Award-Winning Actress & “Social Action Hero”
Best known for her work in more than 30 films (including the blockbusters Sister Act, Hocus Pocus and Rat Race), as the voice of Peggy Hill on King of the Hill, and for her current roles on VEEP, Younger, and Graves; Kathy Najimy is also a celebrated advocate on the frontline of a myriad of progressive social causes including #MeToo and Time’s Up. Outspoken, energizing and inspirational, Najimy combines her acting and talents with a passionate commitment to equality, women’s leadership and issues ranging from increasing cancer research to LGBTQ rights. Read More >
On Being an Actor and an Activist
The State of Women Rights
FemSalon: Kathy Najimy
The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have thrust Hollywood’s predominantly male power structure into the spotlight and into question, revealing valuable lessons for any industry. Award-winning actress, performer, director, producer and “social action hero” Kathy Najimy tells audiences what it takes to write your own ticket in a male-dominated world. Pointing to a successful career that has defied age, body image and putting personal passions or family on hold, Najimy also reflects on the kindred spirits she has learned from along the way, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Whoopi Goldberg, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and feminist icons Gloria Steinem and Hilary Clinton. Reflecting that “We are always too fat, too thin, too dark, too light, too old, too young, and just not how we’re supposed to be. And if we aren’t ever how we are supposed to be, the we aren’t able to rule the world like God has intended,” Najimy inspires women to find power in themselves and each other. Most of all, she calls on both women and men to create a level playing field in the workplace and the world.
Lifelong feminist/activist Kathy Najimy examines the ways in which our culture promotes inequity in education, employment and confidence. With humor and insight, she examines what it means to be a woman and girl in our country. Then, she asks audiences to think globally and act locally. “If you are discriminated against and I turn my back, the same discrimination will be at my doorstep waiting for me. As women, we are one- all the oppression and all the elevation is all of ours,” says Najimy. “It is only by bearing witness to the scope and experience of the ALL women in the world that we gain insight into how we can support and lift each other locally and globally.”
The constant struggle with self-esteem, to change our bodies at every cost- is not a defect we're born with. It's not organic. We are taught that or bodies are our worth and the less there is of us... the more worthy we are. Kathy Najimy shares her thoughts about body image, the road to wellness and confidence, and calls for women to change the culture, not themselves.
According to Kathy Najimy, some believe that controlling the uterus is the source of controlling the entirety womankind. To the long-time reproductive rights activist, pro-choice means pro your choice. Pro-choice women and men support a women's right to choose ....whatever they choose. In this compelling presentation, Najimy examines the fight for reproductive rights – where we are, how we got here, and most of all, what we all must do to protect hard-won freedoms.
Kathy believes that sexuality is to be celebrated and respected no matter where you land in the spectrum, That you love, not who you love is to be honored, and protected under the law. Kathy examines how upbringing, family, religion, exposure to media and belonging to a like-minded community shape our perspectives. An advocate for the rights, respect and well-being of the LGBTQ community since 1980, Najimy calls for legal rights, empathy, understanding, and most off all, equality.
Data shows that the most violent countries are also the ones that have the most violence in the home. Domestic physical and sexual abuse is what normalizes all other violent acts. In other words, it all starts at home. According to Kathy Najimy, that’s where it must end. In this stirring presentation, Najimy calls for all of us to start a dialogue and ask the tough questions. How and why do abusers abuse? Why do victims stay? What can we do as citizens and members of families and communities? Examining loss, shame, and how we can best support victims, she calls on all of us to advocate for safety and harmony through advocacy, education and outreach.
For her many years of AIDS activism, Kathy Najimy was awarded this year's Howard Ashman's Lifetime Achievement from the GMHC. Read More >
He has been honored several times for her work to end AIDS and guarantee rights for those living with HIV/AIDS.
She's also been honored with L.A. Shanti’s Founder award and the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center’s Distinguished Achievement Award. She first became an AIDS activist at age 20, when she realized that “AIDS was the only disease surrounded by hate.” For decades, Najimy has been fighting this very hate, countering the misinformation and homophobia that have given rise to life threatening misconceptions. Speaking from her long history in the movement, she counters falsehoods with the real truth about AIDS, who it affects, and how and why we should embrace the global epidemic. Read Less ^
"She was fabulous! We had great feedback - she was so wonderful to come to all the events and hang out with everyone! We got great response in terms of donations that day as well."
"Since the conference, we have received numerous comments specifically highlighting your inspirational and sincere presentation. Our advocates have noted that your wonderful words were one of the most outstanding elements of this year’s program."
"The Women’s Fund has received so many compliments about Kathy Najimy’s presentation at our event, Voices Against Violence. We so appreciate her wonderful storied tapestry of serious and poignant issues interwoven with her unique and special humor. Kathy certainly helped The Women’s Fund gain stature with new friends in the audience."
"She was great. Really great, very likable and smart."
"You were a hit in Michigan! I just got back to dozens of emails and phone calls all raving about you! Thanks so much for everything you did for us! We raised a lot of money for Planned Parenthood because of you! Each of us on the volunteer committee has heard, over and over, that you were by far the most moving speaker we've had -- indeed, the best many had ever heard."