On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, six hundred girls and women gathered at the legendary Avalon Hollywood for a star-studded and inspiring celebration of fierce women.
The Women’s Choice Award Show was a timely and important event to honor the incredible accomplishments women have made on humanity and to inspire the future generation of women to remember that they can be anything they want to be.
Grammy nominated recording artist and Broadway star Deborah Cox served as the Women’s Choice Award Show Special Correspondent. Deborah interviewed the honorees, nominees and celebrity guests on the purple carpet as they shared their wisdom about the female experience.
EMMY award winning veteran television journalist and personality Meredith Vieira hosted the show which opened with a rousing performance of “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” by powerhouse Grammy award winning vocalist Judith Hill supported by Angie Swan on guitar.
Partygoers were dancing and singing along to the feminist anthem.
Actor and activist Emmanuelle Chriqui; “Grey’s Anatomy” star Marika Dominczyk, comedian and EMMY nominated talk show host Loni Love and Emmy nominated actor Sherri Saum presented the Voice of Women Award. Media critic Jennifer Pozner was announced the winner of the fan voted Voice of Women Award. Jennifer spoke about her work as a media activist for the last twenty years and how she uses her platform to a give voice to women and people of color. Jennifer reminded guests that a free press is vital to maintaining a truly free and democratic society.
Women’s Choice Award CEO Delia Passi spoke about her lifelong commitment to women’s issues and how her daughters inspired her to become a champion for girls and women.
Actor Violett Beane; actor Edwin Hodge; and the founder of IT Cosmetics Jamie Kern Lima presented the Shero Award. Edwin took a moment onstage to recognize his Shero, Yolette Hodge, who as a single Mom made countless sacrifices over the years for their family. He then asked all of the Moms to stand and be recognized in an emotional tribute to the amazing contributions of Moms everywhere.
In an exciting twist, it was a tie and the fans voted two remarkable women as Shero Award winners. Retired U.S. Air Force colonel, flight surgeon and astronaut Dr. Yvonne Cagle and Alicia Garza, the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the co-founder of Black Lives Matter were presented with the 2017 Shero Award.
Freedom dreamer Alicia Garza spoke about the important work that the National Domestic Workers Alliance does to provide dignity and justice for the two million domestic workers in the United States who care for the people we care about the most.
Dr. Yvonne Cagle shared that hearing “you can’t” throughout her life inspired her to realize that the word impossible is really “I’m Possible.” When she listened to her inner voice reminding her that she can, she said it was then that she was able to soar to new heights literally as an astronaut and in all other areas of her life.
Six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman, Grammy nominated recording artist, songwriter and actress Taylor Dayne and EMMY nominated talk show host Jeannie Mai presented the Spotlight Award. Olympic gold medalist ice dancer Meryl Davis was announced as the Spotlight Award winner for her work with the non-profit Figure Skating In Detroit, which teaches figure skating and life skills to at risk girls. Meryl dedicated the award to her Mom, who she said has been a constant supporter of hers throughout her life. Meryl acknowledged how lucky she is to have a loving and encouraging Mom who nurtured and supported her dreams and how she realizes that not every girl is as fortunate. Meryl reminded guests how important it is for girls to have positive role models and mentors that support them in the pursuit of their dreams.
Emmy award winning and Grammy award winning comedian Kathy Griffin delivered a hilarious and heartfelt tribute to her friend, Oscar nominated actress, producer, director, writer and humanitarian Sharon Stone who was being honored with the Icon Award for her lifetime achievement in film and passionate activism to make the world a better place. Kathy referred to her close friend Sharon as “Stoney” and shared how Sharon’s activism has made a monumental difference in the lives of women and the LGBTQ community.
Sharon received a standing ovation as she made her way to the stage to accept her award. Sharon revealed how her Mom became a maid at just nine years old and had to fight to be respected throughout her life. As a child, she saw through her Mother’s life, how unfair it is that girls and women have to work so much harder to prove their worth and have access to the same opportunities as boys and men. Sharon said her Mom instilled in her what it means to “stand on your own two goddam feet” and that she hopes someday soon a woman will be elected to lead our great country. Sharon ended her emotional and powerful speech with a tribute to all of the trailblazing women that have come before us who have worked hard to break through the glass ceiling and pave the wave for the next generation of women.
Mattel shared a moving video that asks girls to imagine the possibilities when just like Barbie, they can be anything they want to be. Alexis Jones, the Co-Founder of I Am That Girl, shared the important work her non-profit organization does to help foster confidence and self-esteem in middle, high school and college aged girls. Hailey Allen reflected on how the I Am That Girl community transformed her life at a time when she was battling illness and issues of self-worth. She shared I Am That Girl’s vision to create an app that would make digital bullying a thing of the past.
GRAMMY Award-winning producer and television personality Randy Jackson made a special appearance to tell boys and men that they have a responsibility to be champions and allies of girls and women. Randy led the partygoers in a rocking chant of the “The Future is Female” before introducing Grammy award winning recording artist and humanitarian Mya who performed her female empowerment anthem “Unbreakable.”
Nominees and celebrities who attended to support the event included: Alano Miller, Alison Sweeney, Amy Purdy, Angell Conwell, Ashley Roberts, BC Jean, Beth Hall, Beth Riesgraf, Brett Dalton, Brian Austin Green, Brian White, Briana Evigan, Brittany Packnett, Brooke Burke-Charvet, Carmen Perez, Carmit Bachar, Carson Kressley, Deondra Brown, DeWanda Wise, Dr. Knatokie Ford, Edyta Sliwinska, Elvy Yost, Elliott Yamin, Eric Benet, Erin Cahill, Gabrielle Dennis, Georgie Smith, Jen Lilley, Jill Whelan, Jillian Rose Reed, Julie Stewart-Binks, Kara Holden, Keesha Sharp, Keltie Knight, Kearran Giovanni, Kym Herjavec, Manuela Testolini, Meagan Tandy, Melody Brown, Nura Afia, R&B group KING, Ryan Devlin, Sabrina Bryan, Sarah Carter, Shayna Taylor, Tara Buck, Tery Lopez and Vanessa Marano.
The Women’s Choice Award Show was proud to include the non-profit I Am That Girl as the cause partner for this very special event. Sarah Wilbur, Chinmayee Balachandra, Shana Kheradyar and Lauren Suthers from the global I Am That Girl community were onstage to present the awards to Women’s Choice Award Show winners. The Women’s Choice Award Show was proud to host two hundred girls from local I Am That Girl chapters and Los Angles middle schools, high schools and universities at the event. TrueCar provided a live feed of the awards and live social media feed to engage young girls in the balcony in real time at the awards. Voortman Cookies and Werther’s Originals provided snacks for guests and Love Swirls treated everyone to their organic cotton candy.
DJ Kid Fish performed at the event and guests enjoyed a gourmet three course dinner during the awards. The cocktail hour in Bardot featured a Kendra Scott jewelry bar with 100% of the proceeds donated to I Am That Girl. Guests took fabulous photos in the Luster Premium White photo booth and enjoyed a popcorn bar hosted by Wise Foods. Partygoers enjoyed custom themed cocktails with Exodo Tequila and Gypsy Vodka, fine wines by Santa Margherita Wines and refreshing hydration by Coco Libre.
The Women’s Choice Award Show is proud to have the generous support of lifestyle and consumer brands including CAO Cosmetics, Chloe & Isabel, Coco Libre, Exodo Tequila, Family Share, Gypsy Vodka, HoMedics, IT Cosmetics, Kaiser Permanente, Kendra Scott, Love Swirls, Luster Premium White, Mattel, NetworkBe, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Paul Mitchell The School of Pasadena, Princess Cruises, Red Heart Yarn, Ricola, Santa Margherita Wines, Serta, Speedo, Team Lally, TrueCar, Vera Bradley, Voortman Cookies, Werther’s Original and Wise Foods.