Pam Grier is more than just mere sex symbol or style star; the actress is responsible for defining an entire cinematic genre. Blaxploitation would have ceased to exist—or, at the very least, it would have been wholly unwatchable—without her kick-ass contributions.
First discovered as a Hollywood receptionist, Grier started her action career in women-in-prison films. Her star-making turn was as the titular nurse-turned-vigilante in the 1973 Blaxploitation classic Coffy; her character is remembered as much for her violent behavior as a certain barely-there macramé bikini that showed off Grier’s famously copious assets. Grier continued to play bold, brazen characters: the bodacious Foxy Brown who famously pulls a revolver from her afro, Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (a role written for her) and Kit Porter on The L Word.
Grier’s most memorable style moments were during her rule as the queen of Blaxploitation with her slinky, cleavage-baring silhouettes, low-slung bell-bottom jeans, and fringed suede.