Badassery doesn’t come naturally. It’s a skill, and in Hollywood, not everyone can be a total badass. But for these seven women, kicking ass on screen and taking names in real life makes them double badasses.
With the likes of Sofia Boutella, star of The Mummy (out June 9), a real life dance, gymnastics and martial arts powerhouse, to Emma Watson, fearless ambassador for women by day and gutsy Disney icon Belle by night, these women and their character counterparts don’t take “no” for an answer.
1. Sofia Boutella
Sofia Boutella is the star of The Mummy, where she plays a badass woman back for revenge. She’s also played a tough assassin in Kingsman: The Secret Service and an alien warrior in Star Trek Beyond. If that wasn’t enough, soon she’ll be kicking butt next to Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde. In real life? Sofia Boutella is an incredible gymnast and dancer, having toured with Madonna and appeared in a Michael Jackson video. She’s also trained in mixed martial arts – so all those impressive kicks you see her do on screen, yeah, those are real.
2. Taraji P Henson
Do you even want to mess with the fierce Cookie Lyon in Empire? What about the brilliant Katherine Johnson in Hidden Figures? Henson plays the strong woman on screen, but she’s not messing around as a civilian either. Henson is a vocal advocate for women of color in Hollywood, and give a voice to many who feel they aren’t being heard. She’s also supported PETA, GLAAD and various other causes and charities.
3. Charlize Theron
From the fearless heroine in Mad Max: Fury Road, to the villain in Fast & Furious 8, Charlize Theron’s on screen persona is about as tough as they come, and it’s about to get even tougher when she’s an Atomic Blonde. Meanwhile, she has her own charity, the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project that’s helping keep African youth free of HIV. In 2013 she was even given the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award for her humanitarian work.
4. Shailene Woodley
Tris in Divergent is a young adult fiction hero, and Shailene Woodley plays her to perfection. Meanwhile, Shailene is as much of a disruptor as her fictional counterpart in real life. She featured heavily in the Women’s March earlier this year, and last year was even arrested while protesting on site at the Dakota Access Pipeline. She’s one badass Hollywood lady who isn’t just all show.
5. Gina Carano
Former MMA fighter turned big screen badass, Carano had us rooting for the bad guy in Deadpool and Fast & Furious 6. Off screen, Carano was known as the “face of women’s MMA.” Not a woman you want to mess with.
6. Emma Watson
As if Hermoine Granger wasn’t already enough of an icon for girls with brains, Emma Watson had to go and play the ultimate badass bookworm, Belle in Beauty and the Beast as well. Add to that Watson challenged her costume designer to make all her costumes sustainably, and you’ve got some serious follow through. Watson’s been applauded for her rousing speech on equality in front of the UN, and for hiding books all over the place for fans to find. On screen and off, Watson is making space for girls who like to learn.
7. Gal Gadot
You’re probably still mourning the loss of Giselle from the Fast & Furious franchise, but luckily Gal Gadot is returning to the big screen as Wonder Woman. The last time a marquee superhero in a blockbuster was a woman was in 2005’s Elektra. Yep, Gal Gadot’s role is about to revolutionize blockbuster cinema.