She may be only 16, but that didn’t stop Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai from stealing the show from Hollywood actresses and famous pop stars at Monday’s Glamour 23rd annual Women of the Year awards.
The wise-beyond-her-years Yousafzai spoke to an enthralled audience as she collected her award, refusing to back down on her quest for equality and enlightenment.
Yousafzai became world-recognised when she was brutally shot in the head and neck by the Taliban last October for publicising her views on the importance of education for women.
“We must not be afraid of anything!” Yousafzai told the mostly-female crowd. “I believe that a gun has no power at all. Because a gun can only take life. But a pen can save lives.”
Fellow award-winner Lady Gaga saluted Malala in her speech, while controversially denouncing her own cover for Glamour‘s December issue.
“Malala used her voice, so I’m going to use mine,” the singer said. “The picture, which I’m very grateful for, I felt it was too beautiful. I felt my skin looked too perfect, and my hair looked too soft. This is not usually how I dress or how I carry myself…I do not look like this when I wake up in the morning.”
Gaga, who has been outspoken in the past about a number of issues ranging from bullying to gay and lesbian rights, went on to say that she wished Malala could replace her as cover girl.
“Who really belongs on the cover is not me. If I could forfeit my Glamour cover, I would give it to Malala,” the pop star said.
Other honourees included models Christy Turlington Burns and Liya Kebede, and music legend Barbra Streisand, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Supermodel and wife of David Bowie, Iman, reiterated Gaga’s views on the inspiring teenager.
“She is a game-changer for girls,” Iman said. “I wish young girls here knew more about Malala, and less about the Kardashians.”