Variety‘s 2015 Power of Women New York event at Cipriani Midtown on Friday afternoon honored Lena Dunham, Kim Kardashian West, Glenn Close, Whoopi Goldberg, Rachel Weisz and Cobie Smulders for using their platforms and influence to bring attention to worthy causes.
Dunham was there for shining a lit on Gems, a nonprofit that helps empower victims of commercial sexual exploitation. FN was on the scene to hear the “Girls” creator’s inspiring speech.
“It will surprise absolutely no one in this room that I identify as a feminist,” said Dunham. “If that does surprise you, I suggest you take a look around the room and make sure you’re not lost.”
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Dunham spoke about her own experience with sexual assault, saying she had felt powerless. “My ultimate goal is to use my experience, my platform, and, yes, my privilege to reverse stigma and give voice to other survivors.”
FN learned that in addition to creating and starring in her hit HBO show and writing a book, Dunham has just designed a sneaker, according to her “Girls” showrunner, Jenni Konner.
Kim Kardashian. in an all-white ensemble, was on hand for her work with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Kardashian talked about losing her father, Robert Kardashian, to cancer, what it means to donate and, even more, to take the time to visit and cheer up patients. “Never underestimate the power of a selfie,” she said.
Glenn Close said, “As an actress, I’ve terrified men, and I’ve certainly terrified children, but I’ve yet to terrify women. Contrary to cliché, there’s very little that frightens us.” Close gave one of the most emotional speeches of the event, talking firsthand about mental illness and how it has affected her own family. The iconic actress brought attention to her cause, Bring Change 2 Mind.
Emmy Rossum, Jennifer Morrison, Dascha Polanco, Joe Zee, Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace were also in attendance.
Charities the Variety Power of Women Honorees support:
Glenn Close – Bring Change 2 Mind
Lena Dunham – GEMS
Whoopi Goldberg – Figure Skating in Harlem
Kim Kardashian West – CHLA
Rachel Weisz – The Opportunity Network
Cobie Smulders – Oceana