Nicole Kidman: 'I was afraid of my own power'

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Kidman Talks Women in Hollywood

Every year, Women in Film's Crystal + Lucy Awards dinner is a platform for rallying speeches from women in Hollywood. At last night's event in L.A., Nicole Kidman gave a particularly good one, as she accepted the award for Excellence in Film.

She recalled how, as a five-eleven teenager, she was a "living metaphor for what had always held women back." She said:

I was afraid of my own power, afraid that it would threaten people, intimidate people. And it's a great sadness wishing to be less than you actually are. And it's hard to take on the world when you're constantly in a battle with yourself. I worked through it ... I'm working through it.

Kidman went on to explain how fearing her own power led her to turn down a role in a Jane Campion film, because she was required to kiss a girl onscreen and she "wanted to be the kind of actress that had long, flowing hair and kissed boys." The decision to avoid work that "threatened," she said, was the beginning of a long process of learning how to reject the industry's expectations and honor her power as a woman. After listing all the women who have helped her along the way, Kidman ended her speech with this:

Women are too susceptible to the voice that tells us we need to be accepted ... Men say, "I want this." And then they set out to do it. Women say: "Do I want this? Don't I want this? Do I deserve this? Can I get this? Hmm, what do you think?" And framing things this way leads women to second-guess our decisions, to ignore our own confidence, to revert to a place that we think is safe, acceptable ... I don't regret much. I try not to live that way, but the regrets that I do have, all go back to the decisions that I've made out of fear. Not a fear of my own weakness, but of my own power.

I stand here today well-aware that somewhere out there a girl of 13 or 14 years old will hear these words. Let's pledge again today to be there for that girl, to support her, artistically, emotionally, financially. Let us create opportunities for her and teach her to imagine her voices trying so hard every day to call her back. Show her that she is strong and smart and talented. That she deserves a shot at every part that might interested her and at equal pay, too. Let us prove to her that she should go forth without shame. In short, let's do what Jane Campion did. There's quicksand in your hands. Who knows what kind of stories we're going to get from that? ... To hide behind our own fears, to shrink, to listen to that little carping voice on our shoulder, instead of the truth, which is pounding the fence. My friends, failure isn't shameful, but cowardice is. So let's take risks. Let's raise our voices, honor the fire within, ignore our fears. In short, let's stand tall and never, ever apologize for it.

In summation, Nicole Kidman wants us all to master the art of DGAF.

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Nicole Kidman through the years
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Nicole Kidman: 'I was afraid of my own power'
SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 15: Actress Nicole Kidman attends Swisse promotional event on July 15, 2016 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 15: Actress Nicole Kidman attends Swisse promotional event on July 15, 2016 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 08: Nicole Kidman attends the 2016 CMT Music awards at the Bridgestone Arena on June 8, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman attend 'Genius' New York premiere at Museum of Modern Art on June 5, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
Nicole Kidman arrives for the Costume Institute Benefit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art May 2, 2016 in New York. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Actress Nicole Kidman attends the 'Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology' Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Venturelli/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Actress/producer Nicole Kidman attends 'The Family Fang' Premiere during 2016 Tribeca Film Festival at John Zuccotti Theater at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center on April 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 03: Actress Nicole Kidman attends the 51st Academy Of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: Nicole Kidman with her Best Actress in a Play award for Photograph 51 during the 16th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards at The Prince of Wales Theatre on February 21, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Actress Nicole Kidman attends the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON / AFP / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 14: Actress Nicole Kidman attends the Opening Ceremony and the 'Grace of Monaco' premiere during the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 14, 2014 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Gisela Schober/Getty Images)
Nicole Kidman, left, and Keith Urban arrive at the 57th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Actress Nicole Kidman, right, and actor Tim Roth pose on the red carpet for the opening ceremony and the screening of Grace of Monaco at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
This image released by Cannes Film Festival shows Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly in a scene from "Grace of Monaco." (AP Photo/Cannes Film Festival)
This image released by Cannes Film Festival shows Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly in a scene from "Grace of Monaco." (AP Photo/Cannes Film Festival)
Actress Nicole Kidman poses for photographers during a photo call for Grace of Monaco at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)
Actress Nicole Kidman during a press conference for the film Grace of Monaco at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
FILE - In this May 14, 2014 file photo, actress Nicole Kidman poses for photographers during a photo call for "Grace of Monaco" at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, in southern France. Kidman stars in a new thriller “Before I Go To Sleep,” in U.S. theaters on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. The 47-year-old actress plays a woman whose memory is wiped clean every night, and begins questioning her husband and others as she tries to unravel what happened to her. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
Chiwetel Ejiofor, left, and Nicole Kidman present the award for best foreign language film at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Actress Nicole Kidman poses for photographers upon arrival on the red carpet for the film Queen of the Desert at the 2015 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Keith Urban, left, and Nicole Kidman attend the 2015 G’DAY USA GALA at the Hollywood Palladium on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Rob Latour/Invision/AP)
Actress Nicole Kidman poses for photographers during a photo call for Grace of Monaco at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - JUNE 15: (CHINA OUT) Actress Nicole Kidman attends 'Grace of Monaco' premiere during the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival on June 15, 2014 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Australian actress Nicole Kidman arrives on the red carpet of Shanghai International Film Festival openning ceremony in Shanghai on June 14, 2014. Kidman, who is promoting 'Grace of Monaco' at the festival, received an award for outstanding contribution to film. Shanghai kicked off its annual film festival, a nine-day event with a heavy emphasis on Chinese cinema and a sprinkling of Hollywood stars promoting their latest works. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
This image released by Cannes Film Festival shows Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly in a scene from "Grace of Monaco." (AP Photo/Cannes Film Festival)
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