The morning after watching her husband, Keith Urban, open the ACM Awards show in Frisco with an electrifying performance, Nicole Kidman turned up her own star power as the keynote speaker for Genesis Women's Shelter & Support's 30th annual Luncheon.
About 1,500 guests gathered at Dallas' Hilton Anatole on Friday, May 12 for the beloved spring fundraiser.
It was "take two" for Genesis and Kidman. She had been scheduled to headline the organization's 2020 luncheon, which got canceled due to COVID and pivoted to a virtual conversation with the Oscar-winning actress. Luckily, she could come back in person.
Kidman first posed for photos with VIPs at a reception before the ballroom opened for lunch.
After guests took their seats, the DeSoto High School Choir - under the direction of Grammy Award-winning choir director Pamela Dawson - kicked things off with a rousing performance of “Revolution.”
Genesis chief development officer Amy Norton and luncheon co-chairs Monica and Brent Christopher welcomed visitors and acknowledged special guests, and the Rev. Dr. Sheron Patterson gave an invocation before the three-course meal was served.
The highlight of the afternoon was an on-stage conversation between Genesis CEO Jan Langbein and Kidman. Besides being an award-winning actress and global superstar, Kidman has been a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Development Fund for Women for 17 years.
They discussed a variety of topics including Kidman's involvement with the UN and her desire to fight for women’s rights globally; how her parents shaped her perspective on life; notable roles she has portrayed that show the complexities of womanhood; and how she balances her professional life with her home life.
Some highlights of Kidman's interview:
On how to help each other in the fight against domestic violence: “Reach out for help…because a lot of times I think the loneliness and the isolation [can feel like] ‘where do I go for help?’ There are helplines and there is solid available help, so reach out. And even reaching out to a friend, and then as a friend going, ‘I know what to recommend for you to do right now.’”
On why she selects some of the more intense roles she’s portrayed: “Half the time people don’t want to see those stories, but if they actually go through [the story] and see it, then they build compassion and they build understanding, and somehow I do believe that helps the world. So I seek out these roles not so you go and torture people, but so you create a connection and go, ‘How do we move in closer to each other and understand each other and what we’re all going through?’ Because we’re all going through things – very different things, but there’s enormous tragedy in life, as we all know, there’s enormous joy, and we’re on the journey together. We can help each other.”
On how she approached her character Celeste’s mindset toward abuse in Big Little Lies: “I think the thing with so much abuse is even acknowledging it, the awareness that it is abuse. I think for Celeste, and this is something that I learned, is that there is so much self-blame and a lot of times disassociation where ‘it’s not me that’s in an abusive relationship – it may be that person or that person is, but I’m not.’”
All told, the 30th annual event raised $1.1 million for Genesis, which annually serves thousands of women and children at its emergency shelter, transitional housing apartments, and nonresidential counseling office.
Notable attendees included Boots Nolan, Nancy Best, Sheila Grant Kenneth Aboussie, Kamela Aboussie, Barbara Smith, Sheree J. Wilson, Sheree J. Wilson, Mary Bowman Campbell, Sally Dutter, Yvette Martinez, Leigh Anne Haugh, Michael Horne, Marissa Horne, Justyna Oymerska, and more than 1,400 more patrons, supporters, and guests.
For more information about Genesis Women's Shelter & Support, visit the organization's website.