That evening, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel, I marveled at the wonder that is the 'red carpet.' I was amazed that everyone knew my name. Someone asked me if I was wearing MaxMara. Someone yelled, "Nia! Over here!" The flashing lights were dizzying, and I was transported to another world. The red carpet was an adrenaline rush, thrill ride. I see how addictive it can become. It's a new kind of scary fun that I think I like.
The 2009 Crystal + Lucy Awards proved to be a huge milestone for me. I was recognized for my participation in the Women In Film Mentor Program, with talented director Catherine Hardwicke. My mentor, Catherine Hardwicke, was honored with The Dorothy Arzner Director's Award. Dorothy Arzner (http://www.cinema.ucla.edu/collections/Profiles/arzner.html) was the first woman inducted into the Director's Guild of America. Along with this, actress Jennifer Aniston was recognized with the Crystal Award for her efforts to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry. Holly Hunter received the Lucy Award, named for innovator Lucille Ball, for her accomplishments in television and film. Cinematographer Petra Korner received The Kodak Vision Award for excellence in a field hugely dominated by men. And, Elizabeth Banks (one of my favorite actresses) was recognized as The MaxMara Face of the Future.
I was in the company of greatness. I joined Women In Film because I wholeheartedly believe in the mission of providing opportunities for women to excel in an industry dominated by men on all levels; creative, technical, executive, etc. Sitting at my table, I could not help but feel pride for not only the women being honored that night, but the women who made such a night possible and the women who are inspired by them all.I enjoyed watching the showcases of each honorees' work, and hearing professional colleagues reflect on their hard work and dedication. Each woman emanated poise, persistance, and most importantly, purposeful drive. Film, television, and all media is ameliorated by women like these.
The mission of Women In Film is to help women achieve their highest potential within the global entertainment, communications and media industries and to preserve the legacy of women within those industries. I'm a major part of that mission. I'm on my way to create films, and other entertainment media, that push the envelope and shift the paradigm for the entertainment industry. I may have lofty goals, but I'm in the company of women who've proven to the world that women are a source of greatness, and that lofty goals are simply reality waiting on my hard work to nurture it to unfold.
My favorite part of the evening was not when I was onstage, (which is running a close second) being introduced by Chelsea Handler, (who I think is one of the funniest, classiest women on television; yes, I said classy) nor was it when I was backstage standing next to Jodie Foster, (who is just amazing!) but when Debbie Allen, Piper Laurie, and Lupe Ontiveros were honored onstage. These phenomenal women have careers that span decades, and they were inducted into the Legacy Series. They inspired me the most.It was a wonderful night, and as I left, so many people stopped and told me I was amazing onstage, and congratulated me on my recognition. It took me a while to realize that everyone was impressed by me. At first, it felt as if they were speaking about someone else. As if it was a message for me to relay to a friend. But, then my date for the evening, (and friend) said to me, "It's just like you said to me: accept it." I do accept it, and I use it as my fuel to continue pushing forward to BE and DO great things.