Meryl Streep is one of the greatest film actors of our time with three Oscars under her belt, a slew of nominations and a filmography to make Leo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and George Clooney collectively weep and we’d love to have her on speed dial for a bit of love, career and life advice whenever we’re in need of a pick-me-up (which is more often than not!).
It’s almost impossible not to love Meryl Streep so to celebrate the rambunctious, legendary and somewhat out-spoken star’s 66th birthday we’ve put together her best 22 quotes.
Read on for an injection of feminist sass into your day.
‘The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy’
‘Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.’
‘You just have to keep on doing what you do. It’s the lesson I get from my husband; he just says ‘keep going.’ Start by starting.’
‘Integrate what you believe in every single area of your life. Take your heart to work and ask the most and best of everybody else, too.’
‘All that attention to the perfect lighting, the perfect this, the perfect that, I find terribly annoying.’
‘My advice: don’t waste so much time worrying about your skin or your weight. Develop what you do, what you put your hands on in the world.’
‘I want to feel my life while I’m in it.’
‘It’s amazing what you can get if you quietly, clearly and authoritatively demand it.’
‘The biggest lesson I learned in my career was to ask other people what they make because the men usually make more than you do. And it’s good to know. You’re not allowed to ask…but it’s good to ask.’
‘We all make that mistake thinking that the outside…how you look makes you more worthy of love.’
‘I love food and I love sex.’
‘I think I’m out there on behalf of all of the old broads…and some people are happy about it, some are not so…screw them!’
‘You can’t get spoiled if you do your own ironing.’
‘I think that you find your own way. You have your own rules. You have your own understanding of yourself, and that’s what you’re going to count on. In the end, it’s what feels right to you/ not what your mother told you. Not what some actress told you. Not what anybody else told you but the still, small voice.’
‘If you have a brain, you are obliged to use it.’
‘I like who I am now. Other people may not. I’m comfortable. I feel freer now. I don’t want growing older to matter to me.’
'Let's face it, we were all once 3-year-olds who stood in the middle of the living room and everybody thought we were so adorable. Only some of us grow up and get paid for it.'
When accepting an Emmy for Angels in America: ‘You know, there are some days when I myself think I'm overrated, but not today.’
‘In my own experience of male and female directors, people have a much, much harder time taking a direct command from a woman. It's somehow very difficult for people.’
‘Listening is everything. Listening is the whole deal. That's what I think. And I mean that in terms of before you work, after you work, in between work, with your children, with your husband, with your friends, with your mother, with your father. It's everything. And it's where you learn everything.’
‘My daughters had helped me to stop worrying about my appearance over the years. I wasted so many years thinking I wasn't pretty enough and why didn't I have Jessica Lange's body or someone else's legs? What a waste of time.’
‘I don’t know what my image is. I went to France to publicize Marvin’s Room, and one really smart young woman journalist said to me, “You know, when I told people I was going to interview Meryl Streep they were so excited…all ze women in my office, they love you so much. But ze men – they are afraid of you.”’
Marie Claire Newsletter
Celebrity news, beauty, fashion advice, and fascinating features, delivered straight to your inbox!
The leading destination for fashion, beauty, shopping and finger-on-the-pulse views on the latest issues. Marie Claire's travel content helps you delight in discovering new destinations around the globe, offering a unique – and sometimes unchartered – travel experience. From new hotel openings to the destinations tipped to take over our travel calendars, this iconic name has it covered.
As a fashion editor I’m super picky when it comes to presents, but this luxury brand nails Christmas gifting every time
All I want for Christmas is one of these picks
By Jazzria Harris
Royal experts weigh in on whether Kate Middleton actually watches The Crown
By Jenny Proudfoot
Stocking filler ideas for all the family that they will *actually* use
30 stocking filler ideas that won't just collect dust
By Dionne Brighton