Last night, I had the honor of covering the 2023 Oscars live from Hollywood, California.
From learning about how many people and moving parts it takes to bring the show to life to celebrity run-ins behind the scenes, I'm still waiting for someone to pinch me!
But one of my favorite moments happened after the show ended! I was working the winners interview room, where — you guessed it — reporters get to chat with the Academy Award winners.
It was held in a conference room with all the reporters seated at about 10 to 12 rows of tables, with 20 reporters to a table. The tables were all facing the mini stage as reporters awaited the arrival of the winners. The winners room was kind of set up like an auction. We each were given a number on a piece of paper, and then as the winner walked on stage, we'd hold up our numbers in hopes that the host would call our number. The numbers chosen would get to ask the winner a question.
This win made Michelle the first South East Asian actress to take home the award. Her journey to this historic moment wasn't an easy one, though. Michelle has previously spoken out about the discrimination she's faced in Hollywood and even how she refused work for two years because the roles offered to her were blatantly stereotypical.
Knowing that, when I got the chance to speak with her, I asked her this: "As a person of color in any space, but particularly Hollywood, we're sometimes made to feel like we're 'other' or that we don’t belong, whether it be in certain roles or certain rooms. Was there ever a time where you felt like walking away from it all? And because you ultimately stayed, what advice would you give to people who are afraid to take up space?"
And, once again, she left me inspired:
"You should never be afraid," Michelle told BuzzFeed. "If this is your passion, if this is your love, you have to stand up for yourself, and for what you believe, and for what you want to do."
"I'm still here today. Finally, after 40 years, I get this! It just goes to show we will win the battle. And that's what we're doing. So don't give up. Never give up!"
Michelle went on to enforce that the only way someone can lose is if they give up. As long as you continue to work for what you love, then you'll always remain a contender in the fight.
"Don't let anybody put you in a box. Don't let anybody say, 'Oh, you're past your prime...blah, blah, blah.' No, because we are proud. We believe in what we do. We love what we do. So light that fire in your soul!"
"And stay on the path. Believe. Dare to dream, because if you don't dream, then it's impossible. But nothing is impossible. Look at me. I'm here."
Leave it to Michelle to speak life back into my soul! I've dealt with feelings of self-doubt and imposter syndrome from time to time, so these words will definitely play in the back of my mind whenever that happens again.
So, if you take away anything from this post, make Michelle and YOURSELF proud by continuing to shine your light, no matter who or what attempts to dim it.
Reese Witherspoon has been one of America’s Sweethearts since the early 1990s, when her breakout role in The Man in the Moon put her on the map. Since then, the Oscar-winning actress has been a staple in Hollywood for both acting and producing.