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Adele praises influential women after being honoured at THR's Women in Entertainment gala

Adele speaks onstage during The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment 2023 at The Beverly Hills Hotel on 7 December 2023 in Los Angeles, California
Adele speaks onstage during The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment 2023 at The Beverly Hills Hotel on 7 December 2023 in Los Angeles, California Copyright Credit: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images
Copyright Credit: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images
By Theo FarrantAP
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Adele and actor Kerry Washington were honoured at this year's star-studded Women in Entertainment gala, presented by Lifetime.

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On Thursday 7 December, Hollywood's leading ladies gathered at the Beverly Hills Hotel in California to celebrate influential women during the return of THR’s annual Women in Entertainment event, presented by Lifetime.

Adele, who received the prestigious Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at the breakfast gala, paid homage to the many women in her speech - including her mother, grandmother and aunts - who helped shape her world and personality since she was a child.

The superstar singer then praised actor Kerry Washington, who received the Equity in Entertainment Award, andshared her starstruck moment upon meeting singer Dua Lipa.

“I finally got to meet Dua Lipa!” Adele said in her speech. “A bit starstruck. Absolutely love her. Fellow Londoner.”

Previous honourees of the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award include Oprah Winfrey, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Reese Witherspoon, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Aniston and Barbra Streisand.

Adele's candid speech

Adele appears at the Brit Awards in London on Feb. 8, 2022
Adele appears at the Brit Awards in London on Feb. 8, 2022Credit: AP Photo

Adele was handed the award by Helen Mirren for excelling as a trailblazer and for her philanthropy work in Hollywood.

Mirren, an Oscar winner, applauded Adele for her musical prowess, recalling the time when she felt a “shiver” down her back when she first heard the singer's debut single “Hometown Glory.”

“That chill comes just a few times in your life when you realise you are listening to a brilliant and game-changing new artist,” Mirren said of Adele, a 16-time Grammy winner who also has collected an Oscar and Emmy during her lauded career.

Adele's shoot-from-the-hip speech, which involved several F-bombs, drew laughter and applause from the audience. 

Dua Lipa arrives at The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment Gala on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023.
Dua Lipa arrives at The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment Gala on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023.Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision

She poked fun at the event's early call time: "It’s an absolute honour to be here today in full f*****g glam at 8 a.m.”

She also explained how the the women in her family moulded her into the person she is today through their boisterous and strong personas.

“They are a force to be reckoned with and quite frankly terrifying. But that was because they had to be,” the singer said. 

“They had to learn the hard way what it is to be a woman. In turn, they hardened. Their character was their armour. But thanks to them, my character is my skin.”

Who else received an award?

Kerry Washington arrives at The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment Gala on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Kerry Washington arrives at The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment Gala on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision

Actor Kerry Washington received the Equity in Entertainment Award, recognising her for amplifying the voices of underrepresented communities in the entertainment industry.

Actor Ariana DeBose, who presented Washington with the award, admired how the “Scandal” actor “squashed the traditional stereotype” of being a Black woman in Hollywood.

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“Every component of the career that (Washington) built, the empire that she has created speaks to equity,” said DeBose, who starred in the “West Side Story." “How has she done that? By being herself and taking up space.”

Earlier, Will Ferrell lobbied for Washington to run for president.

“Please? We'll pay you,” Ferrell said in jokingly pleas as the audience laughed. “We'll do a GoFundMe right in this room, and we'll launch you.”

Dua Lipa, Camila Cabello, Billie Lourd and Lily Gladstone presented four full-ride scholarships to Chapman University and Loyola Marymount as part of THR's Women in Entertainment mentorship program.

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More than $1 million in university scholarships were presented to female high school seniors from under-served communities in Los Angeles.

Video editor • Theo Farrant

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