Pant Suits and Leading Ladies: Elle’s 2019 Women in Hollywood Awards Put the Power in Female Empowerment

In the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, there seems to have been a seismic shift in Hollywood. After women from across the industry joined forces like never before, it seems to have ushered in a new era of female solidarity, gender equality, and empowerment. So, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate all the ladies of Hollywood, than at Elle’s star-studded 2019 Women in Hollywood Awards.

Image: Elle

To mark the occasion, Elle also created a special feature issue to shine a spotlight on some of the most influential female forces in the game. From Dolly Parton to Nicole Kidman, these fashionistas wowed everyone on the red carpet with power suits and statement dresses. Still, the talk of tinsel-town this year was more about statements than fashion, and about “Where do we go from here?” So let’s look at what these ladies had to say.

Inspiration & Diversity

Nicole Kidman spoke about how she was inspired by her mother to transition from an actress into a director. This was traditionally a male-dominated career, but she now dreams of passing on the directorial flame to her daughter. Nicole hopes to inspire little girls to be able to say, ‘Yeah, I can be a director’ – “I would never have said that. I said I could be an actress, but I never said a director.” Kidman spoke about her upcoming movie Bombshell, which explores the formerly taboo issue of harassment against women in the media.

Image: Elle

Mindy Kaling also used her time in the limelight to speak about her upcoming project, Late Night which explores the issue of inequality and diversity in the writing room. Mindy stars as a woman of color trying to get her voice heard as a writer, against a sea of white men. She hopes to shine a spotlight on women of color who have ambition, and [those] who don’t see people who look like them succeeding.

Opening Dialogue

Some stars opened up a dialogue about taboo subjects, that often go unsaid in Hollywood circles. Zendaya admitted that she suffers every day from anxiety. The former Disney star said that she always felt the pressure of “never wanting to mess up, “I’m trying to be the best version of myself without overapplying pressure. Then I start spiraling.” she added.

Image: Elle

She discussed that when she co-created the character of Rue for the HBO drama Euphoria, she added elements of her own angst to the part; so “it felt like she was me in another version of my life.” With all the pressures of fame, we’re sure this is a pretty common issue amongst Hollywood’s elite. So, we salute Zendanya for opening up a dialogue about it. We’re loving this new open Hollywood, flaws and all!

Breaking Barriers and Real Issues

At the event, some icons took the opportunity to reflect on breaking barriers and achieving gender equality. Natalie Portman offered her own self-styled definition of feminism. She said that the true sign of gender equality will be achieved when women are allowed to make mistakes, just like men. She hopes for the day when “mistakes are forgivable or when the post-mistake learning is real” so that “people of all genders get the second chance that men currently do.”

Image: Elle

Some stars spoke about taking on roles that explore raw, real and relatable issues. Scarlett Johansson recently starred in Marriage Story, which has received glowing reviews. Incidentally, at the time she took on the project, she was going through a separation. Still, that wasn’t why she took on the project. Scarlett said she felt she could relate to being feeling trapped in a marriage as it reminded her of the relationship between her parents. So, she wanted to portray the character and relay the story for all the world to see.

New Roads to Travel

Many were asked about what’s next on the horizon, and Dolly Parton had her own epic response. “No point in going down that same Old Town Road. We got other roads to travel,” she stated. While she was referring to her own upcoming projects, her answer could also apply to the wider #MeToo movement too. One thing’s for sure, the foundations for empowerment and equality are being made and we can’t wait to see what’s next for Hollywood’s power ladies!