While I believe we should be celebrating incredible women year-round, today is International Women’s Day, so I’ll use the occasion to highlight some particularly amazing women in the film industry.
Ruth E. Carter – Carter is one of those behind-the-scenes Hollywood players whose work you undoubtedly know, even though she’s not a household name. She’s designed costumes for more than 70 TV shows and movies over more than 3 decades in the industry, and in 2019 became the first African American to win an Oscar for Costume Design for her unforgettable work on Black Panther. She’ll assumedly be on board again for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but in the meantime you can catch more of her breathtaking costumes in Coming 2 America, which just hit the Kiosk today!
Chloé Zhao – We have another trailblazer in Zhao, who just last year became the first Asian woman and the second woman ever to win the Academy Award for Best Director for her film Nomadland. And then she went and made history again as the first woman of color to ever direct a Marvel movie: Eternals. If you loved Nomadland, you might want to check out Zhao’s previous film, the lesser-known but critically adored The Rider.
America Ferrara – A star of both the small and big screen—including Ugly Betty, Superstore, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and its sequel, and the How to Train Your Dragon franchise—Ferrara is an outspoken activist for the causes she’s passionate about. She co-founded both the organization Harness, which uses storytelling to effect change, as well as Poderistas (formerly She Se Puede), a community to help build Latina leadership. She’s also been involved with Voto Latino, a nonprofit that encourages and helps Latinos to register to vote, and was a founding member of the Time’s Up legal defense fund. Next, she’ll be starring in AppleTV+’s WeCrashed, as well as directing the adaptation of Erika Sánchez’s YA novel “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.”
Kay Oyegun – If you watch the popular NBC show This Is Us, you have Oyegun to thank for some of its most tear-jerking moments. While she’s been contributing to the series since its premiere in 2016, she made her directing debut with the 2021 episode “Birth Mother,” about Randall’s past. Now she’s moving into moviemaking and has been tapped to write the screenplay for the adaption of “On the Come Up”—a YA novel by Angie Thomas, who also wrote the book that The Hate U Give was based on.
Rita Moreno – This post could go on forever, but I forced myself to choose just 5 of the women in film who were most inspiring to me personally. So of course I had to include Moreno on this shortlist because the woman is NINETY YEARS OLD, has been in the biz for 7 decades, achieved the rare EGOT status (she’s won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards), earned several lifetime achievement awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, dedicated years of her life to social activism, and is still going strong. Since Moreno won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in 1961’s West Side Story adaptation —and was the first Latina actress to ever win an Oscar—Steven Spielberg created a role just for her in his new adaptation of the musical.
Talk about a shero!