Golden girls of the silver screen
When Honey Ryder rises from the waters in a daring costume with conch shells in her hands and a dagger by her side, the world took notice.
From the very start, they are captivatingly beautiful, dangerous; mysterious even. Yet, the spy franchise is plagued with women with ridiculous names full of sexist puns, playing sensuous cameos often sharing pointless screen time with the male actors.
True, they are all predictably beautiful, some frail, and most of them trivial, if Bond had any say over it, but despite the unabashed chauvinism, women have shined in Bond films, and here is a small list, by no means comprehensive, of distinguished roles that we at Star Lifestyle find fascinating.
Bond girls that can give 00s a run for their money
In all honesty, we no longer wish to refer them as Bond Girls. Leading women in the James Bond franchise may seem quite a mouthful, but that is exactly how things have shaped up, at least since 'Casino Royale' to 'No Time to Die' — where Daniel Craig takes on the 007 moniker.
In his 5-film stint, Craig has reprised a role that revealed the seams in its transformation from a plain spy with a licence to kill in the first film, to a more poised agent befitting the character of Bond in the later screen editions.
In every step of the way, a group of female characters who can otherwise rival James Bond every step of the way has supported the role, and we have loved them all.
Britt Ekland; The Man with the Golden Gun, 1974
There is this entire era when female bond co-stars were simple damsels in distress. Thank goodness, that time is over!
Even with roles reduced to being just the onscreen female, rather than radiating any feminine persona, some characters stands out. The goofy intelligence officer, clad in her bikinis was once enough to steal our hearts. Perhaps, not anymore! But even in all her frivolity, Britt Ekland as Mary Goodnight is an iconic lady.
Ursula Andress; Dr. No, 1962
We are absolutely in love with Honey Ryder. She seems cold in her appearance, but as the first female character to have occupied a fair share of the storyline, she still reigns as one of the coolest women to have rubbed shoulders with Bond in his missions.
And frankly, why save the best for the last?
Naomi Harris; Skyfall, 2012
This is one character that has evolved over the years. In the recent films, she has gone miles beyond her comical guise. She is an accomplished MI6 field agent, not intimidated by the thought of giving up the chase and settle for something that suits her traits better. Moneypenny now actively coordinates with all secret agents of the Crown, as M's personal assistant, and is one of the few people James Bond truly trusts.
Daniela Bianchi; From Russia with Love, 1963
Striking women have always played the female protagonist of James Bond, and perhaps none more beautiful than Daniela Bianchi. She has her quirky moments in the film, like when she slips into Bond's room wearing a black lace choker. And, nothing more!
She is as loyal to Russia as Bond is to the Crown. In Romanova, we find an agent perhaps not as fierce in action, but with a mental strength that can almost outmatch the double 0.
Ana de Armas; No Time to Die, 2021
In a steaming gown, and guns in her hands, she takes on the world order as evil as Spectre. Together with Bond, she forges an amazing partnership (surprises even Bond himself), and that too with only three weeks of training. Beat that!
When there is an outcry over more formidable female characters in the James Bond franchise, and with a strong tradition of recurring roles like M and Moneypenny, can we please have more of Paloma in Bond 26?
The world of espionage will only be better for it.
Famke Janssen; Goldeneye, 1995
James Bond has starred femme fatales in the past, but none as steamy as Xenia Onatopp. She is the henchwoman, who squeezes in on every great Bond Girls list ever made. For good reasons! When first introduced in the film, Goldeneye, we were mesmerised by her panache, only to realise that the seductress is as evil as it gets.
Olga Kurylenko; Quantum of Solace, 2008
Although the film offers little in terms of cinematic brilliance, Quantum of Solace does have some of the best fashion moments for a female protagonist in a bond film. We were awe-struck by the dress she was wearing, and Olga Kurylenko surely shines as much as Bond. If there was one fashion icon we love for a Bond Girl, Camille Montes would be it.
Jane Seymour; Live and Let Die, 1973
We don't believe in luck but Solitaire almost had us believed in chance! She is one of the most exotic characters Bond had ever met, and certainly one of the most enchanting. She predicted the coming of Bond, his appearance, but could not predict how he would sweep her off her feet. When its Solitaire, can we blame Bond for trying!
Sophie Marceau; The World Is Not Enough, 1999
Once a frail, innocent girl, her abduction by terrorists turns King into a manipulator. She outgrows her evil schemes, and offers the world to Bond, in return for his betrayal to the Crown. Which Bond, despite his weakness for King, refuses!
Bond has seen a fair share of Parisian beauties, but none more electric than Elektra King. She offers a rare insight of what turns people to evil. It iterates the fact that people are not born evil, but made so.
Teresa di Vicenzo
Diana Rigg; On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969
This may seem like an unorthodox pick among our readers, but we are all in awe with Tracy. She was after all, the only Mrs Bond in the entire franchise.
Despite her family links with Spectre, Bond realises Tracy is strong enough to take him off guard, touch the softness that remains within the hearts of even 00s. James falls for her, only to face a tragedy.
Eva Green; Casino Royale, 2006
She had the rare ability to read through James. She tore him apart even at the very first instance they met. And, she definitely broke the wall that Bond had built around him over the years as a spy on her majesty's service.
A pun for West Berlin at the height of the Cold War, Vesper Lynd is a troubled soul torn between the love that she finds, and her past. She has a wall of her own; she is enigmatic, and the first girl to strike a chord in James's heart.
Dr Madeline Swann
Léa Seydoux; Spectre, 2015
As far as we know, she is 'good at hiding' and that's one trait that makes her irresistible to Bond, and us viewers alike. She is last seen driving off with Craig at the end of Spectre, a plausible hint that we might finally see 007 retire. What happens will happen in No Time to Die (no spoilers here), but one thing is clear, after Vesper Lynd, Bond could have finally found his solace.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Peya Jannatul
Makeup: Lavish Boutique Salon
Styling: Sonia Yeasmin Isha
Location: InterContinental, Dhaka