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In early Novem­ber I was read­ing an ar­ti­cle in The New Yorker called “The Women Who Helped Build Hol­ly­wood,” by Mar­garet Tal­bot. The piece de­tailed the work of women in be­hind-the-scenes film roles in the early-20th cen­tury, as the in­dus­try was be­com­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally dom­i­nant. But as stu­dios started to con­sol­i­date, these women—di­rec­tors, il­lus­tra­tors, script su­per­vi­sors, and ed­i­tors—found the doors to en­try clos­ing. Then, just like that, they were swept away by his­tory.

I was struck by this story, and par­tic­u­larly the open­ing image of Mary Blair, one of the key an­i­ma­tors of the era. So, I sent the por­trait and the ar­ti­cle to Olivia Wilde as in­spi­ra­tion for her Instyle cover shoot, our fourth is­sue ded­i­cated to Badass Women. (See our homage to the image, inset). While this is­sue cel­e­brates women who “show up, speak up, and get things done,” it’s im­por­tant to honor those who came be­fore. The con­cept had a par­tic­u­lar res­o­nance for Olivia, es­pe­cially since she’s com­ing off the suc­cess of her di­rec­to­rial fea­ture début, Books­mart, and pre­par­ing to both di­rect and star in her next film, Don’t Worry, Dar­ling, a thriller set in the 1950s.

What I love about Olivia is her sheer com­fort with her­self, her hu­mor, and her still-nascent voice as a di­rec­tor. She also proudly her­alds, in her words, “the era of sis­ter­hood” in a new Hol­ly­wood.

In a won­der­ful kismet twist, Olivia has re­cently spent time with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who, it is sci­en­tif­i­cally proven, is the bad­dest badass in the United States. At 79 years old, she suf­fers no fools and car­ries the weight of the Con­sti­tu­tion not just on her shoul­ders but in her soul. It was only fitting that Speaker Pelosi (who rather en­joys the term “badass,” by the way) should open this is­sue’s port­fo­lio of re­mark­able women. Thank you, Madam Speaker, for your tire­less­ness, your strength, and your to­tal lack of BS.

The other women in this is­sue— #Metoo founder Tarana Burke, Eupho­ria star Hunter Schafer, for­mer Deputy Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence

Sue Gor­don, and the self-pos­sessed La La An­thony, among oth­ers—all show that skill, spirit, and con­fi­dence come in splen­didly dif­fer­ent pack­ages.

En­joy the is­sue.

FOL­LOW US ON TWIT­TER @instyle and fol­low me @lau­rabrown99 FOL­LOW US ON IN­STA­GRAM @in­stylemagaz­ine and fol­low me @lau­rabrown99

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