By Spencer Beck | April 18, 2017 | People
In testosterone-fueled Tinseltown, meet three women who have broken through the celluloid ceiling.
Life’s a beach for producer/bodybuilder/ Hollywood wonder woman Dany Garcia, who is exec-producing this May’s killer comedy, Baywatch (the movie!), starring her ex-husband and biz partner, Dwayne Johnson, as well as Zac Efron and Alexandra Daddario.
On the silver screen, women have held their own in Hollywood for years. In the front office, not so much. These days, the fairer sex is kicking up their game big-time, one designer high-heel at a time. This May, wonder woman/powerhouse Dany Garcia, cofounder of Seven Bucks Productions (and a pro bodybuilder in her spare time!) is exec-producing the much-anticipated Baywatch, starring her ex-husband and biz partner, Dwayne Johnson, Hollywood’s highest-paid actor.
Another tough gal, actress-turned-producer Leah Remini is reinventing herself once again, this time partnering with A&E for the buzzy round two of her gutsy memoir-turned-documentary, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. And upstairs at MGM, Senior VP Shelley Reid somehow finds time to lead Visionary Women, a nonprofit that supports women’s initiatives, as well as chair the biggest fashion event in LA, the Otis College of Art & Design Annual Scholarship Benefit and Fashion Show. Who says brawn, brains, and beauty are mutually exclusive? Not any of these power gals.
DANY GARCIA, 48 THE PRODUCER
How much of success is timing and luck? It isn’t—it’s being rooted authentically in what you want to execute.
Do you feel women in Hollywood are underrepresented? Absolutely! Every discussion benefits from a woman’s perspective at the table.
If you were mentoring a young woman starting in the Industry today, what would your advice be? Be comfortable with the delivery of your point of view, and surround yourself with supportive people who believe deeply in what you’re doing.
Who is your ideal employee? One who understands no great thing is ever accomplished alone.
Do you have any regrets? Not trusting myself sooner and at a younger age.
What’s the secret to juggling a powerhouse business, family, and hobbies (like bodybuilding!)? Creating an environment that supports everything you want to do and weeding out the things that don’t.
Favorite movies? Historically and into the future, it’s pretty much the entire Disney animated slate!
Do you have a secret spot in LA? The Hotel Bel-Air, because it was my first “home away from home” in Los Angeles. The staff makes the visit feel like I’m with family.
What are the three things you still want to do? There are millions! But up next is writing a book, expanding my partnerships in the health and fitness industry… and investing in restaurants!
SHELLEY REID, THE PHILANTHROPIST
The lion queen: Shelley Reid, MGM Studios’ high-powered executive VP of television business and legal affairs, puts her Master’s degree in social ethics from USC to good use with a number of philanthropic causes, including Visionary Women, where she is president.
What’s the key to success?
Doing what you are passionate about!
How much is timing and luck? Timing and some good luck are important, but they are both linked to instinct, which will tell you when to grab an opportunity.
Do you feel women are under-represented in Hollywood? Yes! Do the math.
What’s your greatest accomplishment? Surviving my second marriage.
What advice would you give a young woman starting out in the Industry today? To not be afraid to behave like a woman—success doesn’t require imitating a man.
What’s your dearest women’s cause? Visionary Women. We are doing great things—hosting salons on topics specific to women, mentoring girls, and using our funds and influence to support initiatives for women.
You do an enormous amount of philanthropy… I was brought up that we all have an obligation to help those less fortunate—I am very grateful for my life and it hurts me to see others struggle.
What is your favorite secret spot in LA? It’s a secret. But I will tell you my favorite place for lunch: Petrossian on Robertson!
What are three films you can’t live without? The King’s Speech, any Matt Damon Bourne movie, and The Queen.
Finish this thought: When I travel, the thing I miss most about LA is… Valet parking!
LEAH REMINI, 46, THE PROVOCATEUR
Emmy for Remini? Actress, comedian, and tough lady Leah Remini goes for another round in the spotlight this summer with her critically acclaimed exposé, Scientology and the Aftermath, a big win for cable network A&E.
What’s the key to “making it?” Being authentic. And not giving up, mostly. Success is less about talent [than] tenacity.
Do you feel women are under-represented in Hollywood? As in the business world, there is a disparity in what women get paid in comparison to their male counterparts. [And] women are held to a different standard. They are expected not to age and not gain weight and then are often punished for it. Whereas leading men who are aging are celebrated and often cast with young women as their costars.
What’s your greatest achievement? Raising a daughter who questions everything. Me, her dad, authority. As challenging and annoying as that can be, we want to raise a strong, independent person who doesn’t just accept what she is told.
Your greatest regret? Not wearing more short shorts when I didn’t have cellulite.
How do you juggle acting and producing with family? Hire people.
“I’m happiest when I’m…” Eating anything fattening. But then that quickly turns to regret, but for the moments it’s going down, very happy.
“I’m a strong woman because…” I can say that I am not always strong.
If you hadn’t gone into show business, what would you have done? Advocate for victims. My husband said I should have been an interrogator for the CIA!
What’s the number one thing on your bucket list you haven’t yet accomplished? Being calm. No matter where I am or what I am doing, my mind never stops. What are the movies or TV shows you just can’t live without? Game of Thrones. And Game of Thrones.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAIME CHALEM (GARCIA); FRANK MASI © 2017 PARAMOUNT PICTURES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (FILM STILLS)