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“I’m happy to be here to be your arm candy,” Justin Timberlake joked to the room of powerful women and honorees at The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 100 Women in Entertainment breakfast on Wednesday morning. “Angelina [Jolie] warned me that I was basically only here to be objectified, and that’s absolutely fair.”
Timberlake was on hand to introduce the 21 girls that were chosen as the 2018 class of THR‘s highly competitive Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program, now entering its 10th year. The program, which was created in partnership with Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles, allows each of the girls to receive a $10,000 scholarship to the university of her choice thanks to Lifetime and Entertainment Industry Foundation. Along with surprise presenter Gal Gadot, Timberlake presented more than $1 million in scholarships to the graduating mentees.
Before introducing an inspirational video of the girls and their mentors, Timberlake got serious to address the importance of men standing up for women.
“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 said. “Fifty-seven percent [of staffers] at The Hollywood Reporter [are women]. You’re right, Shonda [Rhimes]. The times are changing. You’re right, Nancy [Dubuc]. 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.”
The mentorship video spotlighted the girls’ perseverance through hardships including drugs, bullying and the loss of family members. The girls have formed lifelong bonds with some of the top leaders in film and television who have helped them through both tough life moments and school as they work toward college and their future career.
“The program is so important today because we are living in such divided times and there is so much hostility and discrimination, and by bringing these partnerships and mentoring relationships together really helps develop compassion,” mentor and Big Brothers Big Sisters L.A. board chair Laura Lizer said in the video.
Gadot also surprised one student with the first-ever Wonder Woman scholarship, a full-ride, four-year grant funded by Warner Bros., to Loyola Marymount University.
Additionally, American Airlines gave each of the graduating mentees 50,000 Advantage miles.
Jennifer Lawrence was honored at the breakfast with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, presented by Lansing; 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, eOne, SAG-AFTRA and Loyola Marymount University in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
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