“Women Get Shit Done…Fast”: Jennifer Lopez at Twitter’s #SheInspiresMe TIFF Event
Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, and Writer/Director Lorene Scafaria of the movie Hustlers were the guests of Twitter Women’s #SheInspiresMe panel that took place during the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7th. #SheInspiresMe is an initiative dedicated to elevating and amplifying women in every industry and around the world.
The moderators were Twitter’s Global Head of Culture, Engagement & Experiential Nolan Weinstein and Dr. Stacy Smith, who is the Founder and Director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. Smith shared the statistics that in the top 100 films of 2018, 33 erased black women altogether, 54 erased Asian women and 70 erased Latinas and it’s even worse for other marginalized communities, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities. While only 4% of female directors were represented in the top 100 films, we know from research that female directors are the solution and they change everything.
On Role Models & Mentors:
Jennifer Lopez: Lopez credited being surrounded by a lot of women in her family and her mom instilling in them not to depend on anybody, to be independent and that they could be or do anything. “I think that’s why I’ve been able to do a lot of the things I do, and also I don’t keep myself in a box,” she explained, “I think people say, ‘You were a dancer, you can’t be an actress.’ ‘You’re an actress, you can’t be a singer.’ ‘You’re a singer, you shouldn’t produce.’ ‘You’re an artist, you shouldn’t go into directing.’ And even beyond that, branding and marketing yourself and becoming your own worldwide brand. I felt like that was something that was all within the realm of possibility because of her.”
Keke Palmer: Palmer has looked up to Queen Latifah since she had her first role at 9 years old in Barber Shop 2 as Latifah was very supportive of her. “We had a conversation when I was 17 and she said ‘Keke I’m not just saying it to say it, it’s your work ethic, I see what you are doing, and I want to encourage that,’ she taught me a lot by her behaviour towards me, she taught me how to be to others.”
On Having An Almost All Women Cast & Crew:
It is almost unbelievable that Hustlers was shot in only 29 days and it was only eight months between getting the film green-lighted and the theatrical release. Writer and Director Lorene Scafaria explained, “It’s nice when women are in charge, because it leads to hiring, obviously, a lot of women, but it’s also when you hire men who are willing to work for women, they are different kinds of men.”
Jennifer Lopez: “It’s great to work with all women, there’s a shorthand, you feel very comfortable at work. I’ve done, I don’t know how many movies, many, many, and I’ve worked with a lot of men, mostly men directors, mostly men crew, and it is a boys club. It most definitely is. And you are the girl on the set. And when you have all women on a set, it all becomes now more evened out, especially when there’s a woman director because that’s who’s calling the shots, really, and when you have all women producers then you are really talking something special. Women get shit done…fast!”
Constance Wu: “For me being on the set with all women really just felt a type of freedom to be myself. I think so often I’m in these situations where it’s primarily men, patriarchal society that we obviously are and I feel like I have to either act like I’m one of the boys to get respect or I have to play cute and unassuming to even stay in the room. And when that dynamic changed and it was all women, I felt like I don’t have to act like one of the boys, I can just act like me.”