While mixed martial arts are accustomed to Ronda Rousey establishing herself as a pioneer in the female aspect of the sport, she is quickly emerging as a pop culture icon. Such a status will mean that non-sports fans will have to get used to seeing her on the red carpet.
After portraying the character “Luna” in the box-office disappointment “The Expendables 3”, Rousey made the rounds on the red carpet, helping to promote the film. While the “Rowdy” one has certainly established as an MMA fighter that people love to hate, there is no question that her red carpet presence and appreciation for fashion shows a softer side. While Rousey has appeared in ESPN’s Body Issue, showing an appeal that was not common with female MMA fighters, her foray into Hollywood may establish her as a possible future female action hero superstar.
Her next film roles include the seventh installment of The Fast and the Furious film franchise, along with Entourage, based on the popular HBO sitcom produced by Mark Wahlberg. Although Rousey does not have top billing in either film (similar to Expendables 3), there is no question that entertainment reporters will be keen to see how she rocks the red carpet.
Reviews on her performance in Expendables 3 ranged from really well to horrible. The 27 year-old certainly has the potential to be an icon in film, as very few women have pulled off the role of action hero. One exception would have to be Milla Jovovich with her strong performances in the Resident Evil franchise. As a side note, Expendables 3 star and producer Sylvester Stallone did consider Jovovich.
There is no question that Rousey is not afraid to be outspoken in Hollywood, having criticized the portrayals of female comic-book superheroes in the big screen adaptations. Feeling that the woman’s superpower is dumbed down (e.g. invisibility, telepathy), Rousey tried to make a bold statement in Expendables 3.
If any comic book role would be ideal for Rousey, it would have to be the Black Cat, a long-time character in the Spider-Man mythos. Part villain and part hero, the Black Cat is equal parts dangerous and sexy, akin to Rousey.
Some critics wrote her off as just the token female in the film, as she had significantly less screen time than male counterparts such as Stallone, Mel Gibson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Considering the level of star power involved, it was still a remarkable way to break into the movies.
While the first time she saw the film, she did so while covering her face with her hands as it proved to be a nerve wracking experience as she was self-conscious. Acknowledging that acting is her toughest challenge, critics recognized that she was underused in the film. Nerves aside, she did get one scene-stealing role in the film. Engaging in a fight scene in a night club, Rousey is in a slinky red dress with stiletto heels as she smashes an individual with a beer bottle.
While being made to look hot may be a stereotypical part of movies, one of Rousey’s upcoming projects may help shatter such stereotypes. The popular book “The Athena Project” is being adapted into a film for Rousey.
Although MMA fans would like to see her engage in some smashing in the octagon, balancing MMA, acting and the demands of being a celebrity shall be a way of life for the foreseeable future.