Margot Robbie, Jennifer Lawrence, Tessa Thompson and More Stars Land Covers for Elle's 2017 Women in Hollywood Issue

Hollywood icon Cicely Tyson, acclaimed producer Kathleen Kennedy and other prominent female figures featured for this year's roundup

By Samantha Schnurr Oct 09, 2017 3:39 PMTags

These women are showing Hollywood who's boss. 

On Monday, Elle released the cover stars of its annual Women in Hollywood issue. For 2017, Jennifer Lawrence, Margot Robbie, Laura Dern, Tessa Thompson, Jessica Chastain, Cicely Tyson, Riley Keough and Kathleen Kennedy earned strong individual covers, but spoke in unison on themes about emboldening fellow women in the industry, expanding the scope of female characters on TV and in film and taking action to move the needle in their own careers. 

"I never thought I'd want to be a producer. I'd always wanted to direct and write, but I got to a point as an actress where I felt like I was everyone's puppet," Robbie told the magazine. "I thought, Why don't I get a say in the art I'm making?"

2016 Elle Women in Hollywood Awards

In addition to the I, Tonya star's perspective, 92-year-old industry icon Tyson spoke on the scope of beauty in her career while 28-year-old Keough discussed her experience with nudity on set. 

Here are this year's cover stars in their own words:

Tessa Thompson

The Thor: Ragnarok actress is all for breaking down the walls that keep characters boxed in. "I think our ideas about what a young black person or a young Mexican person or a young white person should be like weren't as expansive then as they are now," she told Elle. "It made me think I had to fit into a box. The one-dimensional girlfriend or the sassy black friend—those weren't going to work for me."

Jennifer Lawrence

This Oscar-winning star puts worrying to rest after she's done in front of the camera. "The only time I find myself worrying about the result is when I'm filming, because I'm working all day, and then I come home and my brain's just like, What should we panic about?" she explained to Elle. "After I've finished the process, though, it's done for me. I've done my work, and I've gotten what I need to get out of it—I've fulfilled myself. What happens next doesn't really matter."

Jessica Chastain

The Oscar nominee has portrayed a wide range of female characters in her career thus far, and now, she's working to bring those kinds of diverse opportunities to her colleagues by way of her production company, Freckle Films. "For me, it's for finding and creating opportunities for women and minority groups that might not have an outlet, whether it be as a writer or an actor or a director," she told the magazine. "It's important to me to create these stepping stones."

Cicely Tyson

The TV icon may be a beauty, but that isn't what she credits for her long-lasting screen success. "At the very beginning of my career, I had a teacher whose name was Vinnette Carroll; she directed a number of Broadway shows. She kept saying to me, 'You know the problem with beautiful women? They tend to rely on their beauty.' And I said, How wrong she is! I never think of myself as being beautiful. I thought, What are you talking about?" she recalled to the magazine. "I work so hard. And I did. But I learned from her how important it is to learn your craft. When all else fails, you will land on that, and that alone."

Riley Keough

The Girlfriend Experience star has stripped down for her role on the Starz series, but as she told the magazine, it wasn't all that hard. "I'd like to make the story more interesting and say it was a really difficult thing for me to do…but I don't find nudity difficult. America feels very…Oh my God, boobs! But I wasn't squeamish," she told Elle

Kathleen Kennedy

The acclaimed movie producer—who has credits ranging from the Jurassic Park franchise to Star Wars: The Last Jedi—is happy to send a message to women in Hollywood whether she's behind the lens or in front of it. "I don't like to step in front of the camera, but if I can be a role model for women to recognize they can make it in film, I'm happy to do that whenever I can."

Laura Dern

The Big Little Lies star is seeing a shift in her roles—one she welcomes with open arms. "In my twenties, the characters I was asked to play were limited by, well, she's just a girl—she doesn't mean it or she doesn't know who she is," she told Elle. "So I'm starting to play women who just don't know how to do it—they're not girls, but they haven't figured it out, still. That's so relatable! I'm having the time of my life."

Margot Robbie

In the four years since she became a breakout star in The Wolf of Wall Street, the actress has taken the reins on the business side of Hollywood with producer credits on upcoming films like I, Tonya and Gotham City Sirens. "I never thought I'd want to be a producer," she told Elle. "I'd always wanted to direct and write, but I got to a point as an actress where I felt like I was everyone's puppet. I thought, Why don't I get a say in the art I'm making?"

As Laura Dern wrote on social media, "Honored to be part of this tribe of inspiring women. Thank you Elle!"

The issue hits newsstands on October 17.