On Friday, April 8, Variety’s third annual Power of Women New York gathering took place. The event recognizes six women for their philanthropic efforts. This year’s honorees were Oscar winners Julianne Moore and Lupita Nyong’o, fashion designer Vera Wang, “Law and Order: SVU”‘s Mariska Hargitay, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and ballet dancer Misty Copeland. The six women were all honored for their charitable work and dove into their inspirations and the programs that they support in emotional speeches. You can watch some of them below.
Oscar winner Nyong’o will next be seen in “The Jungle Book,” which opens April 15. She is now starring on Broadway in Danai Gurira’s “Eclipsed,” and at the event spoke about her work with Mother Health International in Uganda, which supports pregnant women in areas of extreme poverty and disaster. “When we see the great power we have in supporting each other, not only to heal the wounds of our world, but [giving] the great gift of allowing every woman to stand in her power,” Nyong’o said.
Moore, who won an Academy Award for “Still Alice,” spoke of her support for Everytown for Gun Safety, noting that the 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy sparked her involvement. “I couldn’t bear it anymore. I couldn’t bear hearing about senseless gun violence and needless loss of life,” she said. “I fervently believe that this is not a partisan issue. This is not a Second Amendment issue. It is a safety issue,” she emphasized.
Hargitay was honored as the creator of Joyful Heart, an organization focused on healing, education and empowering survivors of assault and abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence, which she called “the most underfunded, under-regarded and under-researched social issues of our time.” Hargitay described the hundreds of thousands of rape kits that are backlogged in police departments across the nation due to lack of funding as “unconscionable.”
Copeland, the first female African-American principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre, was there to represent Project Plie, a partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs that opens doors for minorities in the arts. Copeland pointed out that the organization’s mission mission is “not just plucking (kids) out of underprivileged communities, but surrounding them with teachers and executive staff who look like them and can relate to their experiences.” She explained, “Being able to see yourself or someone who looks like you on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House matters.”
Kelly addressed her highly publicized scuffles with Donald Trump at the event. “In the wake of the dust-up between yours truly and Donald Trump, someone used that word ‘fearless’ about me, and that’s wrong,” she said. “I am not fearless, nor do I know any fearless people. This seems to be a new standard, a new goal that we are setting for people: ‘Go forth unafraid.’ You go forth unafraid, I’m scared about a lot, often. Fear is normal. The goal is not to get rid of it, the goal is to walk through it. Courage is what we need.” Kelly was honored for her charity work with Childhelp, an organization that supports victims of child abuse.
Wang was introduced by her former boss, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour who praised Wang’s legacy of designing wedding dresses, “the single most emotional garment that many women wear.” It was Wintour who connected Wang to the leaders of Youth Anxiety Center, a mental health organization. Wang went into her own struggles with anxiety, calling it “my constant companion…The stigma and shame associated with any kind of anxiety or depression still exists today.” She stated, “The more I learned, the more I realized how serious an epidemic it has become.” (Wang’s speech was not available in video form.)
Last year, Variety honored Whoopi Goldberg, Glenn Close, Lena Dunham, Rachel Weisz and Kim Kardashian at the event.