Megyn Kelly, Lupita Nyong'o hail efforts to 'lift each other up' at Variety's Power of Women luncheon

Lupita Nyong'o on The Development of "Eclipsed"
Lupita Nyong'o on The Development of "Eclipsed"

The honorees at Variety's third annual Power of Women New York gathering lend their voices to a range of issues— from child abuse to gun safety laws to diversity in the arts — but on Friday they all delivered a similar message to the packed crowd at Cipriani Midtown.

Actress Lupita Nyong'o was eloquent in discussing how her association with Uganda's Mother Health International has allowed her to witness firsthand the impact of women "using our power to lift each other up."

Megyn Kelly talked about the need for women to find strength and courage by facing their fears head on. Mariska Hargitay teared up while explaining the shocking statistics about the backlog of rape kits. Vera Wang spoke candidly about her long battle with overwhelming anxiety. Julianne Moore urged the audience to demand tougher gun safety laws at the state and federal level. And Misty Copeland spoke from the heart about her journey "from living in a motel to dancing on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House."

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Copeland, principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater, was hailed for launching Project Plie, an effort to open doors to the dance world for underprivileged youth. Moore was recognized for her advocacy with Everytown For Gun Safety. Kelly represented Childhelp, a nonprofit that works to help victims of child abuse. Superstar designer Wang was feted for her dedication to Manhattan's Youth Anxiety Center. "Law & Order: SVU" star Hargitay received the Karma Award as the founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation helping survivors of sexual assault.

Nyong'o noted that activism has influence that stretches beyond an org's dedicated mission. The more that women around the world see the impact that such efforts can have, the more they will be inspired to take on the world's social ills. Mother Health International takes aim at the unspeakable horrors of women who face pregnancy in war-torn areas, particularly those who have been turned into sex slaves and child soldiers. The org's work has become particularly meaningful to the actress.

"When we see the great power we have in supporting each other, not only to heal the wounds of our world but (giving) the great gift of allowing every woman to stand in her power," Nyong'o said.

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