Allison Williams, dressed in red, celebrated International Women’s Day on Wednesday night by participating in a discussion all about female empowerment. The Keds ambassador joined fellow actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, politician Reshma Saujani and activist Shishi Rose on the Be Bold for Change panel, which was hosted by Keds and Refinery29 in New York City.
Williams, who stars in HBO’s “Girls” and the thought-provoking new horror film “Get Out,” discussed gender and racial issues in Hollywood.
“The biggest problem is the idea that the people making the decisions are disproportionately male, disproportionately old and disproportionately white,” she said. “The key is making sure that when they leave, we replace them with people that more accurately reflect the way the world looks.”
On what it takes to move forward, she holds something former first lady Michelle Obama has said to heart.
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“I remember Michelle Obama talked about when you make it, your turn around and reach back and pull someone up with you,” said Williams. “There can’t be this phenomenon of women who get off on being the only girl in the room. You have to turn around and lift other people up behind you. Not because they can’t do it themselves, but because no one else wants them to be able to do it.”
“Get Out” hits racism in America on its head, forcing people watching the movie to have an introspective conversation with themselves, and that thought process lingers after the movie ends.
For Williams, this is the type of project she wants to be part of. She describes art as having this singular ability to be communicative in a way that isn’t pedantic. “You’re not being lectured, you’re there at your own will,” she added. “I can post something on my social media about the issues that are in ‘Get Out,’ but it’s so much more powerful to be part of someone else showing a story that’s reflective of their personal experience than me lecturing people about it when I do not have that as my personal experience.”