After a year of women in Hollywood speaking out on gender equality, who better to open the industry’s most important annual gathering of “power bitches” (her words) than Lena Dunham?
“I want to thank all of you for so brilliantly and stylishly cleaning up the mess that Hollywood has made of equality and diversity,” said Dunham. “After all, isn’t that historically what women have been asked to do? Clean up messes that don’t belong to them and that they’re not responsible for?”
The Girls co-creator and star and the woman behind feminist newsletter Lenny made the trek to Milk Studios in Hollywood for The Hollywood Reporter’s annual breakfast event honoring the industry’s 100 most influential women — a power list THR president and chief creative officer Janice Min opted not to rank for the first time in 23 years, citing its increasing divisiveness: “The list … by its nature, pits the town’s most impressive females against one another.”
The room was anything but contentious. In fact, the two-plus-hour celebration elicited more than a few tears as veteran publicist Nanci Ryder, now rendered unable to speak from ALS, gave a moving speech through her friend and Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. Keynote speaker and Über-philanthropist Melinda Gates wowed the crowd by urging Hollywood women to “project a world where everyone is valued equally.” And then there was honoree Barbra Streisand, who shared her long-gestating theory on why men are afraid of women. (She says it goes back to the dawn of time, when men first saw women give birth.)
But before all that, Dunham – who told the Cut she was “thrilled and honored” to speak at the event – opened the show. See her entire perfectly on-point and funny speech here.