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TOP 10: Variety’s 2014 Power of Women Issue

Variety 2014 Women of Power Issue/Photo: Williams + Hirakawa for Variety

Variety’s 2014 Power of Women Issue: variety.com–10/7/14–Photo: Williams + Kirakawa for Variety

TOP 10: Variety Announces 6th Annual Power of Women Honorees

Variety Announces 3014 Power of Women Nominees

Variety Announces 6th Annual Power of Women Honorees–variety.com–9/9/14

TOP 10: Jane Fonda Reveals What Inspires Her in Origin Magazine Interview

Jane Fonda interview in Origin Magazine

Jane Fonda Reveals What Inspires Her in Origin Magazine Interview: Maranda Pleasant–huffingtonpost.com–2/15/13

Star-Studded Event Honoring Somaly Mam Launches Women A.R.E.

Stacey Gualandi and Somaly Mam with founders, Angella Nazarian and Beth Friedman

Stacey, Somaly Mam and founders Angella Nazarian and Beth Friedman
Photo: Stephanie Keenan/wire image

By Stacey Gualandi/January 28, 2013

TWITTER:@somalymam
 @antravelista

Heavy rain, snarled traffic and car accidents on Sunset Boulevard couldn’t keep almost 200 of Los Angeles’ most respected and top female leaders from attending the launch of Women A.R.E. in Beverly Hills last Friday.

Jane Fonda, Daryl Hannah and AnnaLynne McCord were just a few of the influential women who gathered for an intimate and rare conversation with CNN Hero Somaly Mam, a former Cambodian sex slave who is at the forefront of efforts to end human trafficking.

Somaly mam's lecturing at Women's A.R.E. event

Somaly Mam speaking/Photo: Stefanie Keenan/wire image

This is the first such event for Women A.R.E., founded just a few months ago by author and motivational speaker Angella Nazarian, and Beth Friedman, social entrepreneur and tireless education advocate in Los Angeles. Their mission is to “aspire, respond, and engage,” and after hearing from many of the women in attendance, these forward-thinking founders did just that.

I was honored to attend this Salon, one of several planned for 2013.  Ms. Nazarian was a recent guest of mine on our TWE radio show; I met Somaly Mam at a 2011 Los Angeles event for her Foundation; and Jane Fonda has been featured many times on this site, so this event was tailor-made for The Women’s Eye.

According to Friedman, who opened up her beautiful private residence for this launch, Women A.R.E. was “a year in the making.” She and Nazarian were looking for their “Act Two” and wanted to use their collective resources in an effective way to promote and foster new ideas when it comes to entrepreneurship, work-life issues, and health and wellness.

Daryl Hannah and Stacey Gualandi at Somaly Mam Women A.R.E. event/LA

Daryl Hannah and Stacey at event

Nazarian said Somaly Mam is an important person because she “unleashed a movement on a global platform.” She has forged a transformative path – from life as a young girl in a brothel to a woman who now rescues other young girls from a life of slavery – with courage and love.

“Today, in my heart, I’m a happy woman,” said a humble Somaly. She has achieved that through forgiveness and the love she shares and receives with the 7000 girls she has saved. But the statistics are daunting. Every minute, two girls are sold into slavery across the globe.

In just the time that all of these women came together, 240 girls had been sold. However, Somaly remains steadfast in her commitment to educating and empowering these young women despite the challenges.

If the success of this first event is any indication, Nazarian and Friedman can feel confident about their plans for the 2013 Women A.R. E. Conference set for November 2013.   And you can be sure, The Women’s Eye will be there.

Women A.R.E. logo

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More photos from the event:

AnnaLynn McCord and sister Rachel at Women A.R.E. event in Beverly Hills/1-25-13

Actress AnnaLynne McCord and sister Rachel

Somaly Mam, Jane Fonda, Angella Nazarian at Women A.R.E. event

Somaly Mam, Jane Fonda, Angella Nazarian at Women A.R.E. event
Photo: Stephanie Keenan/wire image

Somaly Mam's book, Road of Lost Innocence

Somaly Mam’s book, “The Road of Lost Innocence”

TOP 10: In Films and TV, Lots of Fonda on the Way

Jane Fonda

In Films and TV, Lots of Fonda on the Way: Joe Neumaier–nydailynews.com–6/28/12

The Ultimate Women’s Expo/Los Angeles

Ultimate Women's Expo

By Stacey Gualandi/October 10, 2011

FACEBOOK: Ultimate Women’s Expo

There’s nothing quite like sharing a relaxing spa day with Jane Fonda, Tatum O’Neal, and thousands of other women. I’m totally serious. I recently attended the Ultimate Women’s Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center, a two-day extravaganza filled with massages, makeovers, shopping, cooking demos, hair styling, celebrity authors and psychic readings…everything under the sun to make even the most stressed out woman take a deep breath.

Massages at Women's Expo

Massages...

It was the second stop on a four-city tour – Phoenix is on tap next – and has become one of the nation’s largest women’s expos to combine shopping, speakers and services for an ultimate estrogen experience, all under one roof.

Cooking Demos

Cooking Demos...

Of course, the big draw was a dizzying list of keynote speakers, which read like a TV rerun of my teenage years:

Dynasty’s Linda Evans, Hart to Hart’s Stefanie Powers, The Brady Bunch’s Florence Henderson, Family Ties’ Meredith Baxter and I Dream of Jeannie’s Barbara Eden.

Stacey and Florence Henderson

Florence Henderson and Stacey

These Hollywood icons – and now best-selling authors – share one thing in common: the wisdom they’ve earned from lives filled with ups, downs, good times and bad, big wins as well as devastating losses. They sold books full of life lessons like it was candy, and I took a handful.

“I hope the words in my book are both helpful and healing,” said Broadway actress, Wesson spokeswoman and, of course, everyone’s favorite Brady, Florence Henderson. She had us all at “Here’s the story…”

Audience at Women’s Expo

Audience at Women’s Expo

She gave a rousing speech on finding the courage to fulfill one’s dreams. She’s glad fans are discovering there is more to her than just Carol Brady, but admits retracing a childhood of poverty and abandonment in her new candid memoir “Life is Not a Stage” wasn’t easy.

“When you’re living it, you don’t really stop and think about what you’re in. The toughest part for me in writing the book was to go back and look at some things that weren’t pretty,” she admitted.

Barbara Eden

Barbara Eden signing books

Barbara Eden says writing “Jeannie Out of the Bottle” ten years after her son’s drug overdose was anything but cathartic.

She said, “I’m happy I did it, but it’s tough to live your life again. I hope whatever I have put in my book is helpful in some way to someone somewhere. I just wish that I had known about things as much as when I was living those things.”

With wisdom, of course, comes age. The consensus at this convention was these stars-with-memoirs have all aged gracefully. And they wouldn’t give up anything now to be younger.

Jane Fonda book“I lost my eyesight, but I’ve gained insight,” said Jane Fonda, who at age 74 claims she’s happier than she’s ever been. Her new book “Prime Time” addresses life after 50, and covers everything from “physics to penile implants.” She recommends that everyone write a “life review” to discover who they really are.

“Real love and intimacy happens when you’re standing on your own two feet. You can’t have intimacy if you don’t love yourself. Look, I came to LA to get a new knee and got a new lover,” she proclaimed.

“Writing your life” was a recurrent theme. At 69, Linda Evans admits her decision to finally pen “Recipes for Life”, her cookbook full of memories, was an incredible adventure. “It took me so much longer than I thought but it taught me so much. I got so many gifts from this book. I want to tell everyone to look back at their life because you can see with new eyes how it led you to where you are now.”

Stacey and Linda Evans

Stacey and Linda Evans

They came to inspire, but many of the speakers took time to enjoy the expo too. Meredith Baxter said, “I think it’s always great when they reach out to women. Women are the moving forces, the biggest shoppers, they are going to move commerce along.”

Attorney-turned-novelist Marcia Clark did some retail therapy of her own after signing her book “Guilt By Association” for fans, as did Stefanie Powers.

Stefanie Powers book

The “One From the Hart” author also had a booth at the Expo to benefit her William Holden Wildlife Foundation. Her message was simple: nourish yourself inside as well as on the outside.

“It all starts from within. We have to empower ourselves on a daily basis even if we never leave the house. I think of it as looking upon ourselves as being as perfect as we possibly can see ourselves to be. It’s only inhibited by our inability to see just how good we can be. Hey, I didn’t say it was easy.”

No one knows that better than Tatum O’Neal, who has written her second memoir “Found, A Daughter’s Journey Home.” She said she was honored to be a part of an event like this and as the final keynote speaker, she spoke openly about sobriety, forgiveness, and above all else, trusting women.

“The people who are going to support me in my life are not going to be the men who are attracted to me, but the women pillars, friends, advocates. It’s going to be those women who are going to get me through my life’s challenges.”

To learn more about upcoming Expo dates, go to the Ultimate Women’s Expo website.

Jane Fonda Shares Her Gospel in “Prime Time”

Jane Fonda at Book Passage

By Anita Jones/September 1, 2011

This lil’ light of mine, I’m gon’ let it shine….everywhere I go…let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

Jane Fonda shoots from the hip. Granted—the hip has been replaced, but that only serves to make it stronger, wiser, more resilient, like Jane. She has taken the tragedies and triumphs of her 73.5 years on the planet and distilled them into a message so powerful, so pristine, so present that as you listen you can’t help but get it, regardless of your personal profile.

Jane Fonda Book Prime TimeI recently attended a lovely Literary Breakfast in August at the Corte Madera Book Passage where Jane talked about her new book, Prime Time: Love Health, Sex, Fitness, Friendship, Spirit—Making the Most of All of Your Life. As soon as she entered the room of 130 seated at tables, her energy spread; she claimed the space with her smile and unmistakable voice.

Right now I’m ankle deep in American civil rights research for my novel-in-progress and the great songs of the era play incessantly in my head, which explains why—enroute to the bookstore that morning —the song, This Little Light of Mine played in my head. Once she got into her talk, I saw an immediate connection. Jane at the podium felt like church. She had some serious personal gospel to share, and she lit up the room.

In her introduction, Elaine Petrocelli, the President of Book Passage, set the tone with a mix of thoughtfulness and humor, allowing Jane to segue into one of her favorite chapters from the new book: The Lowdown on Getting It Up in the Third Act.

ACT III is Jane’s name for the phase of life that begins at age sixty.

She wrote the book after noticing that in her sixties she felt better than ever and wanted to know if this was unique. She was intensely curious about aging, the brain, body, wisdom, spirit—all the things we need to do to “ascend the staircase” of aging versus descending into “decrepitude.”

She said people are surprised to learn that Jane, the “college-dropout-movie-actor”, is a born student who loves to learn and share what she finds important. She spent four years researching and distilled knowledge from all sorts of experts into her essential ingredients for aging successfully.

Jane Fonda exercise DVDHer life so far has gifted her with the light of wisdom; this sounds trite, but it’s true. Jane Fonda is a wise woman, a totally hip elder for the new millennia. More importantly, Jane is down with that. As I looked at her svelte, fit body at the podium, I thought if we could all look this good at her age, we, too, could go more gently into that next phase.

I admit to being pleasantly surprised to find that for Jane at this juncture it is about so much more than how she looks. “It’s about functionality,” she said, “being able to be independent, to get up and down from chairs, in and out of cars.”

The oldest set of us baby boomers is ten years younger than Jane, but like her, we cut our teeth on the activism of the 1960s and 70s, and barely escaped the AIDS sexual revolution of 1980s. If you’re wondering what the “Third Act” can look like, then you have only to look at 2011 Jane Fonda for an iconic model.

She is forthright, unabashedly not perfect, but striving to be whole.

A natural storyteller, not to mention Oscar- and Emmy-winning actor, Jane wastes no time and no words, and her comic timing is spot on. We laughed with her as she glanced at coffee cake crumbs on her plate right after talking about the necessity of “eating meaningful calories.

Jane has survived much, including the suicide of her bi-polar mother when she was twelve and never being thin or beautiful enough in the eyes of her father, Henry Fonda. She spoke of both these life-shaping events from her deeply personal point-of-view of forgiveness, a pinnacle she was able to attain after doing the hard work of a life review—researching oneself.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKN2wiTUtN8]

She said we must ask tough questions like “Who were/are your parents as people? How did/do they show up for their children …? How did their parents show up? These answers shape us when we are very young.”

This is a cautionary tale for our adolescents everywhere (especially girls) who may be going through what Jane went through—guilt, broken trust, and hatred of body leading to eating disorders. She has learned to not let these things define her, anymore than she is defined by her replaced hip or knee or the fact that she is a septuagenarian.

“You need to find out how come your parents treated you that way…” Jane

“I grew up thinking if I was not perfect I wouldn’t be loved….leads to a lot of problems…it gets worse when a girl becomes an adolescent and it stays throughout life…You need to find out how come your parents treated you that way…Unpacking the past allows us to see that it had nothing to do with us,” she said.

Of all the things she shared that morning, I was moved most by two stories. The first is about using a life review or meditation/prayer to change the norm from negative to positive. This allows us to “forgive….come to a new understanding and begin to view more positively, and with an open heart, the people and realities of our past.”

Jane Fonda in Variations

Jane starred in "33 Variations" in New York and Los Angeles

If we sustain this positive attitude we can actually create new neural pathways in the brain. For women, Jane said, “You become different. You become the girl you were before you entered puberty.”

She was clearly moved—and we were all with her—as she paraphrased T. S. Elliot: “You circle back to where you started and know the place for the first time. You become the person you were always intended to be, and there’s a lot of forgiveness along the way.”

She spoke of rehearsing her death in my other favorite story in Prime Time. At the breakfast, she compared it to the birth of her two daughters. The first time she winged it, and “it was very difficult.”

The second time, when she was married to Tom Hayden and they went to a birth educator, she saw that “knowledge is power. Knowing what to expect made it possible to not become a victim of the pain but ride on top of it.”

The death scene she imagines has her in bed surrounded by loved ones. They are holding her hand, and she is vibrant enough to interact with the love in the room. Now, she said she must live her life in a way that will get her there.

Jane and Elaine Petrocelli at Book Passsage

Jane and Elaine Petrocelli at Book Passsage

Breakfast with Jane was fun and enlightening, a cross between a literary event, a spiritual retreat, and (as Elaine said) a wedding reception. Jane left us with an apropos quote from Picasso ~ “It takes a long time to become young.”

She is where one would hope an elder would be at this point—well rehearsed. Fit and able to ride out the inconveniences of aging, she seems happier than ever in this Third Act.

She’s not afraid of the hard work still left to do. With all the lines and delivery down, her prior performances have prepared her for this glorious time in the light.

Let it shine , Jane…let it shine!

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Jane recommended that we all show Gloria Steinem’s documentary to our girls: Gloria: In Her Own Words

Two of her great causes:

Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health (Emory University)

Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention

About the author:

Anita Jones is a writer, visual artist and oral tradition storyteller. Her novel-in-progress, Peach Seed Monkey, was a novella semi-finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. She’s the Executive Director of the Gaines-Jones Education Foundation, a family foundation she co-founded with her husband, Robert Roehrick. They live in northern California with their daughter. You can contact Anita at peachseedmonkey@gmail.com.

Photos of Jane Fonda at Book Passage by Anita Jones