Julia Roberts showing her underarm hair at Notting Hill's 1999 premiere 'wasn't a statement'

Julia Roberts‘ Vivienne Tam gown teamed with her unshaven armpits at the 1999 premiere of Notting Hill will forever go down as one of the most iconic red carpet appearances ever.

While it’s now commonplace for empowered stars such as Amandla Stenberg, Bella Thorne, Halsey and Paris Jackson to proudly display their armpit hair, Hollywood legend Julia seemingly gave birth to the “embrace your body hair” movement in the late nineties.

Taking to the red carpet for the beloved comedy, which also starred Hugh Grant, the then-31-year-old’s unshaven armpits were visible as she waved to onlookers – and went on to fuel plenty of conversation about why she had ditched the razor. Unsurprisingly, the tabloids made their disdain known for Julia’s supposed rebellion against beauty standards as they speculated that maybe she was making a feminist statement.

Or perhaps, body hair was something her then-boyfriend Benjamin Bratt liked, they wondered? As if Julia Roberts would try to look a certain way because of her lover’s preferences. Sigh.

Julia only addressed the speculation back in 2018, during an appearance on the E! talk show, Busy Tonight, hosted by Busy Philipps – and the quotes have been doing the rounds again online lately.

Busy said: “You rocked the hairy armpit at the Notting Hill premiere, and you never really said if that was like a statement. And when I was a younger woman, I kind of took it as a statement. I thought it was like really punk rock and cool.

“And I just was wondering if you at the time were feeling like it was a punk rock statement or if you literally were like, ‘I can’t. I can’t shave my armpits this month.'”

Julia replied: “The picture is vivid in my mind, actually, from that moment”, before going on to explain that the moment wasn’t actually an intentional feminist statement but, in fact, an accidental oversight of how the dress would look on her body.

Julia Roberts at the “Notting Hill” – London Premiere – Arrivals at Leicester Square in London. (Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic)Fred Duval

“I think I just hadn’t really calculated my sleeve length and the waving and how those two things would go together and reveal personal things about me. So it wasn’t so much a statement as it’s just part of the statement I make as a human on the planet for myself.”

Busy replied: “It’s just very dope, and I’m here for it.”

While Julia admitted that the iconic moment wasn’t deliberately thought out to shake up female beauty standards, the fact that her star power triggered such a vocal response and she has embraced it without any embarrassment and discomfort truly shows how much power celebrities have in society.

Other A-listers have followed suit, with Adele recently declaring to Vanity Fair: “I’ll have no man telling me to shave my f***in’ legs”. Now, more of us question whether we actually need to shave/wax/laser hair removal all the time. The answer is more simple than we thought. If we want to remove or keep our hair, that’s up to us, not up to misogynistic beauty standards.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.