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It’s hard to believe that Lenny Letter, the newsletter launched by Lena Dunham and her creative partner/Girls co-creator Jenni Konner, is just two years old.
During that short time, Dunham and Konner have shared stories from women like Ashley Graham, Gloria Steinem, Gabourey Sidibe, Nicole Richie, America Ferrera and countless others in an effort to give women a platform to tell their stories in their own voices.
But there was one particular essay that really changed the newsletter’s momentum.
“When Jennifer Lawrence wrote her piece about wage equality, suddenly the conversation about wage equality boomed and is continuing to this day,” Dunham said Friday evening at The Jane Hotel in New York, where she and Konner as well as Girls alum Zosia Mamet, Hari Nef, Ruth Wilson, Malin Akerman, designer Christian Siriano and more showed up to celebrate the letter’s second anniversary.
“I think [that was] the moment we knew Lenny Letter was working,” she continued of the essay that was published in October 2015. “We didn’t know how far this was going to reach, or who cared about these women’s stories. You can get skeptical about that when you’re working in Hollywood.”
Lenny had been popular among millennial-focused women’s media since its inception (it was started by the Girls creators, what’s not to love!). However, after Lawrence’s essay was published, the newsletter really picked up steam, Konner noted, allowing for greater reach and advertising opportunities as well as partnerships with Hearst and brands like Cole Haan, the latter of which teamed up with Lenny for the anniversary celebration as part of their Extraordinary Women campaign.
“It was amazing because you’d be at a dinner party and someone would bring up the [Lawrence] article and not even know where it was from,” added Konner. Indeed, Lawrence’s essay continues to be referenced to this day when the subject of wage equality arises. “It was just starting conversations everywhere which is really amazing. We couldn’t believe it — it grew so quickly to a very large scale, and we started doing advertising and partnering with companies like Cole Haan, and it’s just really more than we could ever ask for.”
Mamet also shared her support for the newsletter, especially where it concerns Dunham and Konner’s commitment to sharing the voices of a diverse range of women and redefining what it means to be successful or extraordinary. “I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves as women to have ‘extraordinary’ mean running a Fortune 500 company or breaking the glass ceiling of the tech world — which is extraordinary and incredible in its own right, but I also think ‘extraordinary’ can mean being an incredible mom,” said the actress. “I think it just matters what it means to you as a woman.”
As for the one woman whose voice has yet to be heard by Lenny Letter readers? “Mary J. Blige!” Konner said to anyone and everyone who would listen. Ball’s in your court, Mary.
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