Elle Releases “Women in Hollywood”Articles

Dana Shugrue, Online Editor

In the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, women in Hollywood have one question to answer: Where do we go from here? Recognizing that, Elle Magazine’s 2019 Women in Hollywood have traveled down new and unwavering paths. They embody what it means to have ambition and to achieve success in what Elle states is a “sea of white men.”


 In her interview with Elle, the 23-year-old actress was extremely honest about her battles with anxiety and self-doubt. When Disney’s “Shake It Up” made her a household name in 2012, Zendaya said she felt overwhelming pressure and constantly criticized her acting abilities — a mindset that finally changed when HBO’s Euphoria premiered this year. “People actually saying I did a good job at my craft… it’s like ‘Damn, I did work hard, I’m glad you see that,’” she said. “I should finally own that; it’s liberating. I feel lucky.”

Dolly Parton

 For decades, Parton has been an advocate for women’s rights, defending her music and glamorous appearance. Back in the 1970s, Elvis wanted to record her song “I Will Always Love You,” and his manager wanted half the publishing rights — she refused, she told Elle Magazine. “It was an unusual time for a girl to be demanding,” says the country singer. “I never thought of it as being a woman or a man. I thought of it as being an artist, a writer and a person of strong will.”

Nicole Kidman

 Kidman’s HBO show “Big Little Lies” has received an abundance of positive reviews. Centered around a group of five moms who team up to save their friend from a violent marriage, the show was a visual roadmap for the #MeToo Movement. As shown by their characters in “BLL,” Kidman and her co-stars, which include Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley, are advocates for gender equality in Hollywood.

Mindy Kaling

 Ever since she was hired as a co-writer for “The Office” at 24-years-old, Kaling says she felt out of place in Hollywood. However, she’s since made countless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion on studio sets, including launching her own show, “The Mindy Project” and co-producing inclusive films. “This experience is so universal,” she told Elle Magazine, “for so many women who are trying to do something that they were not trained to do, who have ambition and don’t see people like them succeeding.”

Natalie Portman

 Since Portman’s acting career began at the ripe age of 12, she’s seen numerous changes in the industry. After years of playing idealized, “cutesie” roles, the 38-year-old actress finally earned an Oscar for the twisted ballet thriller “Black Swan” in 2011. “It certainly is stifling to be the one who’s enacting someone else’s idea of how a woman should behave,” she said. Portman has found confidence in her voice, as she criticized Hollywood for sexualizing her when she was so young.

Melina Matsoukas, Lena Waithe and Jodie Turner-Smith

 Set to release next month, Waithe and Matsoukas’ “Queen and Slim” is a “Bonnie and Clyde” for the Black Lives Matter era. The film’s directors and starlet, Turner-Smith, hope to bring attention to black female voices in Hollywood. “You have to work twice as hard to have half as much. Do you know what I mean?” says Turner-Smith. “There’s constantly a different standard we as black people hold ourselves to, and hold each other to, in a way that can be oppressive.”

Gwyneth Paltrow

 In recent years, Paltrow starred in Netflix’s “The Politician,” a dark comedy about class, privilege and undying ambition. Although she was wary of the project at first, the 47-year-old  mom of three eventually agreed to be a part of it. Although she’s a busy woman, Paltrow’s dear friend Cameron Diaz claims she’s “capable of doing 4 million things at once.” In regard to climbing the Hollywood ranks, Paltrow says “In the ‘90s, when I was coming up, it was a very male-dominated field, you used to hear ‘that actress is so ambitious,’ like it was a dirty word. My ambition has been unleashed.”

Scarlett Johansson

This year, the 34-year-old actress was named Forbes’ highest paid actress for the second year in a row, as her earnings reached over $56 million. Amidst her vast success, most people don’t recognize the hardships she’s experienced over the years, especially the encounters she’s had with divorce. “I’m certainly, obviously, very happy and fulfilled in my personal life,” says Johansson, “but I’m also a sum of many parts of my story and how I got here. It’s all valuable.”

Each of Elle’s Women in Hollywood has overcome some type of struggle in the film industry. In the years following the #MeToo Movement, all 10 women will ensure that progress is made and change continues to occur.

Editor’s Note: Information from Elle Magazine was used in this article.