September 11, 2008

The Women Behind the Women

Dove is all up in The Women. They are the folks that created the Campaign for Real Beauty with the ads with "real women", have a self-esteem fund for girls and put their money with their mouth is by investing $3 million of the film's $16 million production budget (something they've never done before.)

As part of their campaign to promote The Women, Dove partnered with Jess Weiner, a renowned self-esteem expert and Dove Global Ambassador (if you don't know her, you must check out her site and join her actionist network) to find a young woman to go behind the scenes to ask the actresses and other members of The Women about what constitutes real beauty. We need to do all we can to get young women thinking about beauty in a new way or else they'll all be getting botox at 16.

Cammy Nelson, who has worked with Jess Weiner for five years, was picked and she has an impressive bio for a 40 year old and she's only 16. Here's some of what she's done in her 16 short years: Cammy has travelled the country speaking to students, peer groups and board members about media literacy, self-esteem and eating disorder awareness as a member of Go Girls!, a national nonprofit organization sponsored by Eating Disorders Awareness & Prevention, Inc. (EDAP). Cammy is a also member of PeaceJam, a Nobel-prize nominated foundation established to foster a new generation of young leaders committed to positive change in themselves and their communities. Cammy works alongside her peers to develop more diplomatic programs and actions to help incorporate them into local schools and communities.

I recommend that you check out The Women Behind the Women cause its so rare to see that many women working on all types of jobs on this film (like camera operator) which we know is so rare in the movies.

Cammy answered some questions about what she learned by visiting the set.

Women & Hollywood:What surprised you most about seeing a movie shot?

Cammy Nelson: This was the first time I had ever visited a movie set and I was definitely most surprised by the amount of people involved in creating a film – there were people everywhere! In the past, I had seen "behind-the-scenes" video footage about other movies, but seeing it up close was so much more than I expected. I didn’t realize how much work went into creating my favorite movies.
W&H: What was it like to be at a job where most of the people with responsibilities were women?
CN: While working with a movie called, The Women, it was wonderful to see that women were an essential piece of every part of the movie, not only in the cast, but the director, producer, film editor, film crew, costume designers, script supervisors, set designers, assistants and hair and makeup artists.
I’m very thankful for the time I was able to spend with Diane English because she taught me a lot about Hollywood. Hearing her talk about how few women have powerful roles in Hollywood really made me respect her for reaching her goal of writing and directing this film. This entire experience, especially working with Diane, has really empowered me to rethink my future and set my goals a little higher. For instance, I’m definitely reconsidering where I want to go to college next year and am now thinking seriously about what I want to do after college. The whole experience has really made me think about all the opportunities available to me as a woman and has made my world a little bigger!
W&H: As a young woman what type of movies do you like?
CN: I like a little bit of everything, but I love romantic comedies and I really loved The Women! My favorite movies are Hitch and Hairspray.
W&H: Do you think that young women get portrayed positively in TV and film?
CN: In my opinion, I don’t think all young women are always portrayed in a positive way on screen. I have been more than excited to see that more and more movies are coming out that show women in empowering roles – offering me and my friends more positive role models to follow. My favorite thing about The Women is the all-female cast – they really took it a step further to show how different and diverse all women can be - I would love to see more of that in TV and movies in the future.
W&H: When you left the set, what was the one thing you learned that you never expected to learn?
CN: This was a very new experience for me so I really learned a lot about the film and about me. During my time on set I learned that all these beautiful stars that I look up to and that my friends try to copy are just normal people. Dove sent me behind-the-scenes of the film to interview some of the cast and crew, including Meg Ryan Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett Smith and Debra Messing, to learn how they defined “real beauty.” I learned that these women had the same type of insecurities as me and my friends and they don’t wake up looking like their characters. I think it is really important for girls my age to learn that the perfect images we see on screen are not always real, they are definitely created.
While I was on the set of the film one of the makeup artists and hairstylists gave me a full “Hollywood” makeover, and the wardrobe stylist let me try on some of the clothes used in the movie. I never realized how many people are actually working behind-the-scenes to create the images we see on screen. I’m so honored that the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty has selected me to help create their short film The Women Behind “The Women” so I can help other girls my age challenge today’s beauty stereotypes and encourage them to embrace their own real beauty.
W&H: What's next for you?
CN: Well, I’m a senior this year so I’m excited about finishing my last year of high school and looking forward to graduation. Next for me I guess is college! (I’m just not sure where I’m going yet!)