Last evening, at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced "Media Mogul" Tyra Banks. "Maya Angelou told Tyra to go into politics, but Tyra said ‘I have too many swimsuit pictures for that,’" said Mr. Bloomberg. "That’s what I said, but I didn’t let it stop me… She is 6’2" in heels—something else we have in common."
When Ms. Banks took the stage, she thanked her mother and shared her particular brand of TyraWisdom with the teenage girls seated in the balcony: "If you have a dream and you have a goal; if you knock on that front door, and they won’t let you in, go through the back door. And if the back door is locked; go through the cellar, or go through the basement. And if that’s locked, climb through the window, but get in. So sometimes, the way that things may come to pass, and you have to figure out a way to get yourself up in there."
If there’s one thing this Glamour ceremony can be counted on for, it’s getting the sentimentality (and the waterworks) flowing. And so the evening—which also honored three of the seven female Nobel Peace Prize winners, Senator Hillary Clinton, primatologist Jane Goodall, and artist Kara Walker—was long on inspirational, feel-good stories and short on irony. (Not a bad thing!)
And so Barbara Walters shared some unknown facts about her honoree, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: "She could read music before she could read words, and her parents worried that if she left music, she’d end up a waitress at a Howard Johnsons-if she did, she probably would have ended up running the whole chain."
In her acceptance speech, Ms. Rice agreed: "I always thought that if I’d be standing here at Carnegie Hall, it would be to play the piano, but that didn’t really work out. I will say to the women in the balcony that when you find your passion, you will realize that you didn’t find it; it found you. You will realize that things you didn’t see were right for you were. And then you can have the chance to make a difference."
Actress Nicole Kidman, who was honored for her work with Unifem, the United Nations women’s fund, offered a few words of wisdom of her own. "I have to say to stay true to your convictions. Say no, but have no fear in saying yes." We nodded sagely to ourselves. "Read more literature; watch less TV. Ask questions, be involved, keep challenging the status quo, and you don’t need to conform, because being different creates character. Remember that every voice counts, so make sure your voice is heard." She also thanked husband Keith Urban, saying that "Three-and-a-half years ago, I had a wonderful career, and two kids, I’ve got an Oscar, I had movie offers, great directors…but I wasn’t loved. So three and a half years ago, a man stepped up and said ‘Let me take you to Tennessee.’ And he took me down there, and I let him love me." (Wasn’t that a movie starring, like, Diane Lane?)
Mary Steenburgen had a surprise for her friend Hillary Clinton: American Idol winner David Cook, who played an acoustic version of Ms. Clinton’s favorite song from the last season of Idol. Hillary later joked, "David did get more votes than I did, which I guess I can live with." The former First Lady and ex-presidential candidate, whose husband Bill was also in attendance, then remarked, "It doesn’t matter how intelligent and strong and visionary Barack [Obama] is, he can’t do it alone. That’s why – not only the people you saw up here – but every one of you, particularly those of you up in the balcony; you have to be part of making the changes that we want to see. You’ve got to be President-elect Obama’s partners to really make the progress we need."
She added: "And also, I’m very grateful to Glamour because they liked my pantsuits, which was one of the highlights of my campaign."