Since October, we’ve been in the midst of a cultural reckoning regarding the challenges women face in the workplace, in sexual encounters, and beyond. This year’s awards season has become the locus of that conversation, and, as a result, award show red carpets are scrutinised just as heavily as the events of the shows themselves. Actors and actresses are being asked about more than just what they’re wearing — they’re being asked about the #MeToo and TimesUp movements, too.
At this evening’s SAG Awards, Refinery29’s Arianna Davis and Emily Curl hosted their own red carpet interviews, and had some riveting conversations with your favourite actors, actresses, and child stars (including the adorable kids of This Is Us and Stranger Things).
Instead of asking about designers, actresses were asked about the meaning behind their outfits. Allison Williams explained that the icy white gown she was wearing made her feel “fortified.” She also let us in on the reasoning behind her Golden Globes gown, which featured a beaded orange semi-circle: The orange segment was supposed to be a target that signalled, “Try me,” to the rest of the world.
Alison Brie told us that the purple beaded stripe on her dress was a shout-out to her GLOW character’s wrestler alter ego, Zoya the Destroyer.
Beanie Feldstein’s SAG Awards get-up tied in so perfectly with her character Julie from Lady Bird. She wore her actual prom dress to the ceremony to “honour Julie.” Feldstein pointed out that Lady Bird showed something so rarely depicted in media: female friendship. “There is a lack of true female friendships in which each girl is really devoted to the other. Lady Bird and Julie have this delicious thing that's never been captured before,” Feldstein said.
The theme of female friendship continued throughout the night. Gina Rodriguez and Yael Groblas of Jane the Virgin connected their characters’ relationship, which toggles between friendship and frenemy-ship, back to the current cultural conversation. “Sisterhood is being discussed right now in the women’s march. We’re really being conscientious that the social norm that women don’t get along is a falsehood, that now we are starting to erase. There’s a lot of redemption and complexity in Jane and Petra’s relationship,” Rodriguez said.
And speaking of tangible female friendship: Kate Nash and Kia Stevens of GLOW were actually roommates during filming.
Orange is the New Black actors also raved about their cast mates. Jessica Pimentel of OITNB expressed how grateful she is for her show. "It's wonderful to be a part of the show where the main focus is women, and to see how strong women can and have to be." Pimentel's costar, Jolene Purdy, touched on another aspect of OITNB: diversity. "This is the first time that I've ever seen something written so perfectly for me. She checks an 'other' box. It's so refreshing to see that in the media," she said.
Work created by women was celebrated, too. Daniel Bruhl of the upcoming drama The Alienist shared that he watched the entirety of The Handmaid's Tale in two whirlwind days. Many actors professed their adoration for The Crown and Big Little Lies, too.
In honour of the anniversary of the Women's March, Laura Linney shared her relatable experience attending last year's march. “I had never seen so many people. There are this many people who are thinking what I’m thinking and feeling what I’m feeling," she said.
And because we know you Grown-ish fans are curious, Yara Shahidi told Refinery29 that she won’t be following in her Grown-ish character Zoey’s footsteps when she heads off to Harvard in the fall. “She’s doing some things that I don’t quite agree with,” Shahidi said with a smile, possibly referring to Zoey’s budding reliance on Adderall. Shahidi also revealed her role model: Patrice Cullers, the founder of Black Lives Matter. Deon Cole, who plays Charlie, Zoey's professor, says filming Grown-ish is a "blast."
One of the night’s highlights came when Davis and Curl asked Sadie Sink and Caleb McLaughlin, who play the budding couple Max and Lucas in Stranger Things, what advice they’d give their characters. Sink said she thinks Max should “have more trust in people.” Caleb, taking this as an opportunity to plug his character, jutted in and said, “Max should have more trust in Lucas than anyone else, because Lucas is very trustworthy.”
The child stars of This Is Us — Mackenzie Hancsicsak, Lonnie Chavis and Parker Bates — shared advice that they’ve learned from the show’s more experienced cast members. Chavis, who plays young Randall, said, “This world has ups and downs, and you always wanna be up.” Preach.
Old Randall also had wisdom to impart. When Davis and Curl asked Sterling K. Brown how men can be better allies during this women’s movement, he (unsurprisingly) delivered a powerful, thoughtful speech. “I think men have to speak up. What has happened for me over the course of this movement is that there's been a heightened consciousness. Is everything I'm saying making everyone comfortable. Am I not being as thoughtful as I need to be?” he asked. “I’m just trying to lift my consciousness.”
Finally, Niecy Nash, relentlessly charming as ever, gave such a relatable explanation as to why she loves playing her Claws character. "I love that I'm a woman on television who's not a size 2. I eat on television for real," Nash said, laughing. "She’s a full woman.”
This was a SAG Awards red carpet full of fascinating and insightful women being asked to speak about interesting things. It was refreshing.
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