Singer Billie Eilish and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ahern are just two of the nominees for the Harper’s Bazaar Netherlands 2019 Women of the Year Award, an annual prize given by the magazine to highlight women’s empowerment. Dutch actress, IWC brand ambassador and jury member Anna Drijver sat down with the magazine’s editor-in-chief Miluska van ’t Lam to discuss the current challenges and achievements of the nominees and the secret to their success.
— IWC Brand Ambassador Anna Drijver at the Table of Twelve dinner, discussing Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year nominees
On November 25th, Harper’s Bazaar Netherlands will announce the winner of its 2019 Women of the Year Award.
A jury of 12 influential women, called the “Table of Twelve”, like the numbers on a watch dial, joined their hearts and minds together during a yearly dinner in Amsterdam hosted in collaboration with IWC to discuss the nominees.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Harper’s Bazaar Editor-in-Chief Miluska van ’t Lam to learn more about the nominees and the importance of their work.
AD: Anna Drijver
MVL: Miluska van ’t Lam
AD: During your first year at Harper’s Bazaar, how did you integrate female empowerment in the magazine?
MVL: The topic of female empowerment has been an integral theme this year, not only at Harper’s Bazaar, but in fashion in general. Take for example Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director for Dior, who uses fashion as a medium to promote female empowerment. Featuring women in leadership positions like her has been a central focus for the magazine and a reference point to select this year’s WOTY nominees.
AD: How do you feel about working with the Table of Twelve jury?
MVL: It’s special and inspiring to be part of such an empowered group of women. At the dinner this year, I felt at ease right away - we instantly opened up to each other. While in various industries competition amongst women has become the norm, we’ve created a feeling of trust and sisterhood in which we could show our vulnerable side. This enhanced cooperation and understanding of different backgrounds.
AD: What do the nominees have in common?
MVL: They have an incredibly strong work ethic, they are not afraid to face their fears and take risks. They shape their mindsets to turn obstacles into challenges. Their determination pushed them to achieve their goals, even when they faced negative reactions and oppositions. It may never seem like the right time, but sometimes you just have to follow your heart and take the leap.
— The Table of Twelve, Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year jury
AD: Which of the International Women of the Year nominees surprised you?
MVL: Billie Eilish! I personally love her music, and admire how she positively influences young girls in regards to insecurity issues, such as body shaming. She’s using fashion as a defense mechanism to do so, to deflect attention from her physical appearance.
AD: American actress and activist Yara Shahidi is one of the international nominees. What set her apart?
MVL: Yara Shahidi founded Eighteen x 18, a platform to encourage her peers to vote for the very first time. Through her partnership with Young Women’s Leadership Network, they provide online mentorship with the aim to end poverty through education.
AD: Mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck is also on the list. What makes her stand out among the nominees?
MVL: She’s the first woman to win the Abel Prize (similar to the Nobel Prize) for her pioneering achievements in geometry, mathematics and physics. She’s an advocate for diversity in the field of mathematics, as, in her experience, it currently lacks women in leadership positions. Her aim is to be a role model and support aspiring young women in the field of STEM.
AD: Who’s representing the politics field this year?
MVL: That would be New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, for the way she took action on gun control, and for how she’s advocating more attention towards women combining a professional life with motherhood.
AD: Being the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, how do you feel you can be a role model to young women?
MVL: I feel like it’s my duty to utilize the influence I have through Harper’s Bazaar to spread the stories of these inspirational women, in order to broaden the current definition of a role model.
AD: Harper’s Bazaar has partnered with IWC for the “Table of Twelve” dinner. What does this collaboration mean to you?
MVL: The modern woman takes her time to realize her dreams. In that journey she will involve other women. Call it sisterhood. These values IWC and Harper’s Bazaar share and are the starting point in making these incredible women visible, to encourage them and also to inspire other women. Time is precious. Both IWC and Harper’s Bazaar realize this and encourage ambitious women to live their dreams now.
AD: What’s next?
MVL: The nominees’ shortlist was announced on September 10th on Harper’s Bazaar – and this year we want to hear from our readers: for the first time, everyone will be able to vote for their role model via our website on October 15th.
The winners of the Women of the Year award will be invited to the Harper’s Bazaar Talks, giving readers the chance to hear from them directly.
IWC and Harper’s Bazaar welcome the Table of Twelve
Setting for the Table of Twelve
Setting for the Table of Twelve
Harper’s Bazaar Editor-in-Chief Miluska van ’t Lam with jury members
Els van der Plas, member of the Table of Twelve
Stephanie Afrifa, member of the Table of Twelve
The Table of Twelve discuss Women of the Year nominees
The Table of Twelve
IWC Ambassador Anna Drijver
Mizzi van der Pluijm, member of the Table of Twelve
Members of the Table of Twelve
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