The launch of #ActuallySheCan Mentorship, a campaign by Allergan highlighting the relationships of five women and those who guided and inspired them, seems particularly relevant during the waning days of the U.S. presidential campaign and the controversy roiling around Donald J. Trump’s comments about the fairer sex.
Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin photographed Chloë Grace Moretz with her mother and manager, Teri Moretz; Gabby Douglas with her sister, Arielle Hawkins; Gabourey Sidibe with her producer, Lisa Cortes; Iman and Bethann Hardison; and television host and chief executive officer Amanda de Cadenet with her daughter, Atlanta de Cadenet Taylor.
The pairs were shot in Van Lamsweerde and Matadin’s classic portraiture style with dark backgrounds to allow the people to stand out. “When we do portraiture it’s more about who the people are,” Van Lamsweerde said. “We let their personalities shine. They’re wearing black so that it’s really all about their faces and hands and how they connect.”
The female empowerment campaign has another component, a series of video interviews with the accomplished women in discussion with de Cadenet. Participants were candid about the challenges they faced and their perseverance against odds, and offer advice to young women embarking on careers.
“I attribute so much of my growth, both personally and professionally, to strong guidance from my mentors,” said Douglas. “I couldn’t be more pleased to honor that special relationship by joining forces with #ActuallySheCan Mentorship, helping young women realize the value of the counsel mentors can provide.”
“Iman and Bethann were so wonderful,” Van Lamsweerde said. “We were thrilled that they agreed to participate because they’re so close. Bethann is a legend and so is Iman. To have their relationship recorded lent a lot of gravitas to the campaign.”
Sidibe met Cortes on the set of “Precious,” which was her first film. “Gaby just directed her own short movie and is coming out with her memoir,” Van Lamsweerde said. “Lisa has been a part of that from day one. To see their close bond and friendship was beautiful.”
Of Douglas and Hawkins, Van Lamsweerde said, “It’s a lovely closeness and looking up to each other equally. It was a wonderful day of seeing all the similarities and differences between the 10 women. It was a very warm and beautiful environment of female friendship and support and generosity.”