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HTLS speaker Rose McGowan: Striking a worldwide chord

Rose McGowan’s bravery has inspired hundreds of women to come forward with their own stories, stories that have brought sweeping, unprecedented change in an industry ruled by men

htls Updated: Nov 20, 2017 14:44 IST
Rose McGowan,Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2017,Harvey Weinstein
Rose McGowan is an American actor, singer and model.(AP File Photo)

She is an American actor, singer, model, and more recently, an activist whose words brought about one of the largest house-cleaning operations against sexual harassment the entertainment industry has ever seen.

But before Rose McGowan became the unlikely face of the worldwide protest against powerful men who abused their positions -- like the disgraced Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein -- McGowan made a career out of playing uncompromising women in films.

As if to set the tone for the future, she began her career with an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her performance as a troubled teen who falls for a violent drifter in provocateur Gregg Araki’s The Doom Generation (1995). She followed it up by garnering more mainstream recognition after a brief appearance in director Wes Craven’s 1996 meta-horror film, Scream.

For The Doom Generation, McGowan drew from her personal experiences living as a wayward teen in the 1980s. After years of being told what to say – and more importantly, what not to say – and after years of playing outspoken women on screen, McGowan found her voice off it.

A few years after starring in what is arguably her biggest role – the lead in directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse double feature – McGowan was a part of an explosive New York Times expose against one of the industry’s most larger-than-life characters, and producer of Grindhouse, Harvey Weinstein.

Word of her having arrived at a settlement with Weinstein for an unspecified altercation in 1997 was somewhat of an open secret. But two decades later, McGowan’s bravery has inspired hundreds of women to come forward with their own stories, stories that have brought sweeping, unprecedented change in an industry ruled by men.

She now leads the crusade against others like Weinstein, organising talks, protest marches, and spearheading online discourses.

First Published: Nov 20, 2017 08:30 IST