"We all thought we would be standing here under very different circumstances," Tracee Ellis Ross admitted as she took the stage on Monday night in Hollywood to host Glamour magazine's annual Women of the Year Awards, which the magazine has held every year since 2003 to honor extraordinary and inspirational women from a variety of fields, including entertainment, business, sports, music, science, medicine, education, and politics. "I decided I was going to wear something that made me look as vulnerable as I feel," the actress addressed the crowd in the wake of Tuesday's presidential election. For Ross, that was a Fendi "nightie" and an underwire-free bra.
Constance Wu also wore her political affiliation as she arrived at the event in a safety-pin necklace from EF Collection with an "I'm with her" charm. "I'm still with her!" she proudly exclaimed, adding that she wore the symbolic piece of jewelry because "there is a lot of anxiety around communities of color and various religious backgrounds and people with disabilities. And I think anything that you can do to show a small sign of solidarity and kinship with those people and with yourself is important." Anna Wintour, who introduced award recipient Miuccia Prada, revealed that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was also on her mind. "Hillary's loss is not easy to forget but neither are her successes. She brought us so close that we could touch the glass above us, even if America could not yet break it," she noted. And while introducing Glamour's first Man of the Year, Bono, Amy Poehler opted for some comedic postelection relief. "I think it's going to be hard to give another one of these awards next year because frankly there is no one better deserving than Bono. And also, we are going to spend the next four years watching white men congratulate themselves, so these will be filled up," she joked.
Bono referred to this past Tuesday as "the first election not suitable for children. NC-17!" He also took a moment to read off some funny tweets from the women of America kindly reminding him how ridiculous it was for him to be awarded "man of the year" at a female-oriented show. "This is actually my favorite, and it really hurts," he said, with a laugh. “Sure, Glamour named Bono Woman of the Year, but in their defense, the transition lenses do make him look like a 75-year-old lady from Miami." And before leaving the stage, the U2 frontman challenged President-elect Donald Trump to work harder to respect females. "I say to the president-elect: Look across to women. Make equality a priority. It is the only way forward. The train is leaving the station. Be on it or be under it," he proclaimed.
Later in the evening, the ballroom became engulfed in silence when ISIS sex-slavery survivor Nadia Murad took the podium, along with a translator, to inform the crowd about the horrors of the militant group. "I do this because I want their crimes to be exposed to the world," she said in a heartfelt speech. "We have to stop the terrorism!" Lena Dunham later introduced Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, who read an acceptance speech from Emily Doe and used the opportunity to touch on her own sexual assault past. "When I was assaulted, I lived with the guilt that I had been out, wasted in a party dress and feared that I was as inconsequential as I had been made to feel when I woke up on the floor," Dunham said. "Ten years later, having publicly disclosed my assault and facing the backlash so many survivors do, I still needed healing." A teary-eyed-Dunham then went "off script" to bring light to the fact that most of the attacks throughout the election “came from Breitbart News, where Steve Bannon has just been selected as counsel to the president-elect." (As the former head of Breitbart News, Bannon told Mother Jones last summer that Breitbart was now "the platform for the alt-right," a loosely organized group of mostly young men who believe in white supremacy, oppose feminism and multiculturalism, and delight in harassing vulnerable groups by spewing shocking insults on social media.)
On a lighter note, Simone Biles told the young girls out there during her acceptance speech to endure. "Put effort into everything you have, and do it with a passion. And write down your goals because I think it's very important," she quipped. Zendaya blew a kiss to the women of the world, while Ashley Graham reminded her fellow females to stop being so hard on themselves. "This is for the girl who got into a bikini for the first time this year, the mother who just had a child and she's embracing her stretch marks on her stomach. For that girl who said, 'No. I'm not going to lose weight for you, boyfriend.' And for the woman who can actually look in the mirror and say 'I love you' and mean it," she said, of her award. And her advice to America's youth? Don't let your body hold you back. "I let my body hold me back for so long. Don't let your body insecurities hold you back from doing anything that you want to do!" she exclaimed.
The last award went to current Glamour magazine cover star Gwen Stefani, who won over the audience by opening up about what got her through her recent divorce: "Blake Shelton for kissing me back to life!" she cooed. "Thank you so much!" she cheered, as she pointed to her boyfriend, who was beaming in the audience. The songstress also expressed her extreme gratitude for being able to pull herself out of the depths of despair of Gavin Rossdale's affair. "A year and a half ago I was in a pool of tears. I was so disappointed and I was so low that I didn't think that there was any way that I could pick myself back up. But I just remembered that God gave me a gift that I just wanted to use my gift again so badly," she revealed. "I started pouring my heart into music, and music has saved my life."
The evening ended with a stage full of celebrities — Adam Scott, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Shonda Rhimes, Chelsea Handler, and Elizabeth Banks — paying homage to Clinton's recent achievements. "We thank you for your composure, your compassion, and your grace. And for always looking so darn fierce in those pantsuits!" exclaimed Banks. "If we couldn't honor Hillary Clinton with the presidency, then we need to honor her by not only bridging the gap between men and women but bridging the gap between women and women," Handler added. The crowd wildly applauded.