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Amidst the Emmy weekend soirees, Norman Lear, Kate Walsh and Tichina Arnold gathered to celebrate the importance of females in media at the third annual Women Making History program Saturday afternoon at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Hosted by Devious Maids stars Brianna Brown and Ana Ortiz, the brunch celebrated the accomplishments of actress Sophia Bush, International Speedway Corporation CEO and NASCAR executive vp Lesa France Kennedy and writer Callie Khouri, who has won an Academy Award, Golden Globe and WGA.
Bush, who currently stars as a female detective in Chicago PD, also is an active philanthropist who has raised more than $400,000 on Crowdrise.com and serves as a board member for Pencils of Promise. Looking back on how she’s grown since her One Tree Hill days, Bush says she knows all women struggle with the feeling that they might not be accepted.
“When I think about what I wish I could say to my younger self and what I really try to say to women every day, it’s that you’re enough,” Bush told THR. “You don’t have to do any more and you don’t have to make yourself into something someone else wants you to be or that you think would be more appreciated.”
Bush also noted that Nashville actress Connie Britton is one of her female role models.
“It’s surreal. Sometimes we’re sitting having a meal, and I think, ‘Holy shit. How did this happen?’ ” said Bush. “[Britton] is able to do so many things to challenge people without making people feel criticized. She’s the dream.”
Actress and newest Grey’s Anatomy guest star Geena Davis presented to her Thelma and Louise screenwriter Khouri.
“She’s a revolutionary,” said Davis on working with Khouri, who also is the creator and executive producer of Nashville. “She creates characters that are in charge of their own fate to the bitter end. Female characters who are in charge of themselves.”
Producer David Hill presented to Kennedy, who praised her mother and grandmother for being the backbone behind her grandfather as he built NASCAR.
“She had a number of tricks,” said Kennedy of her grandmother. “She had two sets of books for financial records. One was the accurate set, and the other one was the one she showed my grandfather. If he had known there was any money in the bank, I would not be standing here today. No way.”
Paula Abdul, Rizzoli & Isles actress Sharon Lawrence and Maria Bello also were in attendance. Many influential women such as Maya Angelou and Hillary Clinton were mentioned throughout the program, but Abdul told THR she admires the wisdom of Whoopi Goldberg.
“A fun fact that no one knows is that there was a point in time that I briefly was a roommate with Whoopi Goldberg. She’s incredible,” Abdul told THR. “She was on her way, and I was transitioning from being a choreographer into pop music. She’s always been incredible and I’ve always looked up to her.”
The National Women’s History Museum aims to empower women by having women’s narratives represented in a museum on the National Mall. The nonprofit organization has received support from Shonda Rhimes, Meryl Streep and Frances Fisher.
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