Watch Billie Eilish’s Tearful Speech and Performance at Power of Women: ‘I Feel Very Grateful to Be a Woman Right Now’

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Billie Eilish‘s tender speech about being a woman brought the audience to tears long before her heartrending performance of the “Barbie” ballad, “What Was I Made For?” at Variety’s Power of Women event Thursday, presented by Lifetime.

The surprise speech was spurred after “Barbie” star Ariana Greenblatt shared an emotional story centered around the moment she met Eilish at the film’s premiere. “I was still processing the fact that she made a song for the movie, a song that resonates with me and probably many of you in a deep way. I did not think I would be capable of meeting her, let alone holding a conversation with her,” she said.

“Well, that night I did get to meet her, and it was the biggest full-circle moment thus far in my life. That night was the start of a friendship that I cherish and hold close to my heart.”

Greenblatt continued by praising Eilish as a role model to young women, adding, “Growing up in this industry at such a young age, I am constantly trying to fit in with my adult peers, yet I’m still not able to relate to anyone my age. Billie is the one person I see myself in and relate to in many ways. Billie’s authenticity and fearlessness to express herself through her art spoke to me in ways no one else had.”

Clearly moved by the speech, Eilish took the stage and embraced Greenblatt, “Oh man I was crying over there girl.” The sniffling singer then took a minute then to address the crowd, “Guys I’m on Prednisone, you ever taken that, no for real. I’ve had no voice, Margot [Robbie], all week… Last time I was on it I threw my phone and shattered a mirror. And this time I be crying.”

Revealing that she doesn’t love giving speeches, she told the guests she would rather sing and “give my platform to people who know what the fuck they’re talking about.” However, Greenblatt’s words struck a chord, and she turned to the young actor to speak from the heart. “I was so young and I’m still young but coming up and being 15,” Eilish said. “It’s really fucking me up a little bit to think about. I don’t be crying, I’m not a crying person. Like I’m zooted right now, sorry.”

“But it’s really hard to be a woman out here guys… I’ve never felt truly like a woman. I’ve spent a lot of my life not feeling like I fit in to being a woman… This sounds kind of fucked up but I have a lot of internalized misogyny inside of me and I find it coming out in places I don’t want it to. And I have to say, with full transparency, I feel very grateful to be a woman right now. I feel very proud, and I feel very honored to be here.”

After the speech, Eilish and her co-writer Finneas treated the crowd to her Grammy-nominated tune.

In her Variety cover story, Eilish opened up about how “What Was I Made For?” which was featured at the emotional climax of “Barbie” and spawned a viral TikTok trend, helped change her perspective on womanhood.

“It was so moving, dude. It was so, so touching,” Eilish said of watching women connect with her track. “I feel like I helped bring people together, and it felt so special. I wasn’t expecting to have women around the world feel connected.”

The seven-time Grammy winner was honored for her work with Support + Feed, the plant-based food initiative founded by her mother, Maggie Baird.

When the COVID pandemic first began, Baird started the organization as a crisis relief operation to distribute plant-based food to those in need. Soon, it morphed into something larger. “When we stepped into the world of food insecurity, our eyes were opened wide,” she said. “We realized we had a bigger mission. Our goal is to address climate change and food equity, and really move society and culture to a more equitable plant-based food system. And the way we do that is, we purchase meals from small businesses at an equitable and fair rate, and then we deliver those meals to community organizations that are already established and do incredible work to support their community members.”

Support + Feed conducts food drives on Eilish’s tours, and fans are encouraged to pledge to eat one fully plant-based meal a day. Since 2020, the organization has reached 41 cities and delivered nearly 400,000 meals and pantry items.

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