Lunching with the stars

Oscar winner Octavia Spencer earns starring role in Dallas' buzziest spring luncheon

Oscar winner Octavia Spencer gets starring role in hot Dallas luncheon

Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer will be this year's celebrity speaker. Photo courtesy of Genesis

Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer will be the keynote speaker for Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support's 28th Annual Luncheon, the Dallas nonprofit revealed January 13. The event — always one of Dallas' biggest and most highly anticipated afternoon fundraisers of the year — will take place virtually May 7, 2021.

Genesis is known for bringing star power to its luncheon, and Spencer joins a highly respected list of past speakers that includes Condoleezza Rice, Tyler Perry, Hilary Swank, and most recently, Nicole Kidman. The event chairs are Megan Steinbach and Fran Maddox.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Megan and Fran to present keynote speaker and award-winning actress Octavia Spencer at our 28th Genesis Annual Luncheon,” says Jan Langbein, CEO of Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support, in a release. 

One of Hollywood’s most in-demand actresses, Spencer is best known for her portrayal of Minny in the film The Help, for which she won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

She also starred in the highly acclaimed dramas Hidden Figures (2016) and The Shape of Water (2017). Recent TV credits include the lead role in the Apple TV+ drama series Truth Be Told (2019-present), and a portrayal of Madam C. J. Walker in the Netflix limited series Self Made (2020), for which she received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.

She's also become a highly coveted speaker at Dallas events since she won her Oscar, having delivered keynotes at the 2017 Junior League of Dallas Milestones Luncheon and the Educational First Steps 25th anniversary celebration in 2015.

“Octavia Spencer has been a champion of shining a light on gender and race inequality throughout the decades,” Langbein says. “Her acting career has brilliantly demonstrated women who against all odds find strength and courage to overcome personal and societal roadblocks. We look forward to her message of hope and help, understanding that together we take one step closer toward equality and safety for all women.”

The annual luncheon supports Genesis Women's Shelter's mission to provide safety, shelter, and support for women who have experienced domestic violence, and to raise awareness regarding its cause, prevalence, and impact.

The 2021 Genesis Women’s Shelter Luncheon will take place virtually, 11:30 am-1 pm May 7. Sponsorships begin at $1,750. Individual tickets will go on sale in March. For more information, visit