The Mexican Origins of Princess Leia’s Buns

BY: 
Catherine A. Jones
 | May 9, 2024

May the 4th may have come and gone, but the force is still with us. And rumors are still going around about the OG Star Wars princess and her legendary buns. 

Princess Leia Organa, the fearless leader of the Rebel Alliance in the Star Wars saga, is instantly recognizable by her distinctive double-bun hairstyle. Some say her iconic look was inspired by real-life Mexican revolutionaries. And the director himself, George Lucas, confirmed it.

“In the 1977 film, I was working very hard to create something different that wasn’t fashion, so I went with a kind of Southwestern Pancho Villa woman revolutionary look, which is what that is,” Lucas told Time magazine in a 2002 interview. “The buns are basically from turn-of-the-century Mexico. Then it took such hits and became such a thing.”

So, let’s delve into the Mexican origins of Princess Leia’s buns and the women who influenced it.

The Mexican Origins of Leia’s Buns

In 1977, when George Lucas created Princess Leia for “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,” he envisioned a strong, independent character who could hold her own in the face of danger. Lucas deliberately wanted Princess Leia to look strong, like a soldier.

“George didn’t want a damsel in distress, didn’t want your stereotypical princess; he wanted a fighter, he wanted someone who was independent,” Actress Carrie Fisher explained to the BBC in 1977.

In addition to the hair, Princess Leia has a lot in common with the real life female Mexican Revolutionary fighers, aka soldaderas. These women were not mere bystanders at a time of war. They were warriors, fighters, and trailblazers. Their roles included transporting goods, cooking meals, setting up camp sites, carrying equipment, and even smuggling ammunition and medicine across the front lines. And they fought alongside the men in battle.

“Sometimes also called adelitas, soldaderas broke barriers and defied gender norms during a chaotic time in Mexican history. Despite enduring severe sexism from male troops, some women warriors climbed the ranks to become officers — and even led some of those same men into battle,” the history site All That’s Interesting explains.

The Soldaderas: Unsung Heroes

More than four decades after her debut, Princess Leia continues to inspire generations of fans to embrace their inner warriors. And, thanks to her legacy, the story of soldaderas, the unsung heroes in Mexican history, continues to be told. Their big role in the Mexican Revolution is finally coming to light.

Here are just a few of the Mexican Revolution’s soldaderas who influenced Leia’s iconic hairstyle and fierce personality:

  1. Petra Herrera: A legendary figure, Petra Herrera disguised herself as a man to fight alongside the revolutionary forces. Her determination and bravery made her a symbol of resistance.
  2. Angela ‘Angel’ Jiménez: Angel was a fierce fighter who defied societal norms. Like Herrera, she fought disguised as a man, demonstrating that women were equally capable on the battlefield.
  3. Dolores Jiménez y Muro: Dolores was a passionate advocate for women’s rights and eventually reached the rank of colonel in the Mexican revolutionary army.
  4. Margarita Neri: A native of an Afro-Mexican community, Margarita Neri was a respected warrior. Historic records say she was “ferocious” and “executed her prisoners herself.”

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