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Sundays 8pm to 11pm on Radio 2
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When future historians look back at the 1980s, they might wonder - what's the deal with the ripped sweatshirts and leg warmers? Well, it all came down to a little film called Flashdance. It made Jennifer Beals a star. Except, she never wanted to be famous.
Jennifer was born in the early '60s on Chicago's south side. Mom was white; Dad African-American. And growing up, Jennifer felt like a bit of an outsider. At 16, she started modelling to pay for college. Then, everything changed. During her freshman year at Yale, she beat out 4,000 candidates for the lead in Flashdance. It was a huge hit at the box office, while the videos from the soundtrack changed the way movies were marketed.
But after Flashdance, Jennifer did something almost unheard of in Hollywood. She walked away, to finish her degree at Yale. A few years later, she got back into movies, did some indie stuff, then landed a role that kick-started the second act of her career.
The L Word was a groundbreaking series about openly gay women - something that had barely existed on TV before. When the show wrapped, Jennifer went back to her hometown and a new series. The Chicago Code was created by Shawn Ryan - the guy behind The Shield - and follows Chicago cops through the city's underbelly, as they fight crime and expose corruption.