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Before being honored with the Sherry Lansing award at the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ “Big Bash Live” at the Beverly Hilton on Friday night, Netflix vp original content Cindy Holland told The Hollywood Reporter about the mentor in her own life that inspired her to help others.
“My high school English teacher,” said Holland, who herself is a mentor in The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program, a joint venture between THR and Big Brothers Big Sisters. “I grew up in a Friday Night Lights kind of town, and she helped me dream beyond the borders of that town and all the way to Stanford University.”
For the second year in a row, Travis Van Winkle served as the night’s emcee alongside Too Close to Home star Kelly Sullivan.
Sullivan has only recently become a Big Sister, and she spoke to THR about the anxiety she first felt when meeting her Little Sister: “I thought, ‘What if she doesn’t like me?’ or ‘What if I don’t have the tools that my mentors had for me?’ I was so nervous and anxious, and then I just started to realize that it’s just about trust and bonding and love.”
The evening began with a 1930s-style short film and then transitioned to a live, Broadway-style song and dance number led by Van Winkle and Sullivan on the Beverly Hilton stage.
The pair also interviewed several Big Brother and Sister pairs and highlighted the difference that a mentor can make in the life of a child.
Van Winkle, who also served as a Big Brother for several years, proudly announced that his little would be graduating from high school this year.
Holland was introduced by Orange Is the New Black star Kate Mulgrew, who said of her friend, “Over martinis in New York I learned that Cindy, like most type-As, is constitutionally incapable of mediocrity. Her daunting intelligence may be part of her genetic legacy, but her will and her spirit are entirely her own, and these strengths have defined her. She can not and will not be less than she is.”
For her part, Holland graciously accepted her award and spoke about the importance of the Big Brothers Big Sisters programs.
“Every person deserves a support network to encourage them along the way. This is where Big Brothers Big Sisters plays such an important role here in Los Angeles and in other communities,” she said. “For so many young adults in need of that knowledge, support and face to face sustained interaction over time, the relationship between the mentors and mentees is a really special one. I can attest to that, and the roles it plays in both parties’ lives is so critical and can’t be underestimated.”
In addition to honoring Holland, the Bash also raised a record-breaking $520,000 to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater L.A.
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