The Hollywood Reporter’s 2017 Women in Entertainment breakfast on Wednesday morning honored and celebrated the industry’s leading women, where Justin Timberlake took the stage at the event to present scholarships to female students in film and television.
“Strong, beautiful souls. I’m happy to be here to be your arm candy. Angelina [Jolie] warned me that I was basically only here to be objectified, so that’s absolutely fair,” he said during his speech. “People like Angelina, Sherry [Lansing], Shonda [Rhimes], Nancy [Dubuc] and you strong people that are younger than me, really, that I looked up to all of you.”
The singer/actor showed appreciation for his mother and his wife Jessica Biel, saying, “I was raised by a strong woman. I was lucky enough to convince a strong woman to marry me, and she got nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award today. I will be her bitch anytime.
“To the men in this room. I see a lot of great men who I also look up to. I think we actually are here because we deserve the opportunity to speak up, to stand when something is not right,” he added. “We need to go to work. It’s not our responsibility. It’s our privilege because at the end of the day if you can be lucky enough to be raised by a strong woman and convince a strong woman to marry you, you will realize that we are nothing without the strength of women.”
Timberlake presented the scholarships for THR’s highly competitive, nine-year-old Women in Entertainment Mentorship program, which pairs young women with top-level women in film and television. Lifetime and Entertainment Industry Foundation awarded $10,000 scholarships to 21 girls from East and South Los Angeles.
Timberlake also announced that for the third year in a row, American Airlines is awarding the young women 50,000 Advantage miles for a trip during their college break or holiday. He presented the Lori Greiner (of Shark Tank and QVC fame) scholarship, which provides a four-year full ride to Loyola Marymount University to high school student Judith.
For the second year, producer Chuck Lorre surprised the room with two additional full-ride scholarships to LMU, which were presented to students Melany and Jordyn. Gal Gadot presented a first-time Wonder Woman scholarship from Warner Bros. to current LMU freshman Carla.
Almost 150 girls — and 150 mentors — have now taken part in the program and have included top executive mentors like Dana Walden, Jennifer Salke, Anne Sweeney and Megan Colligan. The program is a joint venture between THR and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles.
Previous scholarships have been funded by Lifetime, Entertainment Industry Foundation, Lorre, Sheila Johnson, WME and ICM Partners. THR has now raised almost $5 million for education, and the program has a near 100 percent rate for girls going on to attend college, some of whom have now graduated and entered the workforce.
Jennifer Lawrence received the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, presented by Lansing; Amy Pascal was honored with the Equity in Entertainment Award; Sarah Silverman delivered the opening remarks; and Angelina Jolie gave the keynote speech.
The VIP event was sponsored by American Airlines, Fiji Water, Forevermark, Gersh,