Elle Honors Women in Hollywood

I am a fan of Elle for the wide range of topics it covers. I love the fashion, advice columns, international stories, travel guides, and celebrity coverage. When Elle takes on a topic like film stars, it strikes a balance between brains and beauty that puts other sex-obsessed magazines to shame. Elle honors women for their career achievements- not just their physical appearance.

            This is Elle’s 15th annual Women in Hollywood issue, and seven women take the spotlight. In November’s issue, Elle spotlights seven women who have paved their own path.

            Each Hollywood icon is featured in identical spreads: black and white portrait by Gilles Bensimon, meaty mini –profile, Q &A sidebar, and five movie stills with related quotes. Cookie -cutter though the format may be, it packs a ton of information- and some revealing insights into each actress.  The interview focuses on their feelings about their career and their position in Hollywood.

            Halle Berry takes on more “emotionally raw” performances rather than capitalizing on her looks. Here’s a sampler with the money quote: “My process is trying to figure out how to funnel my own pain, my own rage, through a character.”

            Anne Hathaway has morphed into an in demand powerhouse A-lister through the variety of highly successful and difficult roles she has taken: “That was astonishing to be able to unequivocally say, I left my guts out there on that one, and I couldn’t have done any better.”

Sigourney Weaver, at 59, still gets leads in action and science fiction films, even though these are mostly male dominated roles: “Good stories have good women’s roles in them. You have to find them.”

            Salma Hayek maintains a successful acting career, as well as being a producer and director: “I realized I could step outside the business and do a lot less but a lot more effectively.”

            Isla Fisher tackles comedic roles and turns them into an art form: “Women can be as broad as men can and so many are wasted playing the eye roller or the love interest.”

            Jane Fonda has played strong female characters for her entire 40 year career: “On a scale of one to 10, 10 representing full and equal participation of women in Hollywood, I’d say we are about a six.”

Director Catherine Hardwicke makes films that tackle hard issues, like teen rebellion, and love: “You don’t want to be a badass and you don’t want to go in there and be hardcore, but if you don’t fight for it you won’t get it and it won’t be on the screen.”

             Women and their work are often overlooked. It’s uplifting to see women recognized for their professional achievements, and not just for their physical looks as “the hottest woman” or “sexiest star”. It’s a model for giving star treatment to creative professionals who also happen to be glamorous women.

            -Terri Rafferty

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