New York - Glamour Magazine hosted its 16thAnnualWomen of the Year Awards last night at Lincoln Center`s Avery Fisher Hall. Among this year`s honorees were: Melissa Etheridge, Christiane Amanpour, Petra Nemcova and Diane Von Furstenberg.
And while some may criticize the idea of an all women`s awards ceremony as more homogenizing than recognizing, the evening was a truly memorable and heartfelt affair filled with laughter, tears and powerful stories of inspiration.
The night began like all other award ceremonies: eager fans, beautiful people and a boatload of reporters. Photographers swarmed around honorees Catherine Zeta Jones and Goldie Hawn as they exchanged hugs on the red carpet while other attendees such as Hilary Duff, Thandie Newton and Nia Long stopped to strike a pose before they sashayed into the theater.
Inside, monumental floral arrangements towered among guests as they sipped on champagne and made small talk before pouring into Avery Fisher Hall to hear Mary J. Blige and the New Orleans Children`s Chorus give an amazing kick-off performance at the start of the show.
One of the evening`s most memorable moments included Brooke Shields` introduction speech of honoree Mukhtar Mai. To punish her brother for a crime he never committed, Mai was brutally gang-raped by four men in her Pakistani village. Her community of friends and family expected her to commit suicide from the resulting shame, but Mai shocked her entire country when she reported the rape and faced her assaulters in a trial. Mai became an instant global icon to women worldwide and was recognized for her courage last night with Glamour`s "Bravest Woman in the World" award.
"My motto is `end oppression with education`-that is the only way," stated Mai`s translator in her acceptance speech. Dressed in a flowing white burka, Mai`s words radiated with wisdom and strength that were met by the audience`s riotous applause.
Goldie`s Hawn`s humorous acceptance speech lightened the mood as she explained stories from her childhood and her unsuccessful career as a dancer.
"My sister would always ask, `What is Goldie going to do with her life? She`s not even good at school!" Hawn`s lighthearted words were matched by her fun and youthful ensemble which included a white baby doll tank top and bootcut black pants.
The show`s only downfall was when Marisa Tomei took the stage to introduce honoree Diane von Furstenberg. Looking pretty in a glittering black DVF dress, Tomei`s aloof and unstable demeanor was like witnessing a watered-down repeat of Sharon Stone`s stage presence on a bad day. Nonetheless, Von Furstenberg won back the audience`s attention with her witty remark that "in my company, men drive or clean" (to which the audience responded with cheers from the ladies and some grunts from the men).
The ceremony also paid tribute to the life of Rosa Parks and a moment of silence to honor the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
For one moment, glamorous stars, political leaders and everyday heroes joined together to share, support and celebrate one another and women all over the world.