Evan Rachel Wood is so much more than a talented actress with a stage name that rolls right off the tongue. She’s an LGBTQ+ activist, a voice for survivors of sexual assault, an electronic pop singer, and a bubbly late-night guest personality. This woman can do it all, and she’s embracing her voice as a public figure to inspire social change.
Wood is most widely known for her Emmy-nominated portrayal of Dolores in the HBO Original series, Westworld. Her character is an A.I. robotic host from a fully immersive theme park, Westworld, where guests can play out their fantasies in the wild American West. During the course of Season 1 and into Season 2, (Clemson students can watch it on HBO GO for free!) we see Dolores become more and more aware of her artificial world, resulting in the dynamic reveal of her dark side. While filming, Wood engages in what she calls “Acting Olympics,” where she portrays an artificial human who is experiencing intense human emotions. What’s even more challenging is that her emotions, character traits, and analytical abilities can be turned on and off by programmers’ command. Her performance is truly incredible!
Evan Rachel Wood has also found that Dolores’ journey of confronting her abuse echoes her own journey as a survivor of rape and domestic violence. Back in February, Wood gave a chilling testimony before Congress in support of implementing the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights Act in all 50 states. In her testimony, she shares her experiences as a victim of sexual assault, detailing the long-term mental damage it has inflicted upon her. Towards the end of her speech, she calls for all victims to be treated with humanity and dignity under the protection of the law.
In 2017, Wood was honored with a Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award for LGTBQ+ advocacy. “I choose to use my voice because it would feel selfish to have acquired the platform to represent the underrepresented and to not use it,” says Wood at the end of her address. To her, visibility creates hope. Her life was changed when an actress she looked up to came out as bisexual and gave a recognizable term to Wood’s internal feelings. In her speech, she’s powerfully honest about the underreported struggles of bisexual men and women, and she’s proud to use her voice to fight these battles.
Evan Rachel Wood is an unstoppable force, using her influence as a call to action for change. When she’s not performing in her band, Rebel and a Basketcase, or slaying as Dolores in Westworld, she’s using her influence to be a warrior of social change. My favorite thing about Evan Rachel Wood is that she has lived a million lives (she literally has as her character, Dolores Abernathy) and feels a higher obligation to share, even her darkest experiences, with the belief that if it helps just one person feel less alone, it’s worth it.