Julianne Moore On Sexism In Hollywood & Inspirational Women

Julianne Moore is lots of things. She's an actress, a writer, an activist, and, as of this month, an Oscar winner for her role as a professor struggling with Alzheimer's in Still Alice. But, when we caught up with her, all she wanted to do to is talk about other people.

Specifically, other women. Moore's working with L'Oreal Paris' Women of Worth campaign, a 10-year-old project that awards 10 women running charities $10,000, with a grand prize winner getting more — and Moore's excitement about the program and its honorees was palpable.

The program sounds like it's doing amazing work. Rachel Jackson-Bramwell, the director of Project Compassion, an outreach and support group for low-income women and girls, was one of 2014's honorees. She told us that winning had brought her project not just money, but a new level of validation. "Women of Worth definitely solidified and validated what we were doing. It shone an extra light on us, took us to another level. And, it's validating — it shows that not only are we real, but we are making a real difference." Project Compassion's just one of many being honored.

We chatted with Moore about her favorite projects, feminism, why she believes in giving back, and asked her the one question you're never supposed to ask. 


As a woman who's at the top of her game, fresh off an Oscar win (congrats, by the way), do
 you feel responsibility to help out other women? 
"I think that we all have a responsibility. We are all interdependent, and I believe in that whole thing about 'He to whom much is given, much is required.' I really do think that I have been so fortunate in my life, that anything I can do to contribute to the world being a better place is important to do."

Is there one of the Women of Worth honorees whose work really speaks to you?
"Oh, gosh, so many of them. The woman who won this year is a woman named Phyllis Sudman, who created a program called Simon's Fund. When her son was three months old, he died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Afterward, she found out that he had a heart ailment, and when she was tested, she had it too. So she started Simon's Fund to sponsor testing parents and children for heart defects.

"Also Rachel Jackson-Bramwell, who's a single mother in St Louis. She started a program called Project Compassion, which helps homeless and at-risk women and girls get back on their feet. She's someone who had very little at the time, but she felt that she had enough to share. But, really, everyone. If I tell you about them all, you'd be very impressed.
You're in an industry that's been frequently accused of sexism and making things hard for women. Are those challenges you feel like you still face?
"When people talk about sexism being endemic to show business specifically, I think that's not true. It's more of a global issue. I think the thing that we're becoming aware of is that there are differences to the way genders are treated throughout the world. It's not something that's happening just in my business."
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What do you think of #AskHerMore, the campaign to get reporters to ask women on the red carpet more than 'tell me about your dress?'
"I think the campaign is great. One of the reasons I love movies is because they're about who we are as people. What we love, and what we do, and who we care about — and so that's what we should be talking about. That's why I make movies."

Do you have any advice for women who are just starting out? 
"Be persistent — and be prepared. I always tell young actors that your job is to get out there and get auditions, so be ready, know your material, be professional, and take it seriously.

"But, also know that you don't have to do it all at once. It's not like you go from getting out of school to getting your dream job. There are little things along the way. Every single step and everything you do along the way counts! All these little jobs. Even the job you get waitressing. Do a good job doing that. Don't dismiss anything. All experience is valuable."
What advice do you hear given to young women that you'd like to never hear again?
"You know, in the olden days, they used to say that you should never give anybody your age, which I think is ridiculous. And, now it's a moot point because of the Internet, everybody knows anyway!"

Wait, so how old are you? 
"I’m 54 [laughs], but I think it's on the Internet! 

"In a sense, that's very freeing — because that stuff doesn't really matter. Anytime you feel like you have to hide anything about yourself, it's not going to be successful. It’s very freeing to just be as honest about everything as you can be."

If people are inspired by Women of Worth, what can they do? 
"You can nominate people in your own community. You can go to WomenofWorth.com and submit an application for them and say why you think they should be celebrated. What's great about the program is that it's about everybody. This is about all of us."
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