (Interview at - February 2011)

27. For some people, they may categorize it as "gay love". And for me, I simply see it as love. And there’s no corner of the universe where love cannot abide and grow. (Podcast for The L Word from - February 2008)

28. It has been said: "History is written by the victors." I take this to mean we can make ourselves victorious by writing, and then rewriting our own stories. In a country and culture so dominated by media, by the manipulation of words and stories, telling the tales of people whose stories historically have not been told is a radical act and I believe an act that can change the world and help rewrite history. (Speech at 4th Annual Power Up Premiere Gala, Los Angeles, California - 7 November 2004)

29. The L Word reaffirmed that good storytelling has a way of creating community. Fans everywhere have been connecting with each other online, in public and at home-viewing parties. (Speech at 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, San Francisco, California - 10 May 2008)

30. Everything has its cycle. I think it’s appropriate for us to be ending now. But the beauty of storytelling, and the beauty of film and television is that it continues on. (The Lword Finale Special - March 2009)

31. You know, I don't think it's helpful to anyone to... for example, say that every LGBT person is wonderful and perfect and without flaw, and lets all ring the bells to perfection. I think it's much more helpful to tell the story as truthfully as you can, and with all of its complications, because that's also when people recognize themselves, and that's when people who are not part of the LGBT community will recognize themselves within that character. And then (they) hopefully empathize and maybe there'll be some kind of shift. (On the importance of positive representations of LGBT people in the media)

32. With more mainstream filmmaking, the problem is who’s making the decisions. They’re not artists. The key creative decisions are being made by lawyers and accountants - that’s a very precarious situation. It’s precarious because it really does matter. Icons are being made and manufactured. People say it’s just a movie - but it’s not. (Detours Interview - 1995)

33. I believe that people want to turn from fear towards hope, from divisiveness towards unity, from intolerance to an understanding that we all belong to one great community. Within all the chaos, within the despair, the not knowing, the anger, the anxiety, there is always the possibility for change. There is a seed of hope. And I'm not talking about a pie-in-the-sky kind of hope, but a kind of hope that calls on each and every one of us to stand up and be counted - a kind of hope that calls on each and every one of us to give the very best of ourselves - not just for our own benefit, but for the benefit of all of us, collectively.

34. I'm interested when people will stand up for themselves. I'm always interested in that moment when someone decides it's not good enough, and even though it's painful, they're willing to make a change.

35. It behooves all of us to have everyone experience their deepest, most beautiful, most profound and powerful self, because those people are more apt to give their gift to everyone else rather than shudder in fear.

36. People get a sense that something is really wrong in government and in our culture. There is a corruption, not only in politics, but of spirit as well, when people are so quick to be violent with one another. I think everybody would like to be able to find a solution to make things better. We have the desire to reform inside of us, and we get frustrated because we don’t know how to change things, even if it comes to our own behavior. Sometimes you get frustrated because you don’t know how to stop that thing that you know is either hurtful to yourself or someone else.

37. Just when you think you know something, it gets turned around and challenged in some way. But those changes are welcome because you end up learning more. 

38. Politics is a lot like sex - if you want something, you have to ask for it, if they’re not doing it right you’ve got to speak up and show them and if you still don’t get what you want, then there is nothing wrong with doing it yourself.

39. We can have the final word on hate, neglect, disease and all the other insidious characters that still script their way into our stories...for now, but not forever.

40. You are more powerful than you can possibly imagine. You are more powerful than you can possibly imagine. And it is incumbent upon you to use that power - not only for yourself, but for everyone else around you. (Her message to women and girls of the world)

41. Inside every woman there is a Kali. (Hindu goddess who morphed into seven hidden beings to win a battle) Do not mistake the exterior for the interior.

42. I think that I learned the most clearly was how connected we all are. And that (does air quotation marks) "gay issues" are also women's issues because homophobia is a form of misogyny…And I feel much more motivated to speak out when I see something that I don't like or that just smells wrong…I see how all women are connected. You know, and that we are all either repressed or we repress ourselves in certain ways, and that's truly codified within the culture. And that I'm not so far removed from that woman in the Congo who's terrified to go out into the woods to look for firewood. (On what she learned from working on The L Word)

43. One of the things that the show did for me was bring up so many women’s issues and the notion that homophobia is a form of misogyny. The women’s community and the gay community are interrelated, whether you’re straight or not. It also made me realize how connected women are everywhere. Women who are gay are repressed in similar ways as women who are straight.

44. The fact is we are all, no matter where we live, surrounded constantly by stories, whether they are literal, oral or visual...the benign story I'm really growing tired of is the "humorous" story of the blonde woman who is either injured or humiliated all in order to sell beer. Not funny. I am tired of these stories. I am angered by these stories. There are other stories far more wondrous - stories of women claiming and reclaiming power, stories of rage and resistance and indefatigable courage, and stories of women and some men - reaching across great divides and into the most treacherous places on Earth where turmoil reigns and violence against women is unchecked, taking the hands of those women, helping to lift them up and leading them toward safety and sanctuary and self-determination.

45. Every set is a man's world. Even on "The L Word," the crew was primarily men. The whole world is a man's world, unless you're in a nunnery. And even that is colored by what you're allowed, what doctrine you're allowed to practice.

46. Women are so often segregated to their sexuality, and how they appear. In fact, there’s a lot of talk, even now, I think in most jobs this is true…oftentimes people will say, when a woman rises to power, they ask: "who did she sleep with?" You know, it couldn’t possibly be about her acumen, it couldn’t possibly be about her intelligence. It’s got to be about her body, because that’s how women get ahead.

47. The ways in which we are similar are far more numerous than the ways in which we are different.

48. I hope through The L Word to become an honorary member of the gay tribe. I cherish the thought that some young girl or woman somewhere may one night turn on the television and for the first time ever see her life represented - not as an isolated incident but as a multiplicity. Her overwhelming fear may have been that she might never find her tribe, she might never find love and now she knows that they are both out there waiting for her.

49. Being part of The L Word made me realize how much more television can be that what I had experienced in my lifetime in terms of being able to be of service to people. I had so many fans come up to me who were really deeply appreciative of the show and what it had meant for them and their own sense of identity and their own sense of inclusion in our society and in our culture.

50. There is this incredible, indelible community that has sprung up around the show, a community that gathers in homes and clubs, from Los Angeles to Topeka, Kansas and around the world. A community that, in some places, meets quietly in a lesbian bar that doesn’t even exist depending on whom you ask.

51. The health of a democracy is directly dependent on hearing the voices of its individual citizens. Silence is destructive. What could mar our safety more than this restrictive policy that requires its citizens' silence? What could mar our safety more than this restrictive policy that quietly attacks its own citizens' very selfhood out of fear? What keeps us truly unsafe as a country on a day-to-day basis is our inability to look inside and experience ourselves as a multitude, as a complexity. And as sure as I'm standing here, things are not always black or white, but sometimes they can be both.

52. I think after playing Bette Porter on The L Word for six years I felt like an honorary member of the community. They are not just gay issues. They affect everybody because they affect the fabric of our community. I am in a position to be helpful...people are indoctrinated and they have their point of view but hopefully slowly but surely we can help change the paradigm. That's what I hope for and it's happening little by little. It's not easy.

53. I was doing press for the show and they were going to show a clip from The L Word that included a love scene of sorts between me and another character, and she had the audacity to say: "If there are any children in the room, you might want to ask them to leave." And my mind was blown open and I said to her: "If it had been a heterosexual love scene, would you have asked the same question?" I asked her on air, because I thought, it’s important to ask - it contextualizes the import of the show." My feelings were hurt and it just spoke to me of what the gay and lesbian community has to deal with on a day-to-day basis in terms of popular media.

54. Now, at this time, I think there’s too many people who feel comfortable with hate speech. It’s become too commonplace, and acceptable. And it’s not okay, and we’ve got to change that…I think we also have to take responsibility for the words that come out of our mouths, because we are all connected. We are all part of one community.

55. It’s about familiarity, and I think the only reason they’re uncomfortable with the notion of same-sex marriages is because they haven’t come into contact with gay and lesbian couples enough to understand that it’s about love - and that it is a civil right. (Speaking about same-sex marriage)

56. In a way, the sex isn’t really that different... From what I can tell, no, not really. All the things that men and women do together, you know, think of everything that men and women do together, you know, women and women can do together. And that makes you realize that sex is just simply about connecting with another person, or about intimacy… (Demystifying lesbian sex for an interviewer)

57. When I started out, there weren't that many strong female roles, especially women who weren't just strong emotionally. I mean this is a also woman (her character on "The Chicago Code", Teresa Colvin) who is strong physically, who isn't afraid of physicality. But now there are a lot more roles for women that are quite strong. I think the Academy Award nominations bespeak how many really great roles there are for women right now, and that's primarily because women are creating those roles for themselves.

58. I really have a lot less tolerance for being subjugated to simply being the emotional center of a story, rather than being the active portion of the plot. It's as if women can't drive the action so often in stories. I don't know who made up that rule but it can get very frustrating if there's not more to play. (Regarding how the L Word change how she selects her roles)

59. It was very clear to me that it’s not real. It’s not real…I was never the little girl who thought I wanted to be famous. My first real quest that I can recall…other than wanting to be a jockey…was trying to figure out who or what God was. That really drove me for quite some time…I had a notion that there was this mystery that I didn’t really know anything about, and I wanted to try to figure it out….so fame was not my driving force. (Regarding Flashdance-related fame)

60. Whether it’s that moment in acting when everything is suspended and you’re not yourself, or breaking through the veil of a very long run or swim, or hearing my daughter laugh - they are all pathways to what I think God must be.

61. You can have the "golden rule" - do unto others as you would have others do unto you. But then you take it one step farther - where you just do good unto others, period. Just for the sake of it.

62. Giving feels good. It's a form of healing. Not just for you as an individual, but for everyone. (On compassion)

63. We are in a very important time, where it’s clear that we live…in a pluralistic society. And certainly the Internet has made it clear that the actions of one group of people on one side of the globe can instantaneously affect the actions of another group people on the other side of the globe. So in this time when we are all so interconnected, the idea of practicing tolerance and non-discrimination doesn’t mean that you weaken yourself or that you weaken your society. On the contrary, I think it means that you’re able to strengthen yourself and your society. (On the message of the Dalai Lama)

64. I think science and spirituality are one and the same, I don't think they're really different…quantum physics is validating all kinds of spiritual teachings. As time goes on, hopefully we'll be able to understand more.

65. I don’t know that I’ve ever fit in, ever. And I say that not in a bad way. I mean, in some ways, it’s a relief not to fit in, because you get to look at different sides equally. Like I don’t know that I have always found my tribe. My tribe are the people who don’t feel like they fit in. And frankly, I think that a lot of people don’t feel like they fit in.

66. I am strong-willed, and I am driven, and I am passionate...but I don’t have…a central cause…a motivating cause, I don’t know what that would be…other than trying to tell the truth when I work.

67. It looks like a marathon. And I'm proud that I'm not a DNF (did not finish). I'm not a DNF yet. I just kept going. I think that's been the key is just to keep going and really try to get better and try to be as truthful as I can and hope that good things come my way. (What her career looks like)

68. When I was younger, I enjoyed being strong, and I loved it when my heart was very strong, but I think it was also about submitting to the cultural idea that if you're a 22-year-old woman, you have to look a certain way. I'm not into that anymore. But I do appreciate it when my clothes fit. 

69. (On how she goes about trying to live authentically). Well really listening to my point of view and if I am on a set, say, that doesn't really value a woman's point of view, regardless of how they feel, continuing to give my point of view and try to find a way to be heard and not diminishing myself because other people are diminishing me. Because that, I think, is the worst temptation - that, you know, you judge yourself by how others are judging you, and to fall into that trap is to walk into the realm of self-annihilation.

70. Once you've completed a wonderful class, you get a sense of the deepest, purest part of yourself. You feel like you are connected to everybody else in the world. (On yoga)

71. That's the single most important thing that I do...there's something about understanding who you truly are. The essence of everyone is so beautiful that it's startling. (On meditation)

72. For me running is about freedom. I find that the freer I feel, the faster I am. (On running)

73. (For) "The Chicago Code", I did some boxing. It makes you stand differently when you know you can punch someone out.  (On boxing)

74. When you start projecting on the future - Oh my God, I gotta do this and I’m not there yet - well, of course you’re not there yet because you’re here now. That time will come…I try to stay in the moment as much as I can and find whatever joy I can in that moment, no matter what it is. Then it doesn’t feel as stressful. (On handling stress)

75. A friend taught me before I gave birth…"don't try to take your mind away from the pain. Go right into the centre of the pain", because when she did that she found the pain dissipated. It's true for me anyway, but it's not always possible, I admit. It has become a valuable exercise to apply to different things in life, of not avoiding or disregarding pain or bad feelings. I just have to remember that nothing in life is ever stagnant and that this grief or ache is going to change because everything in life changes. (On dealing with physical and emotional pain)

76. One of the problems is that the notion of cancer has been so normalized. You hear about it so often, and it's not ok... it's not ok to normalize this disease. And with all of the pinkwashing that goes on - where companies are selling products based on breast cancer month - it's a lovely gesture, but consumers get so used to it that it becomes more normal. (On cancer)

77. All of us have an artist inside us. It's part of our DNA as human beings. We have all witnessed the power of the arts to deeply connect people, to open our minds to new ideas and express our innermost sacred selves. The imagination isn't just simply reserved for children. The imagination can be, for all of us, a very real gateway to joy, understanding, liberation and peace.

78. Compassion takes imagination. 

79. The more affluent areas, by and large, are afforded these big, beautiful, spectacular buildings, and then the poorer neighborhoods are just disintegrating. And there’s this imbalance, obviously, of power and resources. (On Chicago, her hometown)

80. What’s shocking is to see six-year-old children jump roping in the street at 2:00 a.m. - that’s shocking - a block away from drug dealers. Just to see that the gap in the circle is education, in my mind, primarily for young women, because it’s the young women that are raising the kids and that’s where the circle, I think, perpetuates itself. (On Chicago, her hometown)

81. A couple years ago I had a big crush on Eddie Vedder. I told my husband: "Do not let me be in the same room with Eddie Vedder." He said: "Don't worry, I won't."

82. I remember one day I was on my way home and he knew that I had not had a great day. He had a gazillion rose petals in the doorway that spelled out "I love you." Yeah, and he made the entire doorway this mandala to love, you know, before I had gotten into the house.

83. Well, it wasn't a tutorial. However, there was an "alleged" tutorial given to us by a woman named Iman, and interestingly enough, we talked about sex for about three minutes, and the rest of the hour was spent talking about politics and class. Which is very telling!

84. Director Rose Troche made a cassette for us of a series of both lesbian and heterosexual love scenes, and she thought some of those scenes worked and some of them didn't. She wanted us to see and judge for ourselves which ones worked and which didn't - and why.

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