February is National Heart Month. Actress Vanessa Williams (“Ugly Betty”) and her daughter, Jillian Hervey, a performing artist with the hit group Lion Babe, have partnered with WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease and Burlington Stores, to raise awareness. Donations can be made at Burlington and every woman who participates, Burlington is giving $5 to WomenHeart.
Williams’ paternal grandmother died at age 28 of a heart attack. She’s lost a total of three grandparents to heart disease; the other two were ages 53 and 64. According to American Heart Association, of African American women ages 20 and older, 49 percent have heart diseases, while only 1 in 5 African American women believes she is personally at risk.
On Monday’s “The Dr. Oz Show,” Dr. Oz sits down with Williams and Hervey as they open up about how they are tackling their family’s heart-health risk head-on. The mother-daughter duo also discuss the MeToo Movement.
Here’s the interview in part:
Dr. Oz and Vanessa Williams discuss the influence and involvement of her friends within the MeToo Movement.
Dr. Oz says, “Speaking of tough, the MeToo Movement. A lot of women coming forward, Uma Thurman most recently, arguing that we’ve got to change the way women are perceived and Hollywood’s probably a good place to start. Give me your thoughts about this movement?”
Vanessa Williams explains, “The MeToo Movement has been created by Selma Hayek who was the producer of Ugly Betty, who I knew and worked with. America Ferrera, who was the star and my co-star in “Ugly Betty,” and Eva Longoria, who I did “Desperate Housewives” with. All these women are so dynamic, so outspoken, when I heard this whole thing rumbling and I knew that these women were behind it, I did not doubt it. I did not doubt its efficiency, its potency for a second.”
Dr. Oz asks, “When you talk to them, if you have, do they feel the pressure of being in front of this movement?”
Vanessa Williams confidently responds, “The pressure? I think they feel that it’s working!”
Dr. Oz, Vanessa Williams and Jillian Hervey discuss how Hollywood’s history has influenced the MeToo Movement today.
Vanessa Williams says, “In my generation my mother would say, ‘Listen, this is going to happen, don’t take any nude pictures.’ Did I listen to her? No, but she told me, ‘Listen, people are going to try to scam you and you got to be careful and watch your back. And the older you get, you realize that you share these stories with people…and then you realize that so many women have had the same issues with different people while they work. This generation has the freedom to say ok, not only do I know what might happen, but I’m not going to stand for it and it’s no longer a secret anymore.”
(Vanessa’s daughter Jillian Hervey agrees.) Vanessa Williams says, “So it’s definitely changed for sure.” Dr. Oz says, “I love how real you are.”