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Julia Roberts' Infamous Armpit Hair Reveal Was a Statement—But Not the One You Think

In 1999, American's sweetheart Julia Roberts hit the Notting Hill premiere, waving enthusiastically at fans in a short-sleeved, sequined, crimson shift dress while revealing two small bushels of armpit hair. A moment forever cemented in pop culture history, it sent shockwaves through the industry at the time and to this day, is cited by many as a pivotal—if not pioneering—moment in the history of famous women bucking shaving tradition and going au naturel. The plot twist? The then 31-year-old Roberts had zero agenda while doing so.

Eveing Dresses Cheap

During an appearance promoting her new 10-part Amazon mystery series Homecoming on Busy Tonight, Roberts, 50, revealed she wasn't intentionally trying to resist antiquated beauty standards or make a feminist point per se—she was simply being herself.

"I just hadn’t really calculated my sleeve length and the waving and how those two things would go together and reveal personal things about me," Roberts told host Busy Philipps. "So it wasn't so much a statement, as it's just part of the statement I make as a human on the planet, for myself."

Roberts infamous showing of underarm fuzz may not have been designed to shake up society's standards of female beauty. But the fact of the matter is it definitely had a hand in doing so, with a slew of stars boldly following in her footsteps both on the red carpet and off duty. What's more: A recent study found that nearly one in four women under the age of 25 have stopped shaving their underarms. So here's to Roberts, the Oscar-winning actress with a million dollar smile and a long-held history of doing exactly as she pleases—and inspiring legions of women while she's at it.

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