NEW YORK—Marriott’s W Hotels brand announced a next step for ‘What She Said’—the brand’s initiative that celebrates femininity. Since launching in 2016, What She Said has given a platform to cultural icons like Diane von Furstenberg, Jenna Lyons, Rachel Zoe, LeToya Luckett, Tig Notaro, Cheryl Hines, and NIIA, among others, with more than 40 events to date.
W Hotels says that as conversations in society evolve, so too will the What She Said platform, which will focus on providing spaces for conversations around gender equality. In addition to panels hosted with industry experts around the world, the brand says that it will host at least one dinner each month, bringing behind-closed-doors conversations about modern issues of equality to the global stage through curated podcasts, videos, and live-streamed content.
“W Hotels has always been a bold advocate and active participant in global conversations around equality,” says Anthony Ingham, global brand leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “The next iteration of What She Said will once again offer a global platform for essential conversations to be heard, navigating the challenges and triumphs of work, love, play, and everything in between. This is a defining time for gender equality, not just in the U.S., and our global presence gives us the opportunity to foster meaningful discussions in a safe space, rooted in the idea that change comes from a place of understanding and positivity.”
W will kick off its 2018 What She Said program on February 23 at W Hollywood, where writer, producer, and director Ava DuVernay will take stage. Spoken word poet Olivia Gatwood will start off the evening with a live performance followed by DuVernay, who will hold a discussion around work, life, and femininity with a private audience. DuVernay is the director of Disney’s upcoming film “A Wrinkle in Time,” and the first African-American woman to direct a live-action film with a budget of more than $100 million.
“We still have a lot of work to do. We have a long way to go before we reach a state of equality and platforms like What She Said are helping to do the work,” says DuVernay. “Like film, conversations like these can be a vehicle for empathy, a place to speak honestly about difficult aspects of society today, and, perhaps most importantly, a space to celebrate one another.”
What She Said will continue the conversation each month at W hotels around the world, covering a range of topics with industry experts in the fields of art, design, architecture, fashion, and fitness. Highlights from the 2018 schedule include:
- March 5, 2018: W Boston, Women in Fitness, conversation with Olympian Nastia Liukin and local celebrity chef and James Beard Award Winner, Jody Adams
- March 7, 2018: W Dubai–Al Habtoor City & W London–Leicester Square, International Women’s Day celebration
- April 12, 2018: W Amsterdam, Design Panel with designers Antoinette van den Berg, Spijkers & Spijkers, Alexandra Frida, Bibi van der Velden and Loes Vrij
- May 12-20, 2018: W New York–Times Square, Women in Architecture, in partnership with NYC Design Pavilion and NYC Design Week
Photo: W Hotels ‘What She Said’ event