a monthly look at the faces that have made history

Pam Grier

It's hard to imagine what the blaxploitation genre would have become without Pam Grier's badass warrior babes. Before Foxy Brown judo-kicked her way onto the screen, women (black or white) simply didn't do action—at least, not with any seriousness. Grier took the superficial characters she was handed and gave them cool dignity, in the process defining a type that still shows up today (Lara Croft, anyone?). Of course, the fact that Grier could handle a gun like a pro, had cheekbones that needed their own flight crew, and looked pretty damn righteous in a miniskirt didn't hurt her appeal. Her popularity jumped every divide, turned her into an icon and inspired Quentin Tarantino to write a movie for her. Now that's a power source.

—Janet Ozzard

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