Elle gave us the transcript of Nicole’s speech from the Women in Hollywood Celebration.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s the daunting question we all got as kids, the one that forced us to think critically about what goals we’d set for our future. Answers likely ranged from astronaut to veterinarian to nurse, or really, whatever career path society (or your parents) thought you should be drawn to. When Nicole Kidman asked her daughter the infamous question, she replied “director,” a career path young Kidman would’ve never thought possible for herself.
On Monday night, ELLE celebrated its 2019 Women in Hollywood at The Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles, and honoree Kidman recalled this conversation with her daughter during her acceptance speech. “She said, ‘I want to be a director and I’m pretty sure I can make that happen,'” Kidman told the crowd. “That there is progress, because for that little girl to be able to say, ‘Yeah, I can be a director.’ I would never have said that. I said I could be an actress, but I never said director.”
Just look to this year’s highly-anticipated movies and TV shows to see what progress Kidman is referring to. Melina Matsoukas, Lena Waithe, and Jodie Turner-Smith, fellow members of the 2019 ELLE Women in Hollywood class, will bring Queen & Slim to screens next month; Elizabeth Banks put on her director’s hat for the upcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot (also out in November); earlier this year, Ava DuVernay told the heartbreaking story of the Central Park Five in When They See Us.
“I know that this journey will be easier because of a lot of the women in this room: Because of the trails that you’ve blazed, the stories that you’ve told, the examples you’ve set,” Kidman said, “and I am so grateful to be working alongside you and to be raising my children in this world that we all are making possible.”
Kidman’s Bombshell co-stars, Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie, introduced her speech, which you can read in full below.
Fuck! I don’t curse, but sometimes you just have to, right? I want to thank Nina. I want to thank everyone at ELLE. But I really want to thank this power duo here. I have had the chance now to see them both work, but also to see how they conduct their lives, and they are amazing. They’re amazing voices, and I am so, so happy to be able to support them and collaborate with them. I have to say we have each other’s backs, we just do, and we’ve had to, and it’s a great feeling. And so, when it’s needed, we show up for each other. And Charlize has two kids at home, but she’s here doing this for me tonight, so. And Margot’s got a hubby at home.
We say go out and have a good time. But what we do together is we tell stories. And what a privilege it is to be able to tell the stories that we are telling right now. And what a gift to be able to choose the stories that we tell and what a responsibility to make space in the world for more perspectives of flawed, bold, amazing, dynamic women.
So one of the things that I have found in my life and my career is that my voice is strongest through my work, through my art. And I’ve always tried to put it out there as it is, let the work and the art do the talking. As actors, it’s obvious that the choices that we make, who we work with, the stories that we tell, all of that speaks volumes about who we are, about our values, about how we see one another, about the moment that we’re living through. And this is a complicated time, it’s a complicated industry that we’re working in, and it’s a complicated world.
But I look around me and I see the young people, particularly the young women that I get to work with, and I’m pretty astounded. I am astounded by their confidence and I’m astounded by the powerful ways that they are using their voices. And that tells me that we are all doing something right because … It’s true. The last time that I was at this event was 2008 and I had just given birth to my baby girl. And that daughter is now 11 years old and she has a little sister who’s eight years old. And the other day I was in the car, I was driving them back from school, and I said the question you always ask: “What do you want to be someday when you grow up?” And she said, “Well, I’d like to be able to fly and I’d like to have wings. That’s what I really want, but I don’t want fairy wings.” And I said, “Oh yes. Yes, you want strong, capable wings, right?” And she went, “No, I just don’t want to be a fairy.”
And then she said, “Oh, actually, what I want to do is I want to go to space. That’s what I really want to do because I want to be able to float.” And then she quickly can see that that probably wasn’t going to happen, she wasn’t going to go to space, and I didn’t have the time to tell her that maybe next week—October 21—we were probably going to see the first female spacewalk. Anyway, we didn’t get to that because she was already on to her next career, her real career. She said, “I want to be a director and I’m pretty sure I can make that happen.” And I’m like “Wow.” Now that there, that there is progress because for that little girl to be able to say, “Yeah, I can be a director.” I would never have said that. I said I could be an actress, but I never said director.
I think it’s a really important thing to know and to say. The journey is never going to be easy. It’s never going to be easy for creative people because we’re always going to be trying to carve our own paths. But I know that this journey will be easier because of a lot of the women in this room: Because of the trails that you’ve blazed, the stories that you’ve told, the examples you’ve set, and I am so grateful to be working alongside you and to be raising my children in this world that we all are making possible. So, thank you.