Women celebrated women and reminded each other of their self-worth Wednesday night during L'Oréal Paris' 14th annual Women of Worth Awards at The Pierre Hotel in New York City. Each year, the awards recognize 10 women from across the country who are volunteering their time and energy to causes they think are important.
This year's honorees were recognized for everything from hand-making baskets of items for families with babies who have Down Syndrome to teaching healthy self-esteem and safe sex to teenage girls, mentoring immigrant girls about their cultural identity and providing free legal and therapeutic support for adolescents who have survived things like conversion therapy.
"The one thing all these women have in common is they never told themselves no," Aja Naomi King, a L'Oréal Paris spokeswoman and How to Get Away With Murder star, told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. "They constantly found a way to do something that wasn't only going to impact themselves but others. They recognized something lacking, something missing and immediately decided they had to do something about it. In order to do that, and acknowledge your self-worth, you have to say yes to yourself and yes to others."
The awards bring to life L'Oréal Paris' slogan, "Because I'm Worth It," and serve as a reminder to women everywhere that they are, indeed, worth it.
"So many people live in this world with insecurity, with fear, with lack of confidence, especially women," L'Oréal Paris spokeswoman Helen Mirren told THR. "[L'Oréal has] really expanded that understanding out, and tonight is a manifestation of that." With all the evil, hatred, antagonism and paranoia in the world, Mirren said, to be able to see women like these, who are doing so much good, is inspiring. "We need to recognize it more," she added.
Camila Cabello, another L'Oréal Paris spokeswoman, echoed Mirren's sentiment. "Nowadays in the world, our attention is caught by the wrong things and things that don't really add meaning or value in our lives and this does," she told THR. "Seeing people who are making such a difference in the world and using whatever platform they have to do good is so powerful."
On the red carpet at the awards, the spokeswomen stressed how important it is to not only recognize the women who are fighting for these causes across the country, but also for all women to remember their own self-worth.
"It can get dark out there, and it can be easy to forget how magnificent you are, and it's easy to forget that you are the only one of you," King said. "You are utterly unique and perfect as you are, regardless of what you're attempting to achieve and whether or not it happens."
King's How to Get Away With Murder colleague Viola Davis also serves as a spokeswoman for the beauty brand. Whenever Davis struggles with her self-worth, which is often, she said, she looks at her daughter and the things that gives her strength, that make her feel like she has to step up.
Davis constantly reminds herself, "there's gotta be something in me that was strong enough and resilient enough and beautiful enough to get me to this position," she told THR.
Though Davis said she thinks there's still a lack of support amongst people in this world, L'Oréal spokeswoman Andie MacDowell feels like women, in particular, have come a long way, considering the oppression they've faced throughout history.
"We're really coming together now and being less jealous and catty towards each other and being more inspirational and supportive," MacDowell told THR. "I think it's a really important time for women."
Each spokeswoman agreed that they face plenty of struggles with self-worth and have to continuously remind themselves of their own value.
"Invest in not what things are for what they are, not what life gives you, not what the world is at present, but rather what it could be," spokeswoman Amber Heard told THR of her advice for women. "Look at your fate and your life as not something that you received or have to passively deal with, but rather, what opportunity you're given to do something with it."
Heard added that a woman's value should not come from the standards other people put on her or what she feels like she has to do to "fit in," but who she is as an individual, underneath it all.
"If we're not committed to celebrating people who are making the world better, then what are we doing with our time?" she asked. "What are we valuing, if not efforts to make things more fair, more just, more right, more equitable?"