This is a detour from my typical blog. But, when I read about Mariska Hargitay’s acceptance speech when she was awarded the Glamour magazine Woman of the Year award, I just had to share it with you. The star of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit explained what glamour means to her and captured all of the complexities that make up women. The complexities that make most of us so very happy that we came out with two X chromosomes.
Here is some of what she had to say:
My husband and my kids will tell you that one of my go-to responses when one of them asks me to do something is, ‘I decide!’ I will admit that I can overuse it—say, at the dinner table one of them will say, ‘Will you pass the spaghetti sauce?’ And I’ll respond with, ‘I decide.’
So in that spirit, I want to talk about the word glamour.
The dictionary says that glamour is ‘an exciting and often illusory and romantic attractiveness,’ or in another dictionary, ‘an attractive or exciting quality that makes certain people or things seem appealing.’ What’s the obvious implication? That glamour covers, that glamour is surface, and that the real is underneath.
So to that I would like to say: No, I decide. Glamour isn’t surface. I’m a girl who likes to put on a pretty dress, who likes to put on makeup, who likes to glam it up. I love glamour. I love it. But it’s not illusory. It’s not so I seem appealing. It’s not to cover anything. I love glamour because it expresses, not because it hides.
I’m going to be so bold as to say that for those you’ve chosen to honor tonight, and for that matter, for the billions—billions—of women we stand for and fight for, that our glamour is something that lives and shines and breathes deep, deep within us.
It’s our deep desire for change. It’s our insistence on the good. It’s how we show up for our daily battles, big and small, public and private, the ones that last only a moment and the ones that stretch a lifetime. Inner beauty. Inner poise. Inner strength. That’s glamour to me. Truth and authenticity, radiating outward.
So you don’t tell us what our glamour means. We decide.
And I also want to say that you’ve given me a bigger gift than you know: an evening that for me is very much about my mother. We have many pictures of her in our house, and my God, she is just so unbelievably glamorous. But I think that her glamour, her real glamour, the glamour of her luminous, tender, searching heart, was deeper and more beautiful than she ever knew.
She would be 88 now, and I think she would have liked this evening very much. I also think that she knows more now than when she died. She is here with us, and she is here with me, sitting with us and sitting with me, and I am so happy and grateful that we get to learn these things together. Thank you for this incredible honor.
IT IS TRUE THAT YOU ARE SMART. YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR PROFESSION, AND YOU ARE A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH.
BUT DON’T SHY AWAY FROM THAT KIND OF GLAMOUR. IT WILL ONLY ENHANCE YOU AND YOUR FORCE.