Seventies Charlie's Angels Star On Shifting The "Sex Icon" Perception


It's hard to believe that over thirty years have passed since model and actress Jaclyn Smith became a businesswoman, starting her own women's apparel clothing line. While many celebrities would be content to enjoy the fame after working on a successful television series, this “Charlie's Angel" wanted to challenge herself creatively.

Rather than endorse another company, Smith pioneered the concept of celebrities developing their own brands. “At that time, no one had done it, and it felt daunting and daring," Smith exclusively told SWAAY during an event for the introduction of the 'Jaclyn Smith Ready to Wear' clothing collection at Sears. “People said, 'no, you don't need to design clothes for Kmart. But I thought it would be interesting to give back to all the people who kept me on television."

Smith was the only actress from the cast that remained on the hit series for all five seasons.

“It seemed to be a tried and true concept, people young and old loved it…we reached many age groups. Even to this day; to be on a show that we are still talking about 40 years later is incredible,"

If you've never watched an episode, Smith played one of the private investigators for Townsend Associates, a detective agency run by a reclusive multi-millionaire whom the ladies never meet. Voiced by actor John Forsythe, the Charles Townsend character present new cases and gave advice via a speakerphone to his three female employees, to whom he referred as "Angels."

Smith described the experience of starring on “Charlie's Angels" as fun and exciting. “We became rockstars overnight," she remarks. "We didn't stand in line at the movies or Disneyland. Life changed immediately. There wasn't a lot of time to venture in another direction, because we worked 18 hours a day."

Rather than endorse another company, Smith pioneered the concept of celebrities developing their own brands. Photo Courtesy of AP

“I learned so much," she adds. "It was acting school and improv all rolled into one. We worked with many big stars at that time, that wanted to do our show because we were in the top 10."

While Smith and her costars—Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack, Tanya Roberts—were popular due to the show, there was also a strong sense of pressure, to get good ratings and look good.

Still, no matter how big the series got, Smith had a sense of perspective.

“Any time judgment is involved in looking or being a certain way, you have to come from a deeper place, as it is all temporary and superficial," noted Smith. “I was brought up by a family that was very down to earth, I didn't put as much stock into that as I did work and how I was going to lead my life. I took it day by day. I am sort of a person who stays in the moment.

While Smith and her costars—Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack, Tanya Roberts—were popular due to the show, there was also a strong sense of pressure, to get good ratings and look good. Photo Courtesy of ABC News

The show became successful in worldwide syndication, which inspired a plethora of ancillary products, including bubble gum cards, glamorous, fashion dolls, a variety of posters, puzzles, and school supplies, toy vans, and a board game, all featuring Smith's likeness. The "Angels" also appeared on magazine covers on TV Guide and Time magazine. Nevertheless, by the fifth season, Smith was ready to move on.

“When you are a celebrity, people expect certain things; they have watched and supported you. They don't want to see you change either. But change is the most constant part of life."

The show became successful in worldwide syndication, which inspired a plethora of ancillary products. Photo Courtesy of CineBlog

Smith modeled for Wella Balsam Shampoo and created a fragrance for Max Factor, “getting a taste" for what it took to launch a new product line. “To put my name on a product was a whole new world. Kmart was a whole education in the mass market," she said.

At the time, there wasn't enough variety for women's fashion at the store. “So when I took a meeting with Kmart and went over the possibilities, I thought 'wow, this would be different.' I knew this was something I was going to love." These days, Smith feels pressure to make her new elegant, affordable line as attractive to Sears customers as possible. “I want them to go in there and try it on, and enjoy that shopping experience."

More than 100 million women have purchased clothing or accessories bearing the Smith's name. Awareness of her brand for women 35-60 years old is above 80 percent. “From sleek silhouettes to bold prints, my Ready to Wear pieces are designed for every woman looking to express her personalized style," said Smith. “At the end of the day, it's really about being true to yourself." Smith feels her collaboration with Sears is a good fit.

“Like me, Sears understands who its members are and genuinely cares about what they want – to look their best, whether at work or enjoying a night out, with statement-making looks, great details, quality, comfort and style for women of all sizes."

In June, the very first “Charlie's Angels" comic book will premiere, which will be based on the action series. While the franchise was already turned into two successful movies with Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu in 2000 and 2003, and a TV reboot on ABC in 2011 that lasted just four episodes, a new “Charlie's Angels" is in the works, with actress Kristen Stewart starring and Elizabeth Banks directing.

The Charlie's Angels reboot, which has not yet begun filming, is slated to hit theaters June 7, 2019

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Patriarchy Stress Disorder is A Real Thing and this Psychologist Is Helping Women Overcome It

For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.

As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.

Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.

What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein

This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.

Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.

While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.

"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.

Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.

In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.

"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."