2015 Honoree

Alexandra Pelosi

Emmy-winning filmmaker, author

“…I respect faith, but you can’t have it both ways. If you really are pro-life, then you should support some gun control. You can’t cherry pick the bible to fit your political agenda.”

Who inspires you the most?

People are always telling me that my mom (Nancy Pelosi) is their role-model and she deserves credit for being supportive of my work (George Bush once told me, “I have to hand it to your mom, she never broke your spirit”). But, the woman who has led my career is Sheila Nevins, the president of HBO Documentary Films. In my family, we call her my “TV Mom.” The most important thing my TV mom has taught me is something that my own mom tells me all the time: when you leave your children to go to work, tell them the truth. We don’t go to work because we have to, we go because we want to. That is the secret power of working women.

Fill in the blank: You can never have enough

Good energy.

What gets you through even the toughest days and what are you most grateful for?

If you look at any successful person, there always seems to be a supportive spouse who has their back. Since I was a little girl, I always said I was never going to get married, I never bought into the fairy tale. But, then I met this Dutch guy who is a gem of a man and I haven’t had a bad day since. Of course we all have bad moments, but if you have someone to go home to, you can always turn that bad day around!

Although there is supposed to be a separation between Church & State, religion still seems to govern many political decisions regarding women–abortions, birth control, etc. –usually from men. What is the best approach to shift power over women’s bodies to women?

The only way we are going to make a change is by electing more women. Women have different priorities than men and they bring a totally different perspective to our government. The church and the government both need to lead the way by opening their doors to women. I respect faith, but you can’t have it both ways. If you want to be pro-life, you have to take care of that life once its born, you have to support education and nutrition assistance so that kids don’t go to bed hungry. If you want to have a war, you have to take care of the veterans when they come home. If you really are pro-life, then you should support some gun control. You can’t cherry pick the bible to fit your political agenda.

What is your best read? Favorite character you would most like to be?

Forgive me, but I have young kids so the only books I’m reading these days are picture books. That said, there is no better book than Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” I would like to be the little girl who shouts out, “The emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.”

What will it take for women to be viewed as equal to men? Are sexist jokes problematic, and how do you feel about people’s view that women should just “lighten up” about them?

Winning is the best revenge. Women will not be viewed as equal until we beat the men at their own game. As far as I’m concerned, the two funniest women on TV are Amy Schumer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, so I don’t care what bad, sexist jokes the men are making, these women are funnier. They are winning.

What was your best decision to date? Worst decision?

The worst decision I ever made was resisting the internet. It was so embarrassing when I was trying to help my eight year old do his homework on–line and he had to teach me how to do it. You have to adapt or die.

Within the past few years, social media has exploded. How can women use it to market themselves without seeming narcissistic?

You are asking the wrong gal. I am not on Facebook or Twitter or any of the social media sights because I can bake the pie or I can sell the pie, but I can’t sell my own pie. If anyone really cared what I had to say, they would watch my documentaries and read my books. But, I realize that I sound like a dinosaur.

Write a fortune…

Can I plagiarize Teddy Roosevelt? “It is not the critic who counts. The credit belongs to the woman who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again.” (Of course Teddy said “man”–but, it’s my fortune so I’ll say “woman”).