What Creative Entrepeneurs Can Learn From Bette Davis

Strong women in films are hard to find today.

Women like Bette Davis, confident, strong and smart, set a standard for the rest of us that has endured over time, but has been copied less and less often.

Bette Davis wouldn’t have been called beautiful in her prime, nor was she the typical Hollywood starlet. She had a voice like a panther and sometimes an attitude to match.

She instinctively knew that she had to learn the lay of the land in order to get ahead. She didn’t look for parts that increased the glam-factor, but parts that were substantial and showed off her natural talent.

She was never one to ‘sleep her way to the top’ for the return of more money or better parts. She acted because she loved it. She interacted with her audience and appreciated the praise she received…because she loved her work.

Bette earned leading roles and  better salary by being authentic and developing her talent and style.

Bette Davis didn’t care about glamour, she cared about being recognizable.

Cropped screenshot of Bette Davis from the fil...

Cropped screenshot of Bette Davis from the film Of Human Bondage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bette’s acting was authentic, as well. She loudly refused to act in a morning wake-up scene in full make-up and perfect hair. When a character role  called for her  to look beaten  or to have a bald head, she was adamant that was how it would be.

Bette Davis was the brightest example of all the tough Hollywood actresses. It wasn’t easy being strong. Women were scorned for speaking their minds. Bette once said, “When a man gives his opinion he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion she’s a bitch.”

Bette stood her ground and kept it real. She was honest and forthcoming with everyone. The reaction was, “At least we know where she stands.”

Bette Davis succeeded as the most famous woman in the world using nothing more than raw talent, self-confidence and headstrong determination. And, she knew how to connect.

From an article found at StumbleUpon by Johann Hari “For a while, this not-especially-beautiful woman in her forties ruled Hollywood, playing tough women who chose their careers and their own desires over sacrificing for men or children or a picket fence. She never pretended to be dumb, or a little girl. She didn’t do soft, or simpering. She had a voice like sour cream, and eyes like a raven.” And she was one of the great events of her time.”

What does all this mean for creative entrepreneurs, like writers, musicians and artists?

Be authentically you. Use your real voice. Don’t fear the critics. Stick to what you believe is right for you.

Being a creative is not for sissies. Tough out the hard times. Revel in the good. Treat it like the business that it is.

Do what you love simply because you love it. Don’t do it for money. Realize it may take a very long time to actually make a living at it.

Support others like you. Praise their work. Reach out to your audience. Work for them more than for yourself.

Be a ‘great event’ of your time. Make a splash. Be unique. Be the best at what you do.

Aside from being an example to other creative folks, Bette Davis’ persona was a lesson for all women. She was strong, smart and sexy. Bette lived life fully and well. She was true to her ideals. She soaked up all the knowledge available to her.

Bette Davis was self-confident enough to demand to look bad on camera. She never played down her ambition or intellect to fit a preconceived notion of women.

As her biographer Ed Sikov says, “Bette Davis didn’t give a goddam. She dares us to hate her, and we often do. Which is why we love her.”

What do you think of Bette Davis? Do you know of another person who sets an example to follow?

You know I love to hear from you, please share your thoughts.

Don’t forget to stop by The Life List Club blog and visit Gary Gauthier who is posting today!

Friday is the 1st Anniversary of The Life List Club and it’s Milestone Friday! All of our writers will be partying at the LLC Blog as well as our own blogs. Don’t miss out on all the fun and prizes!


17 thoughts on “What Creative Entrepeneurs Can Learn From Bette Davis


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  4. I LOVE Bette Davis. Now, Voyager is possibly my favorite, but I’m a fan of the creepy films too: Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? are fabulous! When you come to Wisconsin we should so plan a movie marathon party.

  5. I’ve always admired Bette Davis for her strength of spirit. She knew she had talent and in an age where women were supposed to be there for the men, she proved women could be just as powerful as their counterparts. She had style, despite her not giving a damn about all of that, and she had class.

  6. WHAT an amazing and inspiring woman! Love it. She also reminds me of my Mom. While other friends’ moms were staying home baking and cooking, I watched my Mom break out of the mold to get a full time job, take university courses to get a degree, and demand that her husband do his fare share of the cooking and cleaning. And she ALWAYS took jobs that she loved and was passionate about – in the non-profit sector. She worked hours she was never paid for and has always given back to her community tenfold. In that, she taught me to follow my passions and my dreams and that happiness and fulfilment of self was more important than any pay cheque!
    GREAT post!

    • Thanks, Natalie! All who know you also know something of your mom and we all think highly of her, as we do you. You are both great examples of women who have what it takes to succeed.

  7. Oh Marcia you have touched me with this post…Bette has always been my hero…she is a role model for me and I hope for more women as they rediscover her…I never miss her movies and they are among my favorites…I drew strength from her example and I learned that when I stand up for myself I am called a bitch and I wear that name proudly because I really know what it means…sometimes I doubt my talent or my path but your encouraging words and reminding me of what Bette would do have given me a much needed kick in the pants. My mom is like Bette….not noted for glamor or caring about wearing make up (I don’t like she didn’t), she lived her life and took her blows…but she was the strong woman who stood up for herself and her family…a fierce lioness that I try to channel all the time…her lessons shaped me and I love to share them in my writing…I think i need to share them more. Thanks my friend!

    • You’ve put a smile on my face,Donna! When you write something, you never know who it will affect deeply. Thanks for letting me know the impact it had on you, my friend. I’m happy to know that this persona is one you’ve taken on and it has served you well! Be strong, Donna!

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