The Hollywood Reporter Power 100 Women in Entertainment Breakfast
The Hollywood Reporter celebrated the entertainment industry’s most powerful women at its annual “Power 100” Women in Entertainment Breakfast, one of the year’s most inspiring affairs.
Not only was it a joy to acknowledge so many women of achievement, but if I also had to name the most inspiring speakers I’ve ever heard, the day’s trio would no doubt top my list: Oprah Winfrey, recipient of the Sherry Lansing Award; Sherry Lansing, the award’s namesake; and Maria Shriver, who presented the award.
Abounding in female strength, the Dec. 11 by-invitation breakfast also featured Demi Lovato to announce scholarship winners from the magazine’s mentoring program. In addition to most of the women named that day in THR’s Women in Entertainment issue, a wildly diverse celebrity contingent turned up, too. They included American icons, such as Jane Fonda; reality stars Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian and Kris Jenner; rapper Kanye West, and more.
More familiar faces were Naya Rivera, Big Sean, Gayle King, Whitney Cummings, Judy Greer, Alyson Hannigan, Molly Sims, Vanessa Lachey, Allison Williams, Cat Deeley, Darby Stanchfield, Ahna O’Reilly, Amber Valletta, Candice Accola, Maria Bello, Mandy Moore, Gillian Jacobs, Geena Davis, Terri Seymour, Nikki Reed, Angie Harmon and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
Readers can find the story I wrote for the online edition of the Los Angeles Times here, and in the Dec. 22 print edition of the Image section. I had so much to say about this inspiring event that I’ve also added more details below.
Jimmy Kimmel’s Welcome
As guests nibbled on their egg white frittatas, host Jimmy Kimmel reminded the audience, “This is the ‘Power 100’ breakfast, so if you are not powerful, please leave immediately.”
Amid what he described as “a sea of perfect blowouts,” he called the group “incredible” and said he felt bad for the 101st most powerful woman, “sitting at home, slicing her own cantaloupe.”
Kimmel also braved telling Kanye West not to try to take away Oprah’s award, which happily has not triggered a Twitter tirade against the talk show host in the days since the breakfast.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 100
On ascending the stage, THR’s editorial director Janice Min congratulated the newly-named Power 100, most of whom attended the breakfast. Among other VIPs were Anne Sweeney, named no. 1: Nancy Dubuc, Amy Pascal, Donna Langley, Sue Kroll, Jennifer Salke, Stacey Snider, Sandra Stern, Blair Kohan and Jill Leiderman. More entertainment VIPs were Motion Picture Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, director Lee Daniels, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, producer Gale Anne Hurd and screenwriter Danny Strong.
Publisher Lynne Segall followed, introducing Sherry Lansing, by quoting her as saying, “Anyone can write a check. It’s really what you do with your time in terms of giving back.” That theme carried through all the morning’s remarks.
A Word from Sherry Lansing
Lansing saluted Winfrey for giving to others, before praising participants in the magazine’s mentoring program, which is done in conjunction with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles.
“I want to thank you for using your power and your voice to help a young girl find her own voice, to help her dream, and to help turn her dreams into reality…” Lansing told the audience. “You know, they say that if you change a life, you change the world. And that’s what all of you are doing today.”
Demi Lovato named all the program’s mentors and mentees, and then announced two winners of full 4-year scholarships, each worth $200,000. Jennifer Salke’s mentee Paola won a scholarship to Loyola Marymount University; Sandra Stern’s mentee Melissa won a scholarship to Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television.
Maria Shriver’s Tribute
Shriver next took the stage, ticking off Winfrey’s many accomplishments.
“She is a teacher and a student, a mentor and a trailblazer. She launches TV shows and networks. She builds schools and sends everyone to college…” said Shriver, starting the list and later adding, “and she also gives away cars”
“Is there anything this woman can not do?” she said. “For god’s sake she can even cook – from scratch – I’ve seen it, I’ve eaten it and it’s good.”
About to read a poem she wrote for Winfrey, Shriver warned, “Don’t go nuts because this is not Maya Angelou quality.” Yet her poem, “Becoming,” eloquently summed up Shriver’s sentiments: “You have done what God asked of you, to become your own you, the most important work you will ever do. How proud I am of you. How proud I am that you have the courage to become, to become you.”
For her part, Winfrey talked of the meaning of power and of following instincts, rather than copying others.
“When you take time to look back at what the other guys are doing, you lose focus, you lose energy and you lose power… ” she said, also speaking of losing her balance, getting hit with curve balls and encountering stumbling blocks on the road to success.
“Your real power lies in the opportunity you have, we all have in this moment in time, to use our life for something that really matters,” she said, adding that she never had a “shrink,” but instead, learned from her TV show.
One lesson, she said, was that everyone wants to know that they matter, that they are heard. After interviews, all people ask her, she said, if they did OK.
(And as an aside, I’ve heard Winfrey express this thought before and found it so profound that I’ve repeated her words to others many times since.)
Winfrey concluded by acknowledging Lansing, the award’s namesake. “I thank you for kicking that door of leadership so wide that hundreds of us have been able to walk through that door because of you,” she said. “We follow your lead, Miss Lansing. We take the call, and we honor the call, and we thank you for making us all proud to spell our name w-o-m-a-n.”
Top photo: Oprah Winfrey was honored at The Hollywood Reporter Power 100 Women in Entertainment Breakfast (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)
Second photo: Demi Lovato announced recipients of $200,000 scholarships to Loyola Marymount University at The Hollywood Reporter Power 100 Women in Entertainment Breakfast (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)
Third photo: Anne Sweeney, named no. 1 for the 4th time, attended The Hollywood Reporter Power 100 Women in Entertainment Breakfast (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)
Fourth photo: Jane Fonda and Danny Strong, screenwriter for “The Butler,” at the Hollywood Reporter Power 100 Women in Entertainment Breakfast (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)
Fifth photo: Mentor Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment, with her mentee Paola, who won a scholarship to Loyola Marymount University (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)
Sixth photo: From Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles, Sarah Purcell, seated left; Sandy Bilson, seated right; standing from left, Jovan Bowles, Vanessa Guerra and Ingrid Johnson at The Hollywood Reporter Power 100 Women in Entertainment Breakfast (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)
Seventh photo: Sherry Lansing, for whom the award was named, with this website’s author, Ellen Olivier, at The Hollywood Reporter Power 100 Women in Entertainment Breakfast (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)
Eighth photo: Mentor Sandra Stern, COO of Lionsgate Television, with her mentee Melissa, winner of a full scholarship to Loyola Marymount University. (photo Vince Bucci/ Invision for The Hollywood Reporter/ AP Images)
ALSO IN SOCIETY NEWS LOS ANGELES:
The Hollywood Reporter Power 100 Women in Entertainment
Published Dec. 16 2013 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA