At Monday’s Glamour 2019 Woman of the Year Awards, Charlize Theron thanked both her mother and daughters in a moving speech about the power of women to affect change. And while Theron’s entire speech should be required reading, the words she devoted to the most important women in her life — mom Gerda Maritz and girls Jackson and Auggie — will surely speak to the space we all hold inside for that first and most powerful bond forged by females.
Before taking the stage, Theron’s voice served as the narration for a video about the actress’ life. In it, she gave credit where she felt credit was truly due for her “rebel” (the woman of the year designation she was given) nature. “I think the thing I’ve been most grateful for in my life is that I was born to the mother that I was born to,” Theron said. After being introduced to the stage by Kate McKinnon, Theron would circle back around to this idea at the crux of her speech. “To my mom, thank you for being an example that me and my girls can follow. F***,” she laughed through tears, pausing to gather her composure. “My mom will be my woman of the year until the end of time.”
It is following in Maritz’s stead, said Theron, that taught her to be strong for her own daughters. “Fight for change because it’s people, especially girls, who have the power to create change. And speaking of girls,” Theron said, tearing up, “That’s why I do all of this. For my girls, Jackson and Auggie. They’re the reason I’ll never stop fighting.”
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“We're all in this together. All of us. There's nothing we can't do. And I'm here to back you guys.” – Charlize Theron @charlizeafrica’s speech at Glamour's 2019 Women of the Year Awards is required reading. Link in bio. 📸: @celestesloman Styled by @lesliefremar Makeup by @kateleemakeup Hair by @jennychohair
Theron indirectly thanked her daughters too, crediting them with also being great teachers in her life. “My children really chose me as much as I chose them. What they give me, I don’t even get close to giving them. I think as parents you kind of have a loose idea of what it’s going to be like. And then it so surpasses what you think it’s going to be. In the short time they’ve been with me, have shown me things I know nothing about,” she shared.
So, for Theron, what she feels called to do at this point in her life and career — and what she hopes for other women — is to create empathy through our actions that will trickle down to future generations, to our daughters. Create the kind of example her mother created for her.
“By telling our diverse, fascinating, complicated stories, we turn on a universal empathy filter. One that removes all the impurities we’re fighting: racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and anything else you might see in pretty much any White House briefing,” she said. “So tell your story. Be proud of it. Don’t worry about everyone liking you. It’s impossible. Wash your face, even when you’re really tired at night. Take risks. Radiate empathy like you’ve got a tap of it.”
She finished, “We’re all in this together. All of us. There’s nothing we can’t do. And I’m here to back you guys.”