Jackie Collins is best known for her raunchy books concerning the Hollywood elite but a new documentary also shows her as a feminist icon.
The Lady Boss and Hollywood Wives author has been dismissed over the years as ‘just’ an erotic novelist, and was looked down upon through the 1990s. Her brand of book was based on the outrageous sleaze and sex she saw in Hollywood as she frequented parties and many-a backstage soirée.
The sexism and predatory nature of some of the people Collins saw around her influenced the creations of some of the most love-to-hate characters and ball-busting women in her novels. Often she would frequent these star-filled parties just to watch and become inspired by their attitudes and actions.
Filmmaker Laura Fairrie has created Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story which looks back at Jackie Collins’ life thanks to exclusive access to her diaries, and interviews with the author’s family.
Speaking to the BBC, Fairrie explained her motivation:
“I was looking for another film to do, and I wanted to make it about a fabulous woman.”
And when someone suggested Jackie Collins, it just made perfect sense. “She was my sex education. We read them in maths lessons hidden under the desks, so I just had this connection to her from my teenage years, that immediately just gave me a really good insight into who she was.”
“I was interested in turning the tables and looking at the other side of the public story. The persona that she created.”
Fairrie recalled conversations with friends of Collins, who remembered how, when the books were published, Hollywood stars would send their maids to queue for the latest Jackie Collins: “Partly they wanted to be in it, but they were afraid of it too. And I think that that is always kind of such a key part of understanding who she was and the books that she wrote. For her, reality often wasn’t the most comfortable place.
“So she wrote books that had these fantasy endings. She’d take a real situation and change the ending to the one that she wanted. She consistently turned the tables on men, she’d consistently write about women, characters such as Lucky Santangelo, who were almost superhuman.
“It was this feminist fairytale world, and she chased that world herself.”
“And she put those stories into her books. Disguises the names, disguises the places. But the tough times are in the books, as well as the outrageous Hollywood stories.”