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January 20th, 2008

Celestial, heavenly, you name it

(Among) The Most Beautiful Girl(s) In the World...
...has to be Gillian Anderson. She introduced Northanger Abbey tonight on "Masterpiece" (whence the "Theatre" part of the title, PBS?) and I have to say my breath caught in my throat when I saw her. She has such a strong and beautiful face - it's alive in a way one does not see in the faces of many other women, not even other very beautiful women.

She radiates herself out of that face; all her mind, all her heart, all her intensity, all of it. From her eyes, of course - they're unmercifully blue traps - but also from the line of her jaw, from her gorgeous mouth, from her skin, from that remarkable red hair of hers. Probably sounds incredibly overwrought to say it, but that's how she strikes me. Someone I know once described her as painfully beautiful, and I think I understand what he meant by that; it's like a knife, or a storm, or something you can't break away from once it's got you. And you don't mind.

I have a short list of other beautiful women; Billie Piper, Angela Bassett, Claudia Black right off the top of my head. It's easy for me to say that they share a strength which I find inescapable, but Anderson...where the others may seem to be completely and intimately of this time and this place, Anderson seems to me to have stepped from another age. Some time when beauty could be both rarefied and strong. Hard combination to find these days.