The past, present and future collided at the red-carpet premiere of the PBS documentary "MAKERS: Women Who Make America" at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall on Wednesday evening.
A veritable who's who of female celebs, industry leaders and pioneers of the woman's movement came out to support the documentary, which is narrated by Meryl Streep and tells an oral history of women's activism from the 1950s onward. The stories continue on makers.com, which features videos about "makers—" influential and trailblazing women from the past and today such as Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.
Guests included "makers" Gloria Steinem, Katie Couric and Marlo Thomas in addition to Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, actress Kyra Sedgwick, young fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson and Girls star Allison Williams. Emmy-winning director/producer Diane English; Filmmakers Dyllan McGee & Betsy West; AOL CEO Tim Armstrong; Maureen Sullivan, SVP & General Manager, Women's Content & Lifestyle Brands, AOL; PBS President/CEO Paula Kerger, Unilever North America EVP of Personal Care Gina Boswell; with additional guests Diahann Carroll, Tovah Feldshuh, Bonnie Fuller, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Rupa Mikkilineni, America Olivo, Joe Pantoliano, Kyra Sedgwick, Lara Spencer, and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
Steinem told Examiner.com the documentary was too important not to get involved in. "We need to know the history of the country and we don't. Women of all races have largely been left out, many groups of men too," she said. "It's not possible to feel empowered if you don't see yourself in history and it's not possible to make reasonable, rational decisions if you're behaving as if only five percent of the country matters."
For Williams, the event brought everything full circle. "In indirect and direct ways, Gloria Steinem has been an incredible influence on my life and the fact that I just met her is completely insane," she told us on the red carpet. "I'm completely starstruck."
For 16-year-old Gevinson, it was also a dream come true. Gevinson posed with Williams and Steinem while wearing a "Gloria" name necklace, a subtle tribute to her idol.
After a short cocktail hour, guests headed into the theater to watch the first hour of the three-hour documentary. The film discussed the origins of the modern women's movement and highlighted what it was like for women in the '50s. "As each girl got engaged in my class, everybody would raise their hands and you could see the diamond ring," said author Judy Blume. "That's what it was about— the ring, the silver pattern, the china."
Following the screening, guests headed to the lobby for a buffet dinner of salmon, mashed potatoes and pasta.
It was a night of inspiration and empowerment and everybody was feeling it.
"I don't think we understand the influence that we can have and the social change that we can be responsible for," said Sedgwick. "Women's issues are everybody's issues, and if we can band together and realize our power, I think we change the world."
Makers premieres on PBS on February 26th.
Additional reporting by Alexandra Finkel