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Glamour's Women of the Year Awards: J.Lo, Jennifer Aniston, Donatella, and More

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Photo credit: Getty Images

Last night, we attended the 21st annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall. It's an event where women dress in their finest, for other women, so that they can honor even more women. (There are also always a few men there—most of them seem to be gay or Mayor Bloomberg). Each year, the winners are an eclectic mix of celebs, politicos, designers and human rights activists. We usually arrive excited about seeing the celebs, but leave most impressed by the female activists who are actually changing the world.

The first winner, Tory Burch, was honored for her success in business and philanthropy. Tory was introduced by Jessica Alba. We presume that both were attired in Tory's eponymous brand. Other designers were there as presenters—Marc Jacobs seemed to tear up while presenting an award to photographer Cindy Sherman, who had filmed commercials for him. One of last year's recipients, Donatella Versace ,introduced this year's winner, Jennifer Lopez. Donatella said something, we think it was about J-Lo's legendary green jungle Grammys dress, but due to her accent, we couldn't quite tell you what. Somehow with Donatella, that just makes it more fun.

There were other winners from the entertainment field, as well. Glee's Lea Michele, who was inducted by her Broadway and television costar Jonathan Groff, surprised us. Not by what she said, but by how she said it. Let's just say Lea's real life speaking voice sounds more like a teenager's voice than her character Rachel's does.

And speaking of TV's Rachels, later in the evening, Jennifer Aniston came out and said, "I rarely comment on my personal life, but I'm here to tell you I'm madly in love—with Chelsea Handler." The comedienne accepted her award in a tight fitting, mega-cleavage exposing navy jumpsuit. Chelsea has her detractors, but we would like to give her props. There are very few women writers working in late night. In fact, some shows have none (we're looking at you Bill Maher!), but Chelsea hires a lot of women comedy writers.

Also inducted were the activists and politicos. Feminist icon, and Ms. Magazine founder, Gloria Steinem, accepted a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. She was wearing red velvet pants and looking better at 77 than most of us look in our twenties. Is commenting on a woman's appearance sexist? We think looking good and feeling good about the way you look is empowering. And Gloria obviously does both. The legend was inducted by Anita Hill, legendary in her own right, who the crowd went wild over.

We wonder if Anita Hill and Condoleezza Rice often find themselves on the same stage. We're guessing not, but last night they did. Condi awarded the former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughters Barbara and Jenna with The Generations Award, for their work supporting women's health around the world. We had no idea the Bush women were such social activists. It made us wonder what the former President is doing with his retirement.

The award recipient we were most looking forward to seeing was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. We assumed she'd be making her second public appearance since the shooting, but sadly, the congresswoman was not in shape to attend. So her husband, Astronaut Mark Kelly and her two stepdaughters accepted her award for her from Diane Sawyer. Kelly told us, "Yesterday she went over my remarks...she's still the congresswoman."

Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington was inducted by her former bridesmaid, Barbara Walters. Arianna shared an anecdote about how she had been living in London and dating the journalist Bernard Levin for seven years, and she wanted to have kids but he didn't. She left him and came to New York. She said that all her success happened, "Because a man wouldn't marry me," which got a big laugh from the appreciative audience. Her ex-husband, the former Senatorial Candidate Michael Hufffington, wasn't mentioned.

The most moving winners of the night were the two who were the least well known. Withelma "T" Ortiz-Macey, a former child prostitute who has worked tirelessly to stop human trafficking, inspired the teenage girls who filled the top balcony with her courage and belief in herself. We were also very moved by Esraa Abdel Fattah, the formerly jailed "Facebook Girl," who basically started Arab Spring. Esraa was nominated for a Noble peace prize earlier this year, and Kerry Washington, who introduced her, predicted that someday she'd win one. Esraa said, "I think it is just a matter of time before I see a woman as a leader of my country." We agree and we hope Egypt's first female leader is her.
· Glamour Magazine [Official Site]