In a truly triumphant and well-earned accolade, the dazzling Ariana DeBose and the indomitable America Ferrera have been bestowed the title of “Women of the Year” by Glamour UK. This prestigious recognition celebrates their extraordinary contributions to the entertainment industry and their steadfast commitment to advocating for social change.
These two powerhouse women have not only shattered glass ceilings but have also leveraged their influence to uplift and inspire countless others. Their impact resonates far beyond the entertainment realm, echoing throughout the broader sphere of social justice.
In 2022, Ariana etched her name in the annals of history by becoming the first queer woman of color to clinch an Academy Award. Seizing this momentous occasion, she penned an insightful essay on the importance of her activism and the transformative power of using her platform and performances to effect real change.
“If I am the first of anything, it means I will not be the last,” she mused. “This realization struck me at one of the numerous award ceremonies I had the honor of attending in 2022, and it has since become the guiding principle of my career. I hope my performances in films and on stage have helped dismantle stereotypes and promote more authentic storytelling. I see it all as a testament to the fact that change is within our grasp, and we must continue to strive for it.”
The star revealed that advocacy provided her with a sense of purpose. “Advocacy is grounding; it’s nourishing and rewarding. You don’t have to be a public figure with a significant social media following to make a difference – you just have to care. Make an effort. Show up. A whisper can evolve into a rallying cry, a ripple can swell into a tidal wave of change, and one person standing up for what’s right can ignite a movement. Anyone can be a game-changer,” the Latina actress confidently asserted.
America Ferrera, a celebrated actress, producer, and director, is also the co-founder of two non-profit organizations, Harness and Poderistas, both aimed at fostering social change. In an essay, America elucidates how she has harmoniously blended her dual passions to effect positive societal change.
“As a five-year-old, I announced to my mother that I wanted to be both an actress and a human rights lawyer when I grew up. While my passions were already clear in kindergarten, it wasn’t until much later – deep into my acting career – that I truly understood how these two ambitions could synergize: how I could leverage my platform to amplify the causes I care about and use the power of storytelling to positively impact people’s lives,” she wrote, adding,
“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to fight injustice to incite change in this world.”
“In early 2001, when I had just turned 17, I landed the opportunity to kickstart my acting career with two movies back-to-back. It was a dream that no one ever thought was possible for me. But I had always believed in myself, because my mother had instilled in me the belief that in the United States of America, being a poor, short, brown, fat, daughter of immigrants did not preclude my dreams,” the star said. “If anything, it made me an underdog, and there’s nothing America loves more than a good underdog story. I was determined to carve out a career in an industry that didn’t reflect people like me. I refused to be deterred.”
America also shed light on her fight for democracy. “In January 2017 – shortly after Trump’s election – I spoke at the Women’s March in Washington DC about protecting the rights of women and immigrants and the importance of defending our freedoms and democracy. That election was a watershed moment for many of us, and like so many others, I was propelled into greater action. Alongside my husband, actor, writer, and director Ryan Piers Williams, and our friend, actor Wilmer Valderrama, we founded Harness – a non-profit organization that fosters community among artists, activists, and culture-makers collaborating to create a more just future through art, influence, and action. I feel deeply grateful and proud to be a co-founder.”