Tina Louise as Ginger on Gilligan’s Island is one of the most iconic TV roles of her era. But at the same time, it represented what Louise was seen as.
Ever since her breakthrough role in the 1958 film God’s Little Acre, Louise was renown for her looks as much as her acting skills. Rather than being seen solely for her work, she was often praised for her looks.
It’s something that celebrities always have to deal with. That doesn’t necessarily excuse the way they are perceived, but it’s a fact of the matter. Louise acknowledged this.
In an interview with Gilligan’s Island fan site gilligansisle.com, Louise spoke on her experience with the issue. An important piece of context is that Louise’s rise to fame came before the socially conscious decades of the 1960s and 1970s, and that her role of Griselda in God’s Little Acre paralleled her life.
“[Griselda] only seems sexy because she looks sexy and maybe feels that way,” Louise said. “But…hers is a tragic story and one I know too well. Men just can’t keep their hands off Griselda, because that’s the way she affects them every time a man sees her he tries to kiss her and rough her up…. Sex is a part of her, but is really not her.”
Being treated as a sexual object rather than as a person is an issue still prevalent today. But back in the mid-20th century, the issue wasn’t addressed the same.
“I understand this so well,” the Gilligan’s Island star said. “Because I don’t like men to treat me as I look either…you don’t understand, do you? I’m not one-dimensional at all. If anybody spends any time with no, they learn that. Man, it’s rough trying to convince people that I’m really a serious actress.”
Gilligan’s Island Star Tina Louise Talks About Age
Besides beauty, Tina Louise has also waxed about aging in the context of celebrity. With nearly 60 years gone since the days of Gilligan’s Island, Louise’s place in entertainment has shifted.
However, in a 2013 interview with Esquire, it was less about being an aging actor, but more about the mentality of getting on in the years. She believes that age is less of a concrete number and more of one’s demeanor.
“Some people are way older than others who are the same numerical age because of the way they carry themselves, because of the way they don’t stand up straight, or the way their bellies stick out. I don’t think you should label people with numbers,” Louise said.
It’s an interesting view from the now 87-year-old, but one that I think is always worth remembering. You’re never “old” if you still feel the passion for life and to explore new things.