Variety‘s Power of Women issue celebrates the importance of giving back — no matter what obstacles you face. And this year’s slate of honorees do that with grace, dignity and guts.
Elizabeth Olsen, who inhabits the character of Marvel’s most complicated superheroine, has, for six years, spent her off-hours volunteering at Stuart House, a program that helps children and teens who have been sexually abused. Malala Yousafzai, the education activist who remains the youngest Nobel laureate, is making a parallel journey from nonprofit work to entertainment. With her new production company, Extracurricular, she also wants to shine a spotlight on the Pillars Artist Fellowship, which supports Muslim directors and screenwriters.
Yousafzai’s story proves that the arts can be an important staging ground for cultural change. That’s no surprise to Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay, who made a radical decision in 2016. With their drama “Queen Sugar,” created by DuVernay for the Oprah Winfrey Network, they have hired only women directors. Seven seasons later, they’ve boosted the careers of 39 talented storytellers who had never directed television before. We’re excited to share some of those directors’ stories with you. Two other TV newbies in this issue: Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, whose HiddenLight Productions is behind “Gutsy,” a docuseries that tells the stories of feminist icons. Mother and daughter share their own hard-won insights onscreen, and now in conversation with Variety.
We also salute the industry change-makers on our Impact List, and we invite you to follow along on Variety.com to see our coverage of our Power of Women dinner in Los Angeles as it unfolds on Sept. 28, when these dynamic honorees meet to create change. —Ramin Setoodeh