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Regina Hall, Julie Bowen, January Jones and Channing Dungey were just a few of the high-powered Hollywood women who packed into the Beverly Wilshire ballroom on Friday to celebrate the Inspiration Awards to benefit Step Up, an organization dedicated to providing mentors and guidance to young women in under-resourced communities.
Jones summed up the importance of the organization succinctly in her speech, telling the packed ballroom, “Over 20 years, Step Up has made sure 6,000 teen girls have mentorship programs that focus on girls becoming confident and ready to join the next generation of professional woman. This is tremendously meaningful. Teens that participate in more years of Step Up have higher grades over the years.”
Luxury brand Coach was the presenting sponsor for this year’s awards, and it provided guests with monogrammed bag charms during the cocktail hour.
Longtime supporter Garcelle Beauvais told The Hollywood Reporter why she is so committed to helping Step Up succeed: “I love Step Up. I love what they stand for. I’ve been a part of the organization for 10 years and I love what they do. It’s women helping young girls, and I wish I had that growing up in terms of that support, whether it’s mentoring, whether it’s being able to just connect with someone and say, ‘I’m going through this — what do I do next?’ And I think having that support changes your life.”
After a lunch of salmon fillets and salad, Bowen, who has been a part of Step Up for several years, led a spirited auction to raise money for the organization. The Modern Family star jumped off the stage and worked the room hard to drive up bids and collect donations from audience members. Bowen even told Mean Girls star Lacey Chabert that she looked “so fetch” when she was trying to bid.
ABC Entertainment president Dungey received a standing ovation when she walked onto the stage to introduce actress Sanaa Lathan, and while she did not directly address the Roseanne cancellation, the roaring applause and cheering made it clear that she had the support of the room for her handling of the racially charged controversy.
Hall, who was the annual event’s main honoree, shared some of the advice that she gives to the young women that she seeks to inspire: “We’re in a time of social media, so I encourage our beautiful young girls to pursue excellence, not ‘likes.’ It’s really easy to look and compare yourself, but who you are is so incredibly powerful and you don’t have to look, think or be like anyone. You just have to love to your highest degree and pursue your highest self, and that shouldn’t be compared to anything. Let your worth come from the inside.”
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