Cindi Leive, Nina Garcia are Chic and Courageous at the IWMF Awards

By  October 29, 2013

Whether perusing the pages of fashion magazines or tuning in to broadcast news for your headline fix, you’re bound to come across women who are as powerful as they are posh. At the 2013 International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Awards, we encountered those figures in the flesh.

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This year’s Cipriani Dolci ceremony called on media elite like Nina GarciaAnn Curry, and George Stephanopoulos to honor the journalistic prowess of Najiba Ayubi, Nour Kelze, Bopha Phorn, and Edna Machirori for their strength and integrity while reporting in the face of danger. Among the luncheon’s attendees were fashion figureheads Cindi LeiveAnne Fulenwider, and Nina Garcia, who, though steeped in a sartorial world, emphasized impactful journalism that has run in their respective publications.

We asked the three, along with ABC News anchor Deborah Roberts, about the most courageous pieces of reporting they’ve had published, proving that style, too, can be a champion of substance.

Cindi Leive, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour

Going way, way back, there was a great series that was done by the editor [of Glamour] in the early 90s on the decline of doctors in this country who will perform abortions. Now that that has become such a hotly-debated topic and something of such national interest, I often think back to how prescient Glamour was to tell that story way back then. In terms of more current things, I had the honor of interviewing Malala Yousafzai for our upcoming December issue. I’m not putting my own work for it as a courageous piece of journalism, but we profile courageous women all the time. To be able to hear about what that 16-year-old girl has gone through and how she stands up for herself in the face of incredible opposition by the Taliban, was pretty amazing.

Deborah RobertsABC News

I feel like I pale in comparison to these women who are out their risking their lives everyday in the name of truth and justice; but I did cover the Persian Gulf War, years ago, early in my career. That was really frightening because at that point, we were just being introduced to the concept of chemical weapons being used in warfare, and all of us, journalists, were on edge. We were being distributed gas masks. I was just 30 years old, just sort of beginning my network career. I was really, really nervous and on edge, on a daily basis, for a couple of weeks when I was covering that story… I wouldn’t say that I have faced the kinds of conflicts that these journalists [being honored here today] face, and for that reason, I’m humbled when I come here.

Anne Fulenwider, Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire

We did a story [in the November issue] about campus rape and how hard it is for women on campus to get the support of their institutions. I’m really, really proud of the women who spoke up, and showed their faces, and told their stories, and not only that, but got together through social media to band together. It used to be a lot scarier for women to stand up, show face, and tell our story. Through banding together on social media, they’ve really created a force and gotten universities to pay attention.

Nina Garcia, Creative Director of Marie Claire

What comes to mind most recently was [us publishing] the faces of rape victims. They were all women, and they were all younger women, and they all stood up for their stories. That was a very moving story for me.

For more about the IWMF and its Courage Awards, click here.