SPECIAL FROM Next Avenue
By Jill Yanish
Meryl Streep has proven yet again that she is amazing.
The 65-year-old actress has just funded a program to support female screenwriters over age 40. The initiative, called the Writers Lab, aims to increase opportunities for women beyond starlet age in the film industry. Eight women screenwriters will be selected to participate in a three-day retreat where they’ll work alongside mentors, developing skills as they network and get career advice.
Streep’s generous contribution to the cause of encouraging and fostering voices of experience gives us a big reason to love her.
Here are five other reasons, all having to do with how Streep defies ageism and sexism:
1. She’s wildly crazy about women’s rights.
It was hard to miss Streep’s support for equal rights during Patricia Arquette’s Oscar acceptance speech this year. As Arquette called for equal pay, Streep, along with Jennifer Lopez, enthusiastically cheered their support.
2. She uses her star power to make a difference.
Recently, Streep, along with numerous other Hollywood stars and influential women, signed an open letter demanding an end to female poverty worldwide. The letter, addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and African Union Commission Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who will be hosting summits in June, called for lifting every girl and woman out of poverty by 2030.
3. She embraced her inner crone when the time was right.
Prior to "Into the Woods," Streep had turned down every witch role she’s been offered throughout her long career, stating: "I just thought that it was emblematic of what Hollywood thought of women who pass a certain age: that now they are old crones. It made me mad, so I didn't want to do that or play into it. Now, it's age-appropriate. I am an old crone, I'm 65 and I'm thrilled I get the chance to play such a ... big, challenging musical part."
Naturally, she excelled at the part. Streep was nominated as Best Supporting Actress in the 2015 Oscars.
4. She knows how to have fun and stay hip.
Who could forget Ellen DeGeneres’ famous celebrity group picture at the 2014 Oscars? As Ellen pulled her into the shot, Streep told the crowd it was her first selfie. She seemed to be having a wonderful time joining in on the fun.
5. She’s a mentor, role model and friend.
As befitting an actor of her talent and renown, Streep is generous to other actors. Emily Blunt, during an LA Times roundtable discussion, said: “She's just very maternal with me; she was particularly maternal because I was pregnant during "Into the Woods," so she was making sure that everyone was giving me a chair and a snack.” In the same discussion, Gugu Mbatha-Raw from the historic drama Belle, said it’s on her bucket list to work with Streep.