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Dasha Burobina

So Long Mean Girls, 2023 Is the Year of the Hype Woman

It was the clip shared ‘round the world: During the 80th Golden Globe Awards, Michelle Yeoh—who waited 40 years to land a lead role in a Hollywood film—finally (finally!) got her due, winning the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy thanks to her performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Yeoh’s moving acceptance speech went viral, of course, but later that night, another moment surfaced. It was the split-second reaction of Yeoh’s costar (and fellow nominee from the film) Jamie Lee Curtis. How to describe it? Erin Gallagher, CEO and founder of gender equity company Ella, put it best: Curtis—who lost in her category for what it’s worth—was Yeoh’s “unabashed hype woman.”

Gallagher’s LinkedIn post on the topic also went viral, but she credits all this virality to the look on Curtis’s face—her “excitement, joy and passion” for Michelle was “palpable.” If you saw it out of context, you’d actually think it was Curtis who won, she was that genuine in cheering on her colleague and friend.

Gallagher’s call to action? “Ladies, this is your vibe for 2023. Find your Jamie. Hype their Jamie. Be her Jamie.”

Other celebs seem to be hearing this plea and living it. Suddenly, we’ve got Taylor Swift shouting out SZA on IG stories. We’ve got Lisa Ann Walter and Elaine Hendrix combating the Parent Trap narrative at the SAG Awards. We’ve even got the somewhat eyeroll-inducing (though heart-in-the-right-place) Ariana DeBose BAFTA rap written to honor women in film (which, ironically, Curtis also commended). What was it about one star cheering on another that helped crystalize the deep-rooted benefits of loudly and proudly lifting each other up?

“There was something about that photo that delivered a physical representation of what hyping another woman looks like,” Gallagher explained in a conversation over Zoom. “We simply don’t see it often enough.”

Instead, she laments, women have been conditioned their whole lives to buy into the scarcity mindset. Especially in corporate cultures, where female leaders are few and far between, we’ve been taught to view other women as threats, our competition. “Another woman’s success is a detraction from our own,” Gallagher adds.

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How grim is it? Well, at the beginning of 2023 we learned that, for the first-time in its seven-decade history, the total number of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies is above 10 percent which, while a milestone, is still woefully disproportionate. (And of those 53 women at the helm, only a handful of them are women of color.) According to the “Women in the Workplace” report, published in December 2022 by McKinsey and LeanIn, only 1 in 4 C-Suite leaders is a woman and only 1 in 20 is a woman of color, a gap brought on by what the report refers to as the “broken rung” in the corporate ladder—for every 100 men that are promoted from an entry level position to management, only 87 women are promoted. (Only 82 women of color are promoted.) And let’s not forget the impact of the Great Resignation on the representation of women in the workforce.

This “battle of the babes” was mirrored in pop culture for years, both on and off the screen with TV shows ranging from Beverly Hills 90210 to Desperate Housewives and pseudo-wars that pitted Christina against Britney, Jennifer against Angelina. That type of ‘90s and early aughts anti-feminism is certainly on the outs, but it feels like it took a Jamie to truly reset the course.

The question then becomes, can we normal people take the lessons of our celebrity sisters and implement them in our own professional environments?

Evelyn Rodstein, an executive career coach and leadership expert who has worked in a range of Fortune 100 companies including KPMG and JP Morgan Chase thinks we can, and that it’s in everyone’s best interest. Rodstein, who began her career in the 1980s, remembers a time when she was managing director at a big firm and felt herself pitted against the only other female managing director; they fought constantly, mainly about getting equal time with the CEO. Finally, however, something caused a sea change, and they both admitted it would be better to align—to hype each other, really—a move that bolstered the business and their own careers. “We were both working mothers and sat in our office and asked each other, ‘Are you tired?’ ‘Yeah, I’m tired.’ We shifted our approach to helping each other and doors opened up.”

Rodstein thinks this specific post-pandemic moment is particularly ripe for making such a change. “Women thrive on connection and we were so isolated from each other during COVID,” she says. “Generosity of spirit is now just seeping out of our pores.” Of course, in order to feel that generosity of spirit, she adds, it helps to first feel confident about your own power and success.

Curtis certainly does—she’s found space for herself and can now use her voice to make space for others. “It’s energizing and creates a virtuous circle,” Rodstein notes.

But lack of confidence and the scarcity mindset aren’t the only barriers that block women from supporting each other. “We’re wired differently from men,” Dee Poku Spalding, founder of the WIE Suite, a private membership-based community for women in leadership, acknowledges. “Men don’t need to like you to do business with you. My husband will meet someone and within five minutes, they’ve made introductions and are exchanging business cards. Women have to have three coffees first—it takes us a bit longer to trust. I don’t know where those norms come from, but we need to get rid of them.”

Another major factor holding us back? Time, bandwidth and the mental load. A recent study conducted by the medical journal The Lancet Public Health concluded that women spend about four and a half hours a day caring for their families and homes—double the amount of men. We’re also most impacted by the lack of affordable childcare and paid leave. In other words, who can go around amping up their colleagues when they don’t have enough time to sign the kids up for camp, let alone finish their actual work? “It’s an attention problem,” says Spalding. “Men have this ability to free up their minds from all they have to do and think in a singular way about what’s right for them in that moment and do it. Women have the weight of the world on their shoulders.”

Systematic racism, misogyny and heteronormativity are also in play. “Straight white women are as close as anyone can be to a straight white man, which is the archetype for the person who has the most power and influence,” Gallagher says. “So, if success is built upon access—and we know statistically that it is—straight white women have the most to lose and often impede the progress of other non-white women. It’s essential to acknowledge and push back on that.”

So, how do we go about hyping women in the face of a history that’s taught us not to? Rodstein resurfaced a terrific example from the Obama White House. When he took office, two thirds of his administration were men—and the women complained that they had to elbow their way into meetings. According to the Washington Post, once in the room, those female staffers came up with a meeting strategy they called ‘amplification’ or hyping each other up. When a woman made a key point, these women amplifiers repeated it and gave credit to the author. (This forced men to recognize the contribution and not claim it as their own.) Obama noticed too, and began calling more often on his female aids.

But it’s not all presidential accolades. Hyping each other starts with the little things, Gallagher says. “It’s about taking that extra step to say that woman’s name when she’s not in the room, to send that email that showcases the work that she did, tout her accomplishments on LinkedIn—there are so many small steps to take.”

They also don’t only apply to the boardroom. You could post about a friend’s new jewelry line on Instagram. You could email your school’s principal to rave about your child’s teacher. You could also simply choose to consistently speak well of the women in your orbit, even if your gut instinct is to judge or compare.

After all, for as long as we can remember, we’ve been taught to compete, but what if—as women—we simply made a decision to handle things differently? “That conditioning isn’t our fault,” Gallagher maintains. “But we don’t have to listen anymore.”

The Hype Board A place to sound off about the women we want to hype


Reshma Saujani, CEO & Founder, Moms First

Who is your hype woman? Lizzo! A few months ago, Lizzo won the People’s Champion Award at the People’s Choice Awards and used her speech to invite me and 16 other activists to share the stage with her. She hyped me and the organization I founded, Moms First, by name. It was truly surreal.

Who do you want to hype? I’m hyping Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, this year because I’m obsessed with women telling their stories in unapologetic ways and leading with their motherhood—two things she exemplifies. She’s also been an incredible supporter of Moms First.


Eve Rodsky, Author, Fair Play

Who is your hype woman? Reese Witherspoon. When she chose Fair Play for Reese’s Book Club in 2019, she changed my life. Especially pre-pandemic, very few people were speaking about the overwhelm and burnout affecting women conditioned to do it all. Reese took a chance on me.

Who do you want to hype? I want to shout out Ai-Jen Poo, Fatima Goss Graves, Chamber of Mothers, Shannon Watts, Gretchen Whitmer—all are advocates for women and moms. Keep fighting.


Dee Poku Spalding, CEO & Founder, The Wie Suite

Who is your hype woman? My best friend Céline. We met 30 years ago in London and have been friends—and each other’s number one fan—for years. She’s the person that I can go to with the shittiest stuff, but also the humble (or not so humble) brags. That openness is energizing because she won’t think less of me either way.”

Who do you want to hype? Stacie Henderson is a dear friend who just became CMO of Tod’s. She’s so talented and giving and has worked so hard and is so deserving of this role. I’m thrilled for her and her success.


Neha Ruch, Founder, Mother Untitled

Who is your hype woman? My mom. It sounds cliché, but having a steady female figure who saw and accepted all of me and believed I could be anything gave me the self-trust to follow my intuition, even (and especially!) when choosing a non-linear path.

Who do you want to hype? I just announced my forthcoming book, The Power Pause, so I want to hype the women giving their time and talent to help me build the Mother Untitled movement. Julia Edelstein, my brilliant co-writer on The Power Pause, and Lizzie Goodman, my thoughtful Editorial Director, who runs all things on the Mother Untitled site. They bring so much experience and the work is better because of them.


Erin Gallagher, Founder & CEO, Ella

Who is your hype woman? Myself—but only after 20 years of therapy. I turned 40 in March and this phrase kept coming to me that said, ‘I will no longer abandon myself in service to others.’ When I said no, I discovered there was a hype woman inside of me that had always put myself lower on the rungs of priorities.

Who do you want to hype? I want to hype the women within the Fairway community we’re building at Ella. It’s built on the premise that if all women make more money, everyone wins. We just need to create more access to opportunities and human and financial capital for women (particularly women of color) to achieve the full potential they have, which is limitless.


Hitha Palepu, CEO, Rhoshan Pharmaceuticals

Who is your hype woman? My dear friend Esther Ayorinde. She’s a fellow consummate multi-hyphenate (entrepreneur, investor, speaker, philanthropist, former tech executive…and NFL & NBA dancer). More importantly, she’s the first person to send a congratulatory text and post on social media when any of her friends has a big win.

Who do you want to hype? Esther. I’m hyping her in 2023 because her startup, GrowthQ—which is basically the ‘’ for sales professionals looking to find mentorship and full-time/fractional roles—is providing incredible value in a tough employment market for technology workers. She’s going to change the world and I’ll be cheering her on.


Laura Dave, Author, The Last Thing He Told Me

Who is your hype woman? My friend Dana, who I’ve known since I was three. It’s an amazing experience to have a friend witness your entire life while being a witness to hers. She loves me for who I am and never lets me stray from my purest, most authentic happiness.

Who do you want to hype? I want to hype Jennifer Garner—not that she needs it. Who doesn’t adore Jennifer Garner? I was lucky enough to have her portray the main character of my novel in the upcoming Apple+ limited series. Watching her bring such strength, humanity and nuance to the role has been one of the greatest joys of my professional life.


Tina Wells, Founder of RLVNT Media & Author, The Elevation Approach

Who is your hype woman? My dear friend, Ashley Bekton. She’s one of the smartest businesswomen I know. When I was stuck in a rut trying to navigate my next move from marketing into building my own brands, she was the hype woman every woman deserves.

Who do you want to hype? My friend Carla Vernón, who recently started her journey as the new CEO of Honest Company. What a brilliant, energizing leader.


Peyton List, Actor, School Spirits

Who is your hype woman? Sarah Yarkin. She’s an actress who was on School Spirits with me and we lived across the hall from each other in Vancouver while filming. She is a person that has changed my life completely and is such a giver. It’s really cool to work and collaborate with someone like that.

Who do you want to hype? Sarah. She is so talented and skilled at lifting other people up and it’s easy to feed off of that energy. I’m someone who responds more than I initiate. I’d also add Megan Trinrud, who created School Spirits. She’s been such a champion.

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Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...