The event: The world is changing where women are concerned, nearly every speaker proclaimed at Friday’s Variety Power of Women luncheon, which bestowed Lifetime Impact honors on actors Salma Hayek Pinault, Anna Kendrick and Gwyneth Paltrow; media mogul Oprah Winfrey and YouTube Chief Executive Officer Susan Wojcicki for their philanthropic endeavors, for — respectively — Chime for Change, the Trevor Project, L.A. Kitchen, Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation and Room to Read.
“We are a fantastic generation,” Pinault said. “We are the generation that says ‘Oh, no, no. We’re not going away at 30.’ ”
“I believe that we are on the verge of creating a new archetype,” Paltrow said. “It is possible to be a woman who is intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, ambitious, while being a woman who is maternal, nurturing, sexual and for other women.”
Halo Foundation founder Rebecca Welsh also received accolades. And not to ignore the gents, an EmPOWerment award (POW in mid-word standing for Power of Women) went to Fox Film chairman and Chief Executive Jim Gianopulos.
The crowd: Serving as emcee, Tracee Ellis Ross greeted the by-invitation audience of Hollywood insiders before a starry lineup of presenters took turns onstage, among them Reese Witherspoon, Jada Pinkett Smith, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Lisa Kudrow, producer Ryan Murphy, director Ava DuVernay and YouTube star Bethany Mota. Watching from the ballroom were Jenna Dewan Tatum, Ashley Tisdale, Molly Sims, Thandie Newton, Amy Landecker, Carrie Brownstein, Yara Shahidi, Constance Zimmer, Jaime King, Dan Bucatinsky, Rachel Zoe and songwriting Hall-of-Famer Diane Warren.
The scene: Before settling down to the luncheon, presented by Lifetime at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel, guests mingled amid booths set up by charities, where they could learn about the various causes. Some lined up for photos at a Moroccan oil display, while others checked out an Audi in the reception area, at one point triggering a car alarm that barely rose above the cocktail chatter.
The numbers: The affair attracted 500 guests, and although the amounts were not disclosed, the Entertainment Industry Foundation matched the Variety Foundation’s donations to the spotlighted charities.
Quotes of note: After ascending the stage to a standing ovation, Winfrey spoke of “authentic power,” which she defined as “the kind of power that can never be taken from you, not your looks, not your fame, not your money, not your square footage, but authentic power. It’s when your personality comes to serve the energy of your soul.”
Continuing, she said, “I really think that the only difference between being famous and not is that more people know your name. … What Salma has done, what Susan has done, what Anna has done, what Rebecca has done, what Jim has done, what Gwyneth has done, what I’ve done, you, too, can do, because true philanthropy comes from living from the heart of yourself and giving what you have been given. … Your life gets better when you can find a way to share it with someone else.”
The lone male honoree, Gianopulos, said of his female colleagues, “These women and their many gifted and hardworking colleagues are the reason I’m here. They actually don’t need empowerment; they empower me.”
He then added, “I hope that someday very soon the concept of honoring men for empowering women will be obsolete and seem ridiculous. I hope that someday I’ll tell my grandchildren about receiving this award, and they’ll laugh at the very idea.”
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