BEVERLY HILLS – Elizabeth Perkins feels the more things change for women in Hollywood and in the media landscape, the more things seem to remain stagnant.
The longtime Hollywood actress has seen a lot in her over 35-year career performing for television and film as well as being at the forefront of empowering women in show business and the multitude of avenues that cover the industry.
Perkins spoke to Fox News on Tuesday at the 44th annual Gracie Awards at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif., about why she continues to be an advocate for change within an industry where women haven’t always gotten a fair shake.
“Well, I feel like empowering women in media is very much like one step up, two steps back. And once we can get to two steps up and one step back, we’ll be making some headway,” said Perkins, at the swanky Gala presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. “Since I’ve been doing this for 35 years, I’ve seen how far we have come. But I also see how much we’re going to have to fight to continue to get that kind of solid representation as women in the media.”
Perkins, 58, was presented with an award for her supporting role in the HBO limited original series “Sharp Objects,” and with her well-earned Gracie in tow, told us that her fight is everlasting and only hopes it will continue through generations of actresses to come.
“That’s something I’ll fight for until I stop doing this and beyond because that’s what people here represent – empowering women since 1951. And telling women stories and uniting women as a common front. And I guess once we don’t need organizations like this anymore to empower us, we’ll start to be on equal footing.”
The multiple-time Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award-nominated performer said she places greater value in being on the frontlines of change and recognized for speaking out in favor of women who are afraid to themselves than receiving accolades for her work on screen.
“I feel like I’ve been fighting for women’s rights most of my career, and I’m making choices about how I want to represent myself on the screen and to pitch the stories that I choose to tell has been very important to me and I’m really honored that they’re recognizing that,” Perkins explained.
“I think my biggest accomplishment in this industry is that I’ve been doing it for 35 years. You know, media can be an environment that chews people up and spits them out. And it is organizations like this that have your back the whole way,” she continued. “And because you have that kind of support and that backbone, you’re able to stay for 35 years and be yourself and accomplish everything you wanted to accomplish. And so I’m very grateful for people like this.”
When asked how she deals with the frustrations of being an outspoken woman in Hollywood and what she does to keep herself sharp, the “Weeds” alum said that while she’s a sucker for a good book, her physical and mental health always come first.
“Well, I’m a Type 1 diabetic, so my health is daily. I’m battling a disease 24/7. The biggest stress relief for me is meditation, I don’t start my day without it. You know; just learning to be quiet – just be quiet,” she said. “You don’t have to be doing something every moment of every day to feel accomplished. So I have [meditated] for 15 minutes every morning before I even have my coffee, that’s what I do. I just sit quietly. Our world is way too fast and moving way too fast. And it helps me calm down.”
Among other women honored at the 44th Annual Gracies were actress Leah Remini, radio host Angela Yee, actress Christina Hendricks, sports journalist Hannah Storm and actress Rachel Bloom. The awards gala was hosted by comedian and “Superstore” actress Lauren Ash and also featured a live performance by nine-time Grammy Award-winning songstress Sheryl Crow.