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What a feeling — knowing that your own quick-change trick helped inspire one of the most memorable moments in an iconic film.

While sitting down with PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing, Jennifer Beals revealed that the scene in Flashdance where she takes her bra off without removing her sweatshirt was actually a moment straight out of her own life.

“This whole scene, taking the bra off underneath, I used to do it when I would go from school and my mom would drive me to horseback riding lessons and I’d have to change in the car,” she explained. “I was in a wardrobe fitting with Adrian Lyne, and I did that, and he said, ‘Oh we have to put that in the film.'”

Flashdance made Beals into an icon of her generation, dancing her way into audiences’ hearts to the tune of Irene Cara’s “Flashdance What a Feeling” in this tale of a steel worker/exotic dancer who dreams of getting into ballet school. It was only Beals’ second film ever, and she had just started her first term at Yale University when she got the offer for the role.

FLASHDANCE, Jennifer Beals, 1983, (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection
Credit: Everett Collection

“My agent [calls] me and [tells] me I got the film and I say, ‘Well, I have to take a moment to think about it,'” she remembers. “Because if I couldn’t defer a term, there would’ve been a distinct possibility I wouldn’t have done the film. Because I loved school so much.”

Thankfully, she could defer a term, leaving her open to make a splash that shook up pop culture and the fashion world, causing everyone to emulate her baggy sweater look — even Snoopy in a drawing by Charles Schulz. “When Snoopy is busting a move with your fashion, then you know things are going right,” she quips.

Watch the clip above for more.

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