By Heidi Stevens
Their life stories are miles, both literal and figurative, apart. But the story they collectively told at the recent Monday night awards event was one of unity and optimism.
Glamour magazine feted 10 honorees at the annual Women of the Year awards at Carnegie Hall: activist Chelsea Clinton, actress Laverne Cox, “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts, fashion designer Sarah Burton (she created Kate Middleton’s wedding gown), “The Mindy Project’s” Mindy Kaling, Russian model Natalia Vodianova, United Nations ambassador Samantha Power, deep sea explorer Sylvia Earle, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and, in a move that technically bumps the number of winners up to “countless,” “every girl, everywhere, who defies the odds to go to school.”
In the house to celebrate the winners: comedian Stephen Colbert, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, director Shonda Rhimes, actress Jodie Foster, actor Bruce Willis and Huffington Post creator Arianna Huffington, among others.
Notably absent: pessimism, passivity and a willingness to accept the status quo.
“I didn’t know I could care more about (women’s rights) until I became a mother of a daughter,” Chelsea Clinton told the packed auditorium, noting it was her first night out since giving birth to baby Charlotte in late September. “I want Charlotte to grow up to be whatever she dreams to be, wherever she dreams to be it and however she chooses to become it. And that’s not the world we live in today. And so for Charlotte, for the girls up in the rafters, for girls everywhere, I’m going to continue to push forward.”
Clinton, 34, was honored for the launch of her “No Ceilings” project, an initiative she created through the Clinton Foundation to advance the full participation of women and girls around the world, as well as her work in Africa, notably the championing of a fertilizer initiative to improve crop outputs and her work to lower the cost of diarrhea treatments, which is projected to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. “Chelsea’s family history is the least impressive thing about her,” U2’s Bono said in a video tribute.