Before any awards ceremony kicks off, an overwhelming amount of focus is dedicated to red carpet fashion. Even the interviews are frequently centered around the superficial, thanks to mani, shoe, and 360° cams.
But for the 67th Annual Emmy Awards, there was a notable effort to ask the attendees more substantive questions. Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls organization partnered up with the Television Academy and Twitter to launch #SmartGirlsAsk. As part of the social media campaign, viewers – including figures like Shonda Rhimes, Hillary Clinton, and Britney Spears – tweeted in meaningful questions that went beyond “Who are you wearing?”
We asked readers to tweet us their #SmartGirlsAsk questions, and here’s how actors and actresses responded when we spoke to them on the red carpet at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday night:
Who inspires you and why?
“I’m inspired by Hillary Clinton. And Lena Dunham and so many people. People have been giving [Hillary Clinton] s— and trying to keep her down for so long, and she’s like, ‘No I’m gonna be me. I feel like I can change s— and I’m going to stick around even though you guys think I should be home baking cookies.'”
If you could pick an issue that you wish they would deal with on TV, what would it be?
“Women getting paid equal pay for equal work. I’d love them to take on that. I feel like Chuck [Lorre] is really touching on so many issues [on Mom] that I’m really proud of what we’re doing. I would say, continue to take on women’s issues. The other day we were sitting around, and there were eight women who were over 35 and fabulous women and I’m so proud.”
What is the next boundary that you would like to see pushed on TV?
“How about less shows that are so violent? How about less guns on television? That’s what I’d like to see. I would like the media start getting involved in this absolutely pathetic gun control law situation that we have in this country. They’re worried about a little sex, a little titty here and there. Get those f—ing guns off the television.”
What boundary or social issue would you like to see TV deal with?
“I would love to see TV deal more with what we are really dealing with as people, which I think is happening. There are a lot of shows that are escapist. Maybe there could be more shows that really get into what is really happening. The very things that people are uncomfortable to talk about are the very things that a show should be about.”
Marcia Gay Harden
What moment incited you to become an actor?
“The moment that I thought maybe I could, maybe, just maybe, was the moment when the teacher said to me, ‘You’re good.’ And as soon as someone validated the possibility of skill in me, that made me go, ‘Oh. If that person thinks I’m good, and she’s an amazing teacher, then maybe I really have a chance.'”
If you were president, what would be the first thing you would do? [Tweeted by Hillary Clinton]
“I would insist upon a half-hour meditation at the start of every workday.”