For the first time ever, Variety invited audiences “On the Carpet” to take in all the action live on Facebook as Power of Women honorees Channing Dungey, Amanda Gorman, Lorde, Rita Moreno and Katy Perry arrived for the annual celebration.
Three hundred people gathered for the glamorous outdoor event on Thursday night in Los Angeles. All eyes were on the star-studded arrivals, as presenter Angelina Jolie and her 16-year-old daughter Zahara posed with Gorman while Gayle King greeted her friend Perry, who chose a glamorous gown for her interpretation of “business cocktail.”
The carpet interviews presented a true mix of powerful and playful moments.
Take Dungey, for example. The history-making executive — who was the first woman to be named Warner Bros. TV Group chairman, after she’d already become the first Black woman to serve as entertainment president of a Big Three network (at ABC from 2016 to 2018) — shared some important advice for audiences aspiring to also break barriers.
“Own your voice and take up your space in the room,” Dungey said, before joining this Variety reporter for a bit of karaoke — singing an a capella rendition of Perry’s anthem “Firework.” Who’s to say that you can’t boss up and let your hair down at the exact same time?
Here are highlights from “On the Carpet” powered by Facebook at Variety Power of Women presented by Lifetime:
Rita Moreno Is 89 and “Feeling Fine”
Moreno was the first Power of Women honoree to hit the silver carpet and, with her “One Day at a Time” compatriots Justina Machado and Gloria Calderón Kellett on hand to toast to her, the legendary entertainer was feeling the love.
“This is like a Rita Moreno year,” Moreno explained. “I’ve had so many wonderful accolades, acknowledgments and recognitions and I’m not blasé.”
Moreno was also thrilled to see her Variety magazine cover for the first time, revealing that she was particularly partial to the photos where she donned a black top hat, showing off her flair for the dramatic.
The EGOT winner turns 90 in December, just in time for the premiere of Steven Spielberg’s revival of “West Side Story,” in which Moreno stars and executive produced.
“You’re in for the treat of your life,” Moreno said of the film. “It’s so wonderful speaking about this movie before it comes out knowing that people are going to go crazy for it.”
And, though the saying goes, “You never ask a woman her age,” Moreno would prefer to have hers recognized. When this red carpet reporter seemed to gloss over the milestone number, the actor quipped, “You didn’t even react to that for chrissakes. 90, woman!”
But, as Moreno proves every time she’s on screen, age ain’t nothing but a number.
Channing Dungey’s Advice to Women Entrepreneurs
Before there were Power of Women summits and #girlboss memes, Dungey was there, working hard and pushing toward greatness. Her name is synonymous with excellence in Hollywood because she worked hard to make it that way. And when you have the chance to ask the ace in the executive suite for a piece of advice, you take it.
We asked Power of Women honoree Dungey what her words of wisdom were for women in the corporate world. “Own your voice and take up your space in the room,” Dungey said. She then shared a story about how, in her early days in the workplace, she used to remove herself from the conference table whenever a senior executive entered the room. Her mentor Lucy Fisher told her to stop, “You don’t get up,” she recalled. “You stay in your seat. If they want to have a seat at that table, they need to get to the meeting on time.” This moment let Dungey know that she deserved to be in the room and to own that space.
Gayle King and Garcelle Beauvais Get Real
When King, who presented to her friend Perry, took the Variety microphone for her red carpet moment, the “CBS This Morning” anchor spontaneously burst into song, crooning Perry’s hit “Firework” into the camera much like Dungey had done before her. Then, in the midst of saying she wanted to speak with Lorde, King spotted her old friend Beauvais, and in the most “live TV” moment of the carpet, the journalist pulled Beauvais into the conversation.
“Are you having fun?” King asked Beauvais, who stars on both Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and the syndicated daytime talk show “The Real.”
“I’m having fun sometimes,” Beauvais told King. “It’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
“I was wondering about that,” King said as Beauvais promised they’d discuss it over cocktails.
King then pranced away, saying, “I don’t want to talk with the microphone!”
Beauvais slid in to talk about the joys of the in-person event, saying she hadn’t seen King since before the pandemic. But the question for “Housewives” fans is: Which show was Beauvais talking about when she said it was “the hardest thing she’d ever done?”
How Music Brought Lorde and Hunter Schafer Together
As “Euphoria” fans will know, Hunter Schafer was such a big fan of Lorde’s music that she wrote the pop star’s track “Liability” into the opening sequence for her standalone episode of the show. Cut to a few months later, when Schafer attended the Power of Women event to present an award to her musical idol.
On the carpet, the actor, model and LGBTQ activist revealed that the pair met for the first time just a few weeks prior, when they attended the Met Gala (where coincidentally Gorman served as the co-chair).
“It was so sweet because we had emailed before about the episode and getting that song in, so I feel like it’s been a long time coming,” Schafer said, recounting that face-to-face conversation.
Lorde echoed that sentiment, sharing how lucky she felt to be surrounded by so many amazing women at the event, including Schafer. “[Hunter’s] just the best. I’ve been such a big fan of her forever. She told me she went to a show of mine I think when we were both 16, maybe she was 15.”
When introducing the New Zealand-born pop star (also known as Ella Yelich-O’Connor) onstage, Schafer explained how Lorde’s debut song, “Royals,” and album “Pure Heroine” influenced her. “For so many young people like me, it felt like we had been found in the album and by its singer,” she said.
Likewise, Lorde shared that she’d been influenced by the stars who came before her like Fiona Apple and Britney Spears.
“They were both really complex women who we’ve really reevaluated our treatment of over time. And I think it’s really important that reevaluation,” she explained. “The learning that we all did looking at both of them has paved the way for me to be able to do what I do.”
Katy Perry Is a Showstopper, on the Way to Becoming a Vegas Showgirl
Before Perry treated the audience to a pitch-perfect performance of her song “What Makes a Woman,” she first stole the show on the red carpet, posing in a purple, puff sleeve gown with her old sister Angela (with whom she launched the Firework Foundation) and fiancé Orlando Bloom by her side.
While stopping to chat with Variety, the hit-maker behind power anthems like “Roar” and “Firework” shared her personal pump-up song.
“Anything by Bill Withers these days,” Perry said. “That’s what my daughter [Daisy] loves — it’s a Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers house. So ‘Lovely Day,’ that’s what we start our morning with, every morning at breakfast and it just puts a smile on my face.”
Perry is currently gearing up to put smiles on some of her fans’ faces with her upcoming Las Vegas residency, describing the set as “the weirdest, most fun, most wild show I’ve ever done, but that’s Vegas, right?”
Watch the full livestream below for Variety’s “On the Carpet” powered by Facebook at Variety Power of Women presented by Lifetime.