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Drew Barrymore and Brooke Shields have a no nonsense discussion about childhood exploitation

Viewers are praising Barrymore for being able to provide a safe space for difficult conversations.

drew barrymore, brooke shields, pretty baby hulu
"The Drew Barrymore Show"/Twitter, @carolineframke/Twitter

Host Drew Barrymore discusses childhood exploitation in Hollywood with Brooke Shields.

Drew Barrymore is the master of delivering raw, intimate and thought-provoking interviews in a refreshingly sincere way. But across the board, folks are feeling like her discussion with actress and model Brooke Shields hits a little different.

Both former child stars got their own personal glimpse into the darkness of Hollywood at an early age—Barrymore being introduced to drugs at only 9 years old, and Shields’ entire career being ignited by a role in which she was an object of sexual desire when she was 12.

Now, at age 48 and 57 and in their full autonomy, the two women reflected on those experiences on “The Drew Barrymore Show,” in what people are hailing as an “intense,” yet ultimately “powerful” and “healing conversation.”


One particular gem occurred when Barrymore asked Shields how being sexually exploited during childhood affected her feeling toward the #MeToo movement.

“This is gonna seem like a very weird turn,” Barrymore said in her signature move of sitting close to Shields on the couch. “But how did you feel about the Me Too movement, in the sense of, I didn't feel like I had a dog in that race.”

She continued: “I didn't feel like I could speak to it, because I experienced things that were so inappropriate at such a young age...We were children. How did that movement affect you? Did you feel like you could speak to it?”

Similarly, Shields felt like she didn’t know where she “fell on the spectrum of it,” adding that “being made to feel culpable” made it additionally hard to interpret her experience.

“You know, you victim-shame yourself,” she shared.

Shields also added that this behavior towards children was so commonplace in the industry that it even felt “appropriate,” causing her to deny much of what she was going through at the time.

This, of course, is not a feeling exclusive to only celebrities. As someone wrote in response to the clip, “When things happen to us as children it’s easy to bury it, brush it off, put it in the back of your head. Sometimes questioning if it happened because as adults it’s hard to remember and often too painful.”

For both women, it wouldn’t become clear that something wrong had happened to them until they became mothers themselves, a kind of hindsight that many parents can probably relate to.

This prompted Barrymore to ask, “What do we say to young girls who are out there on Instagram, on social media, doing the same things we did?”

Shields’s answer is both astute and wise.

“They’re not gonna listen,” she says. “But, you know, they’re gonna have to process it on their own. Because they think they’re in control...So you’re gonna have to try to balance it. But, you just keep talking. Keep talking to them.”

It’s worth noting, as many viewers pointed out, that having those difficult conversations is much more achievable when in a safe and sensitive environment. This is why people are praising Barrymore for creating this sort of intimacy that other talk shows sometimes fall short of.

“Remarkable how Drew is facilitating so many open conversations that only ever happen behind closed doors, if at all,” one person wrote.

Kudos to these two women for having the courage to speak openly. Indeed, it’s not always easy, but transparency often helps others not feel alone, and it helps to keep history from repeating itself.

“Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields,” a documentary which documents the actress’s journey from a sexualized young girl to a woman who embraces her identity and voice, is now available to watch on Hulu.

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.
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