Power Women Summit 2019: Eva Longoria, Sharon Waxman & More Advocate Change

This year, I had the pleasure of attending the Power Women Summit hosted by WrapWomen. Held at the Fairmont Miramar, the venue was stunning with the beautiful sun shining above. Devoted to sparking and engaging conversations about achieving 50/50 parity in the industry, the two-day event united activists, actresses, leaders and other influential women in entertainment, media, and technology. TheWrap’s Power Women Summit was packed with panels, performances, breakout sessions, mindfulness workshops, dance lessons and even self-defense classes, all led by inspirational figures. The summit was filled with powerful women empowering other women, and I was certainly left feeling extremely empowered. 

Christina Bell, Shelea Frazier and Angela Birchett, the stars of the upcoming biopic, The Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel gave a gorgeous performance, setting an uplifting and exciting atmosphere for the summit.

In her opening remarks, Sharon Waxman, founder, CEO and Editor in Chief of TheWrap, declared the change is happening as people are developing a “new determination to drive deep roots into change.” She urged, “Let’s keep the momentum going towards 50/50.” 

During the tribute to the R. Kelly Survivors, Kitti Jones, Lisa VanAllen, Asante McGee, Lizette Martinez, Faith Rodgers and Jerhonda Pace were given a standing ovation, as they walked onstage. They joined Lili Bernard and Mira Sorvino. Faith Rodgers shared, “I don’t regret sharing my story. It’s not up to me to plead my case to you. I’m a part of the indictment, and that’s what matters to me. I’m thankful for the opportunity this platform gave me, it revealed a purpose to me that I didn’t know I had. It’s made me a kinder person to other women, in their struggles.” Lizette Martinez explained, “I have twins who are teenagers, and I didn’t know whether to become involved. But I realized there is no other way. We have to speak out. This person, I don’t want to say he changed my life, he changed my course.” 

Actress, Producer and Director, Eva Longoria gave a keynote for the morning program. She began her speech noting how nervous she was prior to going up. “Honestly, I get anxiety. I stop breathing...it’s mostly because of my spanx.” She shared about her childhood, and how her mother would make her bean tacos for breakfast, while her blonde-haired classmates would eat pop tarts. “I remember hearing somebody on the bus whisper, ‘She’s Mexican’ and it was apparently a fact that explained me. I could feel that it wasn’t a good thing. But when I went home and cried, my mother told me, ‘Never shy away from who you are. You go and share your culture, and you never forget where you came from.’” She advocated for more representation on screen, declaring, “When you are not being shown on screen, you are being erased. And the stories from Hollywood do not come close to reflecting the complexity of who we are as a community.” She urged the audience, “You have the privilege of working with people of different backgrounds. Listen to their stories and respect their perspectives. Don’t drown them out.”