Elle Women in TV 2016
Last night I had the incredible honor of being invited to the Elle Women in TV 2016 dinner. This is such a beautiful event because it honors women in Hollywood who are making a difference in television and acknowledges their achievements.
I was a guest on behalf of Hearts on Fire, an incredible jewelry company who sponsored the event along with Olay. They decked me out in some absolutely amazing diamonds and all I can say is that I felt like a princess. I mean seriously, diamonds really are a girls best friend! Don’t forget to check out my post on going to the Golden Globes with Hearts on Fire as well.
After being asked to go, I decided that I wanted to do a blog post about the event and instead of just showing you all pictures and BTS, I wanted to share something about these beautiful women that you won’t find anywhere else. It led me to go up to many of the women at the event and ask about what obstacles these female powerhouses have had to overcome and what advice they have for you all when it comes to keeping your motivation when life gets tough. I find this topic so interesting because we all go through struggles in our life and I want to know what hurdles these celebrities have dealt with to get to where they are. What secrets and knowledge do they have that would help you? So, I got to asking…
One of the most interesting things that I took away from asking the questions was the reoccurring theme of staying true to your passion and having a good support system. But read on to learn what Malin Ackerman, Karen David, and Joy Bryant have dealt with in their life and what advice they have for you.
Advice from the stars
The questions I asked where:
What is the biggest obstacle you have faced in your life and how did you overcome it?
What piece of advice do you have for others who are struggling in their careers?
What is your most proud moment?
Samira Wiley, actress, Orange is the New Black
- Biggest obstacle: After graduating high school and applying to every possible acting program in New York, she was turned down from every single one. She ended up going to an acting school in Arizona where one of her teachers told her that she had real talent and needed to aim higher, but she was feeling vulnerable and didn’t want to go through the shame of rejection all over again. It was her ego speaking to her, saying that she couldn’t. She ended up auditioning for Juilliard and received a callback. Her biggest challenge was not letting her inner voice tell her that she couldn’t and she overcame this by remember who she was, why she wanted to act, and gaining strength from putting herself out there. As she puts it “I did what I thought was impossible” and she is now on a hit TV show with offers coming in.
- Biggest piece of advice: Stick with your passion and remember the internal fire that drives your. Trying to do something for others or “being cool” will never give you the success you want but remaining authentic will.
- Most proud moment: “Never giving up on what I thought my life could or should look like in regards to romantic love.”
Malin Akerman, actress, Billions
- Biggest obstacle: Even though she is an A-lister, she still faces jobs she is not a right fit for and gets the ‘No’s.’ Malin explained that her biggest obstacle is to continue doing what she does and to stay passionate when she doesn’t get the jobs she wants or isn’t the right fit.
- Biggest piece of advice: Have a good support system whether it’s friends or family, to get you through the bad days which everyone has.
- Most proud moment: Being a mother to her three year old son.
- Biggest obstacle: Karen’s parents gave up everything they had to create a good family life for Karen and her sister, immigrating from India to the UK with only $20 in their bank account and raising two daughters in a studio apartment, although they both are highly educated people. They supported her in everything she did and wanting to be an actress by paying for classes and taking her on castings although they had very little money. She said that after auditioning for four pilot seasons and getting rejected, her biggest obstacle was to keep going and believing in herself because of what her parents went through in life.
- Biggest piece of advice: Remember why you are doing what you are doing, what your childhood dreams are and to allow your drive and ambition to be empowering.
- Most proud moment: Finally booking a US based tv show (Galavant) after four years of auditioning and being able to show her parents what their support did for her.
Joy Bryant, model and actress, Parenthood
- Biggest obstacle: Joy was supposed to be a statistic as she told me. She grew up in the Bronx with her grandmother, on welfare and not having a big chance of succeeding in her dreams. She overcame this by going to night programs and a minority outreach school, which later led to her being accepted to Yale on a full academic scholarship. She credits her grandmother’s support to overcoming such a challenging life.
- Biggest piece of advice: Believe in yourself and have trust, and live through the doubt that we all have.
- Most proud moment: Being accepted to Yale.
Ilaria Lanzoni, director of design, Hearts on Fire
- Biggest obstacle: Once she began designing for Hearts on Fire, she was asked to do videos and give interviews about her creations and where her inspiration came from. She was asked to express herself in the media, rather than just through what she designed and this was a her biggest challenge as she says she’s very shy and has never felt fully fluent in English. She learned to treat these media appearances almost like an actress would, going into a character that was not afraid. Little by little she began believing in herself and has learned to overcome the challenges faced of being camera-shy.
- Biggest piece of advice: Never give up on your dreams!
- Most proud moment: What she has done with her job and the creations she has made for Hearts on Fire.
Abigail Spencer (left), actress, Cowboys & Aliens, This is Where I Leave You
- Biggest obstacle: Having a thriving career and raising a son at the same time. She said that it’s all about balance and now that she’s figured it out she doesn’t have to comprise as much because she knows what she wants and has a better life because of it.
- Biggest piece of advice: Find balance in your life and do what you love.
- Most proud moment: Having a child and still being able to do what she loves every day.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (right), actress and singer, The Ring 2
- Biggest obstacle: Learning to overcome trying to please everyone else and instead focusing on what she truly wanted in life. It took Mary a while to truly understand that listening to her inner voice would allow her to succeed in everything she wanted, but it didn’t happen overnight.
- Biggest piece of advice: Don’t try to please anyone but yourself in life and listen to your own inner voice.
- Most proud moment: Celebrating everyday because these are the moments that will make life beautiful.
I’m so inspired to share all of these beautiful women with you and what they have had to overcome in their lives to become who they are today. I hope to continue being able to share more stories like this with you all. I personally loved hearing the stories of Karen and how humble she is towards her success and how big of a part of family was for her, Ilaria’s struggle to overcome shyness and how open and friendly she was with me, and Mary Elizabeth’s story of believing in herself. It’s such a beautiful thing when women are able to share their struggles in life and how they overcame them in order to help others. This is a lot of why I do what I do, purely to share my personal stories and hopefully help at least one person overcome a struggle in their life.
My question to you: If you could meet any celebrity (or anyone at all for that matter!) and ask one question- what would it be? Share below!
Hope you all enjoyed the behind-the-scenes photos as well! What a cool event…hope to be back next year! And thanks again to the absolutely beautiful jewelry company Hearts on Fire for making me feel so beautiful with their diamonds!
Tons of love, Nikki