Twice a year, Variety highlights five prominent women who are using their clout and influence to bring attention to worthy causes—and for fall 2017, Dermstore is a proud sponsor of this event. “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins will be honored for her work with Anti-Recidivism Coalition, along with fellow honorees singer Kelly Clarkson and actresses Priyanka Chopra, Octavia Spencer and Michelle Pfeiffer.
When Patty Jenkins started working on Wonder Woman, she had no idea how much influence and power it would have and the crucial conversations it would spark. “It was sort of incredible; I feel like we’re standing in this crossroads of a conversation that wants to happen,” she says. “They want to talk about all kinds of things as it relates to equality, to women, to female power, female leadership, their ability to be successful without being defined by men.”
With a female director and a female lead, Wonder Woman became more than a blockbuster superhero film. It became the face and symbol of female empowerment. But as inspiring and empowering the character of Wonder Woman is, it’s not the only superhero story that Patty wants to tell—and that’s why she dedicated herself to the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), a movement that provides a support network for formerly incarcerated young men and women.
“When I made the film Monster, I became acquainted with the prison system,” explains Patty in the Variety Uncovered interview, presented by Dermstore. “I became educated in how incredibly difficult it can be for people to get out of prison even though they are innocent. In the course of working on that film, I met an incredible guy named Scott Budnick who was really doing unbelievable things to correct the prison system in the state of California and start the ARC foundation.”
Aside from advocating for fairer criminal justice policies, ARC also offers guidance and care to returning individuals. Through providing education, support and tools, ARC helps youths who are paroling to have an actual chance to get out of a life that might get them back to prison.
“Everybody wants to be a hero,” says Patty. “Very few people are born wanting to be a lifelong prisoner. But if they’re given a path out, everybody can be the hero in their story.”
When it comes to her own career and successes, Patty references advice she got very early on while training to be a camera person. “‘It’s relentlessly difficult,'” she remembers that person saying. “But if you love it, then you have to embrace the fact that it’s a completely different lifestyle.” While juggling her personal and professional schedule, she says she “tries to give the best I can, every moment I can, when I’m not working.”
Watch the rest of Patty’s interview and more behind-the-scenes action from the Wonder Woman set below.