Variety’s Power of Women issue — and party, which was last night; we’ll get there — had four cover subjects: Lily Gladstone, Fantasia Barrino, Carey Mulligan, and Billie Eilish. (The fifth recipient is Margot Robbie’s production company, LuckyChap, which didn’t seem to get a photoshoot.) Each cover is in here; they stuck Lily in Gucci, and suffice to say I really wish they hadn’t.

Billie’s profile got a lot of attention because it came out first; she talks about the challenges of being a girl and then a woman in the world, about her attraction to women, about her decisions not to let prying eyes have access to her body. It made me think about how GQ is doing a thing where it checks in with Timothee Chalamet every couple years, and I would be interested in a similar project on Billie, because she also became famous so young and she’s doing it through singing and songwriting — intimate self-expression that will necessarily grow and change as she does. It’d be a more interesting project. **Aha, apparently she is checking in annually with Vanity Fair! Now that I have been told that, I think I must have known? It feels like it was rattling around in here somewhere.

Carey Mulligan’s piece makes passing mention of her activism through War Child (along with Marcus Mumford), but the Q&A is all about Maestro, where it… kind of SOUNDS like Bradley Cooper made her stay in her dialect/character the way he does between takes?

I’m really excited to see Fantasia play Celie in The Color Purple. She talks in her piece about what a bad place she was in when she played it on Broadway 16 years ago, how she agreed to come back to it, and how the punches Celie literally takes turned into her way of reclaiming power over her past.

And Lily Gladstone just seems like a great person, and one who is classily walking a difficult tightrope of being an indigenous star of Killers of the Flower Moon, a movie many Native Americans (and others) have taken issue with due to its centering of the white killer. I love reading about her, and although this is a long excerpt, I thought it was fun and wise all at once. Jumping off from the point of how her life has changed:

“The clothes have gotten nicer, and the shoes have gotten more uncomfortable,” Gladstone adds, but besides that, she wants to hold onto her regular life. In that sense, she’s guided by a piece of Blackfeet wisdom passed to her by her father: “Prey runs to the hunter.”

In various Indigenous hunting cultures, Gladstone explains, “young men go out and find their trapline, and then follow and hunt that trapline. Any animal that crosses it is entering into an agreement that you’re sustaining one another. You only go after the ones that cross your path. You don’t divert from your path — because that’s the one that you’re meant to walk.”

Gladstone’s father was telling her to stay the course — to stick to her moral compass and understand that what was meant for her would come to her.

But it turns out his words weren’t a Blackfeet saying after all. “I found out later — it was actually a Carl Sagan quote,” she says, laughing. “Which was also really cool. Carl Sagan and Blackfoot ways of knowing are actually pretty complementary of each other.”

[Photos: Victoria Stevens (Carey, Fantasia, Billie), Celeste Sloman (Lily)]