NEW YORK - Sandra Kyong Bradbury was star struck. She had just spied Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg a few feet away.
"How can you top that?" asked Bradbury, a New York City neonatal nurse who had helped evacuate infants from a hospital that lost power during the height of Superstorm Sandy. She was amazed that she was being honored at the same event as a Supreme Court justice - the annual Glamour Women of the Year awards, where stars of film, TV, fashion and sports share the stage with lesser-known women who have equally impressive achievements to their name.
Few events bring together such an eclectic group of honorees, not to mention presenters. At the Carnegie Hall ceremony Monday night, HBO star Lena Dunham, creator of "Girls" and a heroine to a younger generation, was introduced by Chelsea Handler and paid tribute in her speech to Nora Ephron, who died earlier this year. Ethel Kennedy was praised by her daughter, Rory, who has made a film about her famous mother. Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, 17, was honored along with swimming phenom Missy Franklin, also 17, and other Olympic athletes, introduced by singer Mary J. Blige and serenaded by American Idol winner Phillip Phillips. Singer-actress Selena Gomez was lauded by her friend, the actor Ethan Hawke.
Award recipients and Olympic athletes, from left, Allyson Felix, Kayla Harrison, Gabby Douglas, Carli Lloyd and Missy Franklin appear onstage at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards on Monday, in New York.
But the most moving moments of the Glamour awards, now in their 22nd year, are often those involving people of whom the audience hasn't heard. This year, the most touching moment came when one honoree, Pakistani activist and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, brought onstage a woman who'd been the victim of an acid attack in her native Pakistan. Obaid-Chinoy won this year's documentary short Oscar for a film about disfiguring acid attacks on Pakistani women by the men in their lives.
The evening carried reminders of Superstorm Sandy, with Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker introducing some 20 women who'd been heavily involved in storm relief work. "They held us together when Sandy tried to blow us apart," Booker said. The women worked for organizations like the American Red Cross, but also smaller volunteer groups like Jersey City Sandy Recovery, an impromptu group formed by three women in Jersey City, N.J., who wanted a way to help storm-ravaged communities.
Singer-rapper Pharrell Williams introduced one of his favorite architects, the Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid, 62, who designed the aquatic center for the London Olympics and is now at work on 43 projects around the world.
Activist Erin Merryn was honored for her work increasing awareness of child sex abuse - a horror she had endured during her own childhood. A law urging schools to educate children about sex abuse prevention, Erin's Law, has now passed in four states. "I won't stop until I get it passed in all 50 states," Merryn insisted in her speech.