Glamour Magazine held it’s 25th annual Women of the Year awards Monday, November 9th at Carnegie Hall, honoring a range of inspiring women from entertainers and athletes, to businesswomen and entrepreneurs. The day was officially declared Women of the Year Day by the Mayor of New York City, and the Empire State Building was even lit up in pink, Glamour‘s signature color, in honor of the night. The star-studded event, hosted by Amy Schumer, featured appearances from celebrities like Selena Gomez, Goldie Hawn, Lupita Nyong’o, Seth Meyers, Ellie Goulding, Jennifer Hudson, and more.
Glamour never fails to give recognition to some of the most incredible and inspiring women around the world. Check out this year’s honorees and what makes them so inspirational to women everywhere.
Not only is Reese an amazing actress and style icon, but she is also currently doing amazing things for women in the film industry. Three years ago, when she noticed just how few films were casting strong female leads, she started her own production company, Pacific Standard Films, and began buying the rights to books and scripts that showcased female protaganists. Her movies, which include hits like Wild and Gone Girl, have since gained billions at the box office and numerous Oscar nominations. Her company is thriving, and with 25 films with female leads currently in development, Reese is commandeering the film industy and proving that women can do anything.
In her moving acceptance speech, Reese spoke of ambition and said that, just like Elle Woods, she does not like to be underestimated.
“I believe ambition is not a dirty word. It’s just believing in yourself and your abilities. Imagine this: What would happen if we were all brave enough to be a little bit more ambitious? I think the world would change,” Reese said.
Last June, Misty made history when she became the first ever African-American ballerina to be promoted to principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre. But her success didn’t stop there. Her inspiring ad for UnderArmour gained international attention, and her memoir, Life in Motion, is a New York Times best-seller. In addition to her many incredible accomplishments, Misty is giving back and is currently working on bringing ballet to communities with little exposure.
“Thank you for honoring a black ballerina,” Misty said in her acceptance speech. “This is for all of you young ones who are watching us. We’re trying to set the best example for you. I think that Glamour is showing you that it’s possible to be women and to encourage each other and to lift one another up and encourage each other.”
As a former Spice Girl, Victoria is no stranger to girl power. The 41-year-old mother of four has become a fashion mogul, building her empire from the ground up and inspiring girls worldwide with her incredible work ethic. Even while running a business, she still finds time to give back. She is an international goodwill ambassador for UNAIDS and has helped to raise millions for HIV/AIDS charities.
“It started with the Spice Girls and girl power,” Victoria said, flashing a wink and a peace sign to the audience in true Posh Spice fashion. “And now I am channelling that same message to women through my collections. I want to support, empower, and really make women feel like the best version of themselves.”
Despite the mass amounts of media attention and public criticism she has endured this past year, Caitlyn has not let it deter her. She launched her docuseries, I Am Cait, to help to educate the public on transgender issues, and has become a role model for transgendered youths all over the world. Glamour recognized her as a “champion” for the transgendered community.
“Of all the things I’ve done in my life, Caity is why God put me on this earth: to tell my story; to be honest with myself about who I am. And in doing that, making a difference in the world. And I’m very happy to be living on the other side,” Caitlyn said in her speech.
As the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile fights for women’s rights everyday. While controversies this past year have caused members of Congress to call to defund the non-profit organization, doing so would mean nearly 700,000 people would lose access to their only source of health care. Cecile refuses to let that happen.
“I’m honored to be here on behalf of the one in five women in America who have turned to Planned Parenthood for health care. No mother in the world wants her daughter to have fewer rights than she did- so it’s up to us to make sure that every girl in this world will be able to control their bodies and their lives and their futures,” Cecile said.
At 20, Elizabeth dropped out of school to run her own business, a blood test company called Theranos. Today, at 31, she is the youngest self-made billionaire in the world. Her inspiring success story has made her a role model for girls everywhere to overcome obstacles and pursue their goals. In her acceptance speech, Elizabeth urged every young woman in the audience not to be afraid of excelling in the fields of math, science, and engineering.
When the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won the FIFA Women’s World Cup this past summer, they showed the world just how powerful women’s sports can be. Many of the players are more than just amazing athletes; they are also outspoken women’s rights activists, fighting against the stigmas women often face in the sports world.
“There are a lot of people who tell you you can’t do something. It’s so important to have a goal, to have a dream in mind, to work towards that dream every single day,” midfielder Carli Lloyd said. “You have to work hard. It’s not going to be given to you. Dreams do come true when you put in the effort.”
The mass murder at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina earlier this year changed these five women’s lives forever. The women of Charleston, including Alana Simmons, Nadine Collier, Bethane Middleton-Brown, Felicia Sanders, and Polly Sheppard, lost their loved ones, and two of them almost lost their own lives in the tragic massacre. Glamour honored these women for their inspiring strength and perseverance in the wake of the tragedy, and they took to the stage to encourage the audience to spread forgiveness and peace.
“Forgiveness is power,” they said.