Over the course of 30 years, Glamour's Women of the Year celebration has honored dozens of female game changers, rule breakers, and boundary pushers. But the 2020 Women of the Year faced challenges we've never seen before: a pandemic that's taken the lives of more than 200,000 Americans, a historic civil rights uprising, and a vital presidential election. They selflessly put themselves on the line for the good of their communities—and the world.
This year we honored them with Glamour's first Women of the Year film. The 45-minute movie can be streamed safely at home but will give you the full WOTY experience: inspiring stories, moving speeches, and encouragement that you, too, can change the world.
Everyone from Ryan Reynolds to Gabrielle Union to Charlize Theron appears in our film to honor 2020's incredible honorees, who include the staff of NYC + Health Hospitals/Elmhurst, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, NAACP Legal Defense Fund president and director-counsel Sherrilyn Ifill, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, and actor Regina King.
Watch for yourself, below, then read our recap of the highlights.
Host Chloe x Halle’s moving intro
The sister music duo hosted the film and explained beautifully why our 2020 honorees deserve the world. “When we take a look back on 2020, we'll remember a crushing global pandemic, a fight for racial justice, a series of climate disasters, a divisive and consequential election,” Chloe said. Halle then added, “But from that darkness, a light came rising. We saw it in the ways neighbors looked out for each other in COVID-19. In the allies that showed up to be at marches and protests. In the fundraising for those who lost homes and livelihoods. In the creative solutions we came up with when life crashed in on our plans.”
“We see that light in Glamour's 2020 Women of the Year,” Chloe said. “Warriors who have been fighting for safety, equality, justice, and joy over their entire lives.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s beautiful words for the resilient staff of NYC + Health Hospitals/Elmhurst
Ocasio-Cortez, the U.S. representative for New York's 14th Congressional District—which includes Elmhurst—sat down and talked about the sacrifices the Elmhurst Hospital staff continue to make during the coronavirus pandemic. (Glamour's cover featured four Elmhurst Hospital staffers: Veronica Henry, Navdeep Kaur, R.N., Meida Sanchez, and Jasmin Moshirpur, M.D.)
“All these essential workers, they rushed into their workplaces every single day and they literally took care of our constituents,” Grace Meng, U.S. representative for New York's Sixth Congressional District—which also includes Elmhurst—said in the film, to which Ocasio-Cortez replied, “The most taxing aspect of that work is not just the physical lack of sleep they went through; it was those experiences that they will live with for the rest of their lives.”
Ocasio-Cortez added, “There were people that had to spend their final moments on earth without family, without friends…. It took such an immense amount of human compassion, human connection [to do what the Elmhurst Hospital staff did], and that was more than just giving a dose of medicine. We should be honoring them every day.”
An inspiring moment from Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
Lance Bottoms navigated Atlanta through violent social justice protests and the pandemic, going toe-to-toe with Georgia governor Brian Kemp, who challenged Atlanta's mask mandate.
“When you stand on the side of what's right, come what may. That was my approach to dealing with Governor Brian Kemp,” Lance Bottoms said in the film. “He knew we were all in danger, and he didn't care. I don't know how many of these leaders are going to be able to sleep at night knowing they didn't do all that they could do in the midst of where we are with this pandemic.”
Lance Bottoms added, “What would you do if you weren't afraid to fail? I ran for mayor, and here I am. I'd rather go down fighting than standing, being a loser.”
A poem for Breonna Taylor
Writer Camonghne Felix wrote and performed an emotional poem for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed by Louisville, Kentucky, police officers. “I wish you a bath of fresh lilies and a time-warped end where death is no final form and death is not your name,” reads a line from the poem.
Maxine Waters praising Dolores Huerta
Glamour's 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Dolores Huerta, who's spent her entire life fighting for the rights and wages of America's farmworkers. In 1962, she and Cesar Chavez cofounded the National Farmworkers Association, which ultimately became the United Farm Workers organization.
Waters, U.S. representative for California's 43rd Congressional District, said some powerful (and, yes, cheeky) words about Huerta for Glamour's WOTY film. “I wouldn't be surprised if I wake up tomorrow and find out she's arrested. She does not mind going to jail,” Waters said with a laugh.
But on a serious note, Waters said of Huerta, “We're talking about a real she-ro. Her legacy is such that it's alive and working.”
L’Oréal’s Women of Worth tribute to Maria D'Angelo, founder of the Children’s Lifesaving Foundation
Every year, Glamour and L'Oréal team up to celebrate real-life female heroes; it's in conjunction with L’Oréal's Women of Worth program, which honors 10 women every year making a difference in their communities. One of the alumnae of this program is Maria D'Angelo, who founded the Children's Lifesaving Foundation, which is transforming the lives of L.A.'s homeless and at-risk youth and families. Through summer camps, scholarships, and more, the foundation offers so many resources to help L.A.'s most vulnerable survive and thrive.
“The amazing thing is how extraordinary these children are and how successful so many of them have become,” D'Angelo said in the WOTY film.
John Legend and Ryan Reynolds singing Sherrilyn Ifill’s praises
As the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Sherrilyn Ifill does some of the most important work in the fight for racial justice. The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police made Americans more aware of the vital services the NAACP Legal Defense Fund provides. “We continue to work on issues around education and housing and criminal justice, but we are deeply engaged in issues of policing reform and representing protestors in Louisville and Philadelphia and other places around the country,” Ifill said in the WOTY film about her work.
John Legend and Ryan Reynolds, along with U.S. senator Cory Booker, spoke to Ifill's impact for our film.
“Anyone who's seen Sherrilyn Ifill on television knows that she fights for the underdog,” Legend said. “She inspires people, especially the team she leads at the LDF. She draws the very best talent to work for the cause.”
“Racial justice is fundamental to the integrity of democracy. It's time for the rest of us to take up that work,” Reynolds said. He offered some levity in a later segment, saying, “Sherrilyn is funny. Not, like, ‘funny for the leader of one of the most important organizations ever to fight democracy and advance the cause of civil rights’ funny, but, like, ‘comedy-circuit’ funny. Like ‘stand-up comedian-level’ funny. I also know her well enough to know she wishes I hadn't said that."
Charlize Theron and Gabrielle Union stanning Regina King for five solid minutes
King has been moving the needle forward for representation in Hollywood, both onscreen and off, for decades. But the industry is only now giving her her flowers. In the past five years she's taken home an Oscar and four Emmy Awards for her portrayals of several nuanced Black women. King is also the first African American female director to have an entry at the Venice Film Festival. She is the definition of an icon, and everyone knows it—including Theron and Union, who helped tribute King for Glamour's WOTY film.
“You're changing the world,” Theron said to King. “I hope you know that.” Union then added, “I am incredibly grateful for your friendship, your leadership, your sisterhood. We love you.”
Everyone at Glamour would like to extend a very special thank-you to our sponsors. Without them, Women of the Year would not be possible.
Special thanks to our presenting sponsor: L’Oréal Paris
Originally Appeared on Glamour