Why We Should Care:When it comes to kicking serious ass and looking fabulous doing it, there is no character more legendary than Diana Riggs’ Mrs. Emma Peel of 60s TV series, The Avengers. Anglicized to the nth degree, the show was likely responsible for the spread of not just a few exaggerated British-isms, but the character of Emma Peel more than made up for any disservice to cultural stereotyping by crashing the boys club that was the coolly intelligent spy-drama and more often than not playing the rescuer of the man in distress. On top of this, Emma Peel’s outfits (designed by John Bates in the monochrome seasons and by Alun Hughes in the color) typified this era of popular culture in op-arted, catsuited brilliance.
On a similar girl-power note, Diana Rigg also played Teresa “Tracy” Draco in the film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as the one and only Bond girl that managed to drag the womanizing superspy to the altar.
Off screen, Rigg is a fiery personality who suffers no fools, but always dictates herself with the utmost in British propriety, no wonder she was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire by the Queen for her long contributions to theatre and film. Rigg continues to play her characters with that signature cool confidence and at 71 is still a hot ticket in London’s West End shows.
Hottest Hookup:She was once married to a Laird of Scotland, one Archibald Stirling of Keir; that’s right, a member of the flipping gentry! However, she turfed his sorry behind after he’d been caught canoodling with sexpot actress Joely Richardson.
Style Best Described As:Generation defining; an image of complete mod perfection in geometric block pattern glory. Her famous catsuits, both black leather and bold coloured cotton, have since been christened with the moniker of “emmapeelers”.
In a Movie We’d Cast:Angelina Jolie, for her powerful self-confidence that turns men to mush and for her ability to rock the swept-back look.
In Her Own Words:Emma Peel: I suppose Mother warned you about women like me?
John Steed: Until now, I didn’t know there were women like you.