Top 5 Reasons I Want to be Maggie Smith When I Grow Up

As someone who has dabbled in theater, I often find myself admiring the styles and presentations of certain actors and actresses. Some of my favorites include Tom Hanks, Drew Barrymore, and of course everyone’s favorite…Jennifer Lawrence.

But there is one actress who, in numerous roles, has embodied the exact person I want to be when I grow…well, old.

Maggie Smith is perhaps one of the most elegant and amusing actresses to ever grace the silver screen. Golden Globes, Tony Awards and Oscars glitter among her accomplishments, but it is not her reputation that makes me love her. My adoration comes from her ability to own each of her roles in a way so that you could never imagine anyone else playing it.

While some might look up to the younger, upcoming actresses, I look to Maggie and know that true talent has no age. So here is my tribute to Maggie and the top five reasons I want to be just like her when I grow up.

1. She is wise, yet youthful – Ah, Professor McGonagall. Maggie helped bring this smart and strong Harry Potter character to life. With the flick of her wand and a hint of sass, McGonagall was never too meek to scold unruly students or even face Death Eaters. But all the while, she still had the kindness to watch out for Harry, bend the rules from time to time, and even teach Ron how to dance. (And her patronus is a cat, so if that isn’t perfect I don’t know what is.)

Favorite Quote: “The house of Godric Gryffindor has commanded the respect of the wizarding world for nearly ten centuries. I will not have you, in one night, besmirching that name by behaving like a babbling, bumbling band of baboons!”

2. She stays open minded – Like any good Reverend Mother, Maggie embodied the character in Sister Act as stern, yet caring. When Sister Mary Clarence started taking the choir down a strange and seemingly unholy path, The Mother Superior had her reservations. But in the end, she realized that music was what the church needed all along and she continued to support Sister Mary Clarence even into my favorite of the two films, Sister Act 2. (I still have both of the movie soundtracks on my iPod and sing regularly to them while cleaning the bathroom)

Favorite Quote: “I am a relic, and I have misplaced my tambourine.”

3. She will never grow up – Not only is Peter Pan my favorite story of all time, Hook is my favorite re-telling of the story. Maggie shines as Granny Wendy showing us that magic lives on even with age. Coincidentally enough, Maggie looks older in this film than she does now. She was only 56 years old when she played this role. She is now 79. (So if she wasn’t cool enough already, she can apparently time travel.)

Favorite Quote: “Well, do you see where Jack is, hmm? Well, that is the same window and this is the same room where we made up our bedtime stories about Peter and Neverland and scary old Captain Hook. And did you know? Mr. Barrie – well, Sir James, our neighbor – he loved our stories so much, he wrote them all down in a book, oh dear me, eighty years ago.”

4. She always has an opinion – Her role in Downton Abbey is perhaps my favorite performance done by Maggie. As the Countess of Grantham, Maggie knows how to make even a character living 100 years ago seem “old fashioned.” While Violet Crawley may be set in her ways and find it horrific that the men aren’t dressed in the proper tails for dinner, you can see that she loves her family feverishly and even learns to accept change when needed. This doesn’t however stop her from making her opinion known, especially when she is right. (Because she always is.)

Favorite Quote: “Put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

5. She has always stayed true to who she is – Of course, it isn’t just her characters that make me love Maggie. She is an actress who has had a fantastic career stretching six decades, but she is also a real person just like you and me. While filming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Maggie was suffering from breast cancer, but she was determined to finish filming even through chemotherapy and various treatments. She has also earned herself three honorary degrees from prestigious universities even though she never went to college.

On top of it all, she is modest. Like many of her characters, Maggie has figured out what is important in life: To do what you love and not ask for more.

Favorite Quote: When asked why she doesn’t often interview: “It’s just that as you talk, one thinks, ‘God, it’s really rather dull’.” She also said why she thinks she’s associated with Britain’s top actors: “That’s because of age. If you live long enough in England, they think you’re amazing.”

Amanda is a post-graduate with an unhealthy addiction to working at theme parks. Her greatest loves are writing, singing in her car and eating cheese. Follow her adventures here and on Twitter.

Featured Image via ITV