After pivoting from their traditional gala format, Women in Film and 53 celebrity supporters made it work to air the organization’s first-ever virtual special Wednesday night on the CW. Eva Longoria, Alfre Woodard, Jane Fonda and Rita Moreno were among the stars who participated in the one-hour televised event, which championed women in all industries, not just Hollywood.
The variety show, titled “Make It Work” featured celebrities at home, finding creative ways to comment on the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the upcoming 2020 election.
Ahead of the broadcast Women in Film president Amy Baer explained how the organization found a way to make the show both fun and informative.
“The one thing we promised the CW that we wouldn’t do, is deliver a vitamin,” Baer told Variety. “Because I don’t think anybody wants to be lectured to about anything. Everybody’s doing the best they can to navigate the world we’re in right now.”
So that meant Women in Film board member Lake Bell opened the show from her shower, fending off calls for “Mom” while sharing the event’s message to #HireHerBack, the organization’s hiring initiative working to ensure that women have equal space in the work force as industries (including Hollywood) resume production.
“The first people to get let off in this crazy time are women. And so, this is really an opportunity to just like press a reset button,” Bell explained. “When we all come back which is soon, why not hire her back, instead of being like, ‘I know a guy,’ know a girl.”
Many stars paired up for their comedy bits. Kym Whitley and Sherri Shepherd hosted a “Drunk Video Chat” throughout the show, with the women drinking every time they remembered something crazy that happened in 2020 — like Netflix’s “Tiger King,” Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leaving the royal family and homeschooling their kids.
Kathryn Hahn and Andrea Savage hosted a “Stich n B—h” session, where they encouraged audiences to get involved politically. Cheryl Hines and Rachael Harris practiced virtual yoga while discussing pay inequality for women. “Dynasty” star Elizabeth Gillies and “Charmed’s” Sarah Jeffrey showed how to make P.P.E. stylish, rocking hand sanitizer holsters for their video, while Beanie Feldstein put all of our fears about leaving our pets at home when we go back to work into perspective. The special also incorporated actor Aimee La Joie’s viral TikTok video, a one-woman depiction of a “film crew,” into the program.
But the centerpiece of the evening was Women in Film’s “For Your Consideration” campaign. Hillary Rodham Clinton introduced the project, saying, “If you want something done. Ask a busy woman to do it. It’s a principle we’ve all seen in action, and it has never been truer than it is right now. … Women’s work powers families, communities, and entire countries.”
The initiative, which has already launched online, highlights the inequality between men and women both in hiring and payment. The creative campaign also features movie posters featuring women writers, directors, composers, producers, and actors with quotes of support from notables in entertainment like Quincy Jones, Diane Warren, Spike Lee, Sia, Ang Lee, Issa Rae and Sir Patrick Stewart.
During the broadcast, Jennifer Garner presented her longtime costumer Maria Bradley (the pair have worked together since “Alias” in 2001) “for consideration” as part of the campaign, while Cobie Smulders shouted out her “Stumptown” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” stunt double Marie Fink. Isla Fisher praised the “most brilliant hilarious comedy writer” Erica Rivinoja and Beanie Feldstein celebrated make-up artist April Townes. Margaret Cho highlighted Lorene Machado, who has directed four of Cho’s comedy specials, while Melanie Liburd saluted PA Tamika McConnaughey.