You are an award-winning actress, writer, and producer, who has been a longtime women-in-film activist. What issues have you seen and experienced as a woman in Hollywood?
Ha! Well, it took me an entire book to begin to adequately answer that question. The short version, however, is that Hollywood has systematically excluded women and women’s voices from cinema for the better part of a century. Consider this: if you have watched primarily mainstream US movies in your lifetime, 95% of all the films you have ever seen were directed by men (overwhelmingly white men); 80-90% of all of the leading characters you have ever seen on screen were men (overwhelmingly white men); and 55% of the time you have seen a woman on screen, she was naked or scantily clad.
Today we revisit three women I've featured previously on Next Act for Women: Marla, who has pivoted from running a nonprofit to coaching for weight loss; Margaret, who published her first book about depression; Densie, who has published a second novel and just signed a contract for her third.
After transitions from attorney to stay-at-home mom to Pilates instructor, Colleen reinvented once again. She now co-hosts the podcast Hot Flashes & Cool Topics, which seeks to give a voice to women in midlife and beyond. She wants to create a series of conversations centered around topics women of a certain age can relate to, learn from, and share.
When you work with women in midlife and beyond, what are the biggest issues you see in your practice?
One of the biggest things I have seen with this age group is mothers who feel lost when their children grow older. They were very involved in their roles as mothers and wives, which is beautiful, but often they have lost themselves in the process.
When her husband abandoned Wendy with three young children, Wendy became a construction safety manager to support her family, then finally had the chance, in her 50s, to pursue her dream career as a writer and editor after meeting her now-husband and moving to the South.
Diane was 35 when her 3-year old daughter was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. When Mallory died at 25, she asked her mother to publish her memoir. Diane has made it her mission to preserve her daughter’s legacy by traveling around the country to spread Mal’s wonderful insights on love, life, and chronic illness. (more…)