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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

Maggie Smith is one my favorite actresses of all time. She is well known from her roles as Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter series and the Dowager Counter of Grantham in Downton Abbey. However, I know, and love, her in many other roles. Growing up I knew her as Miss Jean Brodie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Thetis in the 1981 Clash of the Titans. More recently I enjoyed seeing her Gosford Park, The best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Second-Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Sister Act and Sister Act 2.

Dame Maggie Smith’s career in film, television, and stage has spanned 68 years. She began acting during school at the Oxford Playhouse. Her first role was Viola in Twelfth Night at 17 years old! Today she has been in more than 60 movies.

Dame Maggie Smith is notable to me because she pursued a career in a field that said she was not beautiful and became a leading figure in it. Furthermore, she is friends with her contemporaries; Dames Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, and Eileen Atkins instead of competing against them. These are lessons that all young womxn should take to heart: follow your dreams into a career you enjoy, do your absolute best in it, and befriend your colleagues!

I love all Maggie Smith movies, but my favorite roles are: 

The Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey 

‘Granny’ is a strong and fiercely loyal member of the Crawley family. She is rather set in her ways from how dinner is served, to who her granddaughters may associate with. However, she will do what it takes to help her family and maintain family honor. I love how she always looks impeccable and has some of the best lines in the show.

Muriel Donnelly in The Best Exotic Marigold Hote

I like this partially because it has Dame Judi Dench and other awesome British actors as well. As Maggie’s character, Muriel Donnelly, moves to India for a hip replacement she is not shown in her best light. She is mean to the Indian people trying to help her and won’t socialize or try to be a part of the community. With some time, Muriel warms up and becomes friends with her doctor, the young woman working at the hotel, and her fellow retirees. It turns out she has had a hard time after losing her job and lashes out at the people around her. I love how Muriel is able to use her housekeeping skills to help run the hotel, and, of course, her love of tea and biscuits.

Thetis in Clash of the Titans

Admittedly Maggie Smith does not have the main role this movie, but it is a great role. Seeing Maggie Smith as the goddess Thetis is pretty epic. She dooms Andromeda twice. First, Andromeda must ask riddles of men who want to save her from Thetis’s monstrous son, Calibos. Then, when Perseus kills him, Thetis makes sure that the Kraken is released and only Andromeda can prevent destruction by sacrificing herself. Ultimately, Perseus kills the kraken with Medusa’s head and marries Andromeda, putting an end to Thetis’s plotting. Perseus has to do all of these crazy things, but does she get in trouble… nope! That is how to be a boss.

woman eating popcorn
Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

I was born in Bakersfield, but I have moved over ten times since I was three years old. I love books and musicals. Yes I am a Hamilton fanatic, Potter fan, Tolkien follower and feel the compulsive need to read at least once a day. My other favorite hobby is cooking. Currently my major is in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning at UC Davis.
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