Rock-hard spy girls ruled Hollywood this year. Sexy and tough female secret agents came out swinging this year, driving big hits on TV and film

By Clarissa Cruz
Updated December 13, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
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Alias, Jennifer Garner
Credit: Alias: Reisig and Taylor
type
  • TV Show
network
  • ABC

They’ve got angelic faces but rock-hard physiques. A pocketful of gadgets? Sure, but their clothes would still make any self-respecting fashion maven weep into her Hermès scarf. Yes, 2002 was definitely the year of the spy chick. With Halle Berry in ”Die Another Day,” Jennifer Garner on Fox’s ”Alias,” and Beyoncé Knowles in the latest Austin Powers caper, there is, at long last, a new generation of feminine secret agents who are more than holding their own with the boys.

”It’s ’60s retro meets the girl power of the new millennium,” Catherine Stellin of NYC-based trend trackers Youth Intelligence says of the year’s superbabes, who include Natasha Henstridge on the syndicated series ”She Spies,” and even Alexa Vega in ”Spy Kids 2.” That power added up to big bucks: The addition of Berry to the 40-year-old James Bond franchise gave a key assist to ”Day”’s soon-to-be status as the top-grossing 007 film ever. Playing ”Alias”’ Sydney Bristow, meanwhile, helped Garner add some serious hardware to her spy closet: In January, she scooped up a Golden Globe for her role on the critically acclaimed show. And as super-shagadelic Foxxy Cleopatra, Knowles gave ”Austin Powers in Goldmember” a much-needed dose of Pam Grier-inspired flava — and helped this installment outdraw the first two.

”They’re strong, but they’re also feminine — they’re not like Linda Hamilton in ‘Terminator,”’ Stellin says of their appeal. ”I like the attitude — sexy and smart,” Knowles adds of her character. ”You could relate to her.”

Thanks to good old women’s intuition, these kinder, gentler spies may even be better at their jobs than their male counterparts. ”You’re below suspicion,” says CIA veteran Jonna Mendez, coauthor of the Agency exposé ”Spy Dust.” ”Women are good at… eliciting information because it’s what women do all the time. Men don’t make small talk well.” Nor do they look as good in skimpy orange bikinis.

Additional reporting by Gillian Flynn

Alias

type
  • TV Show
rating
status
  • Cancelled
network
  • ABC

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