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Helen Mirren's Commencement Speech at Tulane University

Helen Mirren's "Top 5 Rules For a Happy Life" Are Wise, Badass, and So Real

Helen Mirren received an honorary degree from Tulane University and blessed the class of 2017 with a commencement speech we wish we had heard at our own graduations. The actress has never been afraid to express her exact sentiments, and we didn't expect anything less this time at the podium. But first, "a vodka martini straight up with a wedge of lime," she joked. She then continued, "So, to help you along the way, I'm going to share a few rules that I've picked up during my life of disasters and triumphs," which she calls "Helen's Top 5 Rules For a Happy Life":

  • Rule #1: "Don't be in a rush to get married."
  • Rule #2: "Treat people just like people . . . Every single person, whether they have dominion over your life or not, deserves equal respect and generosity."
  • Addendum to Rule #2: "No matter what sex you are, be a feminist."
    Addendum to the addendum: "Never again allow a group of old, white men to define the health care of a country that is . . . " (crowd drowns her out)

  • Rule #3: "Ignore anyone who judges the way you look, especially if it's some anonymous creep lurking on the internet. If you are that person lurking on the internet, stop it."
  • Rule #4: "Don't be afraid of fear . . . Throw caution to the winds. Look fear straightaway in its ugly face and barge forward. And when you get past it, turn around and give it a good, swift kick in the ass."
  • Rule #5: "Don't overcomplicate things."

Helen also added some practical advice of dos and don'ts. Some of our favorites include "Do say thank you when it's merited," "Don't lose your sense of humor," and "Don't procrastinate." Gotta love her. Watch her speech in full above!

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