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Shonda Rhimes wants the world to know how “creative and badass” the women of entertainment are. The first guest editor of The Hollywood Reporter‘s Women in Entertainment issue talked about how women are rising up during a “reckoning moment in time” at THR‘s Women in Entertainment breakfast on Wednesday morning.
“I thought it was a regular thing. I mean, Oprah [Winfrey] had to have done it. Beyonce, clearly. Meryl Streep? Definitely. Obviously,” said Rhimes of being surprised she was the first to guest edit the issue as she spoke to a crowd of attendees including Angelina Jolie, THR cover star Jennifer Lawrence, Glenn Close, Justin Timberlake, Lea Michele and Gugu Mbatha-Raw at Milk Studios in Los Angeles.
The prolific TV creator and media entrepreneur talked about how the wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations is making this a crucial period for women: “This lightning-fast, brightly lit, ‘We handmaids are over these red hats, Westeros is ours, we are reclaiming our time, we’re swinging our “Lemonade” baseball bats, we are all Wonder Women now because guess what, women are just so DONE with this molester-y hot mess that makes you feel you can put your creepy hands on us so there’s the door because you have got to GO’ reckoning moment in time.”
Rhimes said guest editing the issue was a feat that at first caused her to be “itchy and scratchy and sleepless and suffer-y,” but she got through working on the publication by following what made her successful: listening to the women around her.
“My daughter told me to ask for a story on powerful women and their teenage daughters,” said Rhimes. “I heard horror stories at a baby shower and that turned into an article on how working women are treated in this business when they are pregnant. I railed against what turned out to be a really great story about boots. I did a big interview. We talked about sexual harassment and abuse and what can be done. I tried as hard as I could to stalk Jennifer Lawrence to find out how she does it, but THR got a restraining order. And I loved every single minute of all of it.”
Rhimes said working on the issue left her with a protective feeling to portray the industry leaders, dynamos and groundbreakers who are a force in film and TV.
“And I ended up with this very protective feeling for you, my fellow women in entertainment,” she said. “Protective of how this issue would portray you. After all, in our business, how we portray women tells the world who women are. I just want the world to know how powerful and creative and badass and original you all are.”
Also at the breakfast, Lawrence received the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, presented by Lansing; Sarah Silverman delivered the opening remarks; Jolie gave the keynote speech; and Gal Gadot and Justin Timberlake were on hand to help present over $1 million in university scholarships to young women from disadvantaged backgrounds who have taken part in THR’s highly competitive Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program, now entering its 10th year, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles.
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 L.A. and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
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