These Hollywood Ladies Are Totally Badass

When it comes to Hollywood, we tend to pay way more attention to the ladies in front of the camera rather than the ones behind it. There are some incredible writers, directors, producers, etc. working behind-the-scenes on our favorite TV shows and movies, and they deserve more attention. So do the actresses who do double time as absolute badasses who not only kill it on screens big and small, but are also the head of their own businesses that are using their positions to bring fresh, diverse talent to the limelight where it belongs. One such badass is Kerry Washington, who's sharing the cover of Entertainment Weekly with Eva Longoria, Reese Witherspoon, and Elizabeth Banks — three other women who are doing big things in showbiz in every possible way.

The new issue for the week of February 12, 2016 features a four-way conversation between all four actresses and entrepreneurs as they discuss what it's like to call the shots in their respective ventures and what it means to be female in yet another industry that doesn't pay women as much as it does men for performing the same jobs, among other topics. They're dedicated to changing the landscape, and half the battle is just getting people to be aware of the issue, and they're all doing an incredible job in their own ways. Here's what makes Washington, Witherspoon, Longoria, and Banks so awesome (you know, beyond the obvious):

Kerry Washington

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Not only is Washington the star of the immensely popular Scandal, but she's also killing it off-camera, too. She's an outspoken activist, advocating for gay rights as well as diversity and equality in Hollywood, as well as discouraging voter apathy in political elections. Not only that, but she was named the chairperson of the GLSEN Respect Awards in 2013, and was also awarded the GLAAD Vanguard Award in 2015. If that wasn't enough, she's also a member of V-Day, an organization that raises awareness of violence against women and girls worldwide, and Creative Coalition, which aims to explore topical issues in American society. I'd say that's pretty incredible.

Reese Witherspoon

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Witherspoon may very well be America's movie sweetheart, but she's also an absolute boss. She's the head of lifestyle brand and website Draper James, which brings southern charm to the masses, and she also happens to head up her own production company, Pacific Standard, with producer Bruna Panadrea. If she wasn't busy enough with all of that, she still finds time for philanthropic ventures, supporting the likes of Save the Children and the Children's Defense Fund, as well as serving as the honorary chair of the Avon Foundation, which focuses on issues like breast cancer and domestic violence. How does she do it?!

Eva Longoria

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Perhaps Eva Longoria's best known role to date was as Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives, but that's not even half of what she can (and does!) do. As well as being an amazing actress, she's also written and published several books, has her own charitable organization, the Eva Longoria Foundation. The list of charities she supports is literally too long to list — to the point that in 2009, she was named Philanthropist of the Year for her contributions to the Latino community. If that's not enough, she even got her Masters degree in Chicano studies from Cal State University in 2013. Is there anything Longoria can't do?

Elizabeth Banks

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Banks is, without a doubt, one of the funniest actresses out there right now, but there's much more to her than simple acting talent. She supports a number of charitable causes, from AmFAR and the American Heart Association to Stand Up For Cancer and Malaria No More. Not only that, but she served as director for Go Red For Women's short film Just A Little Heart Attack (among six other projects!) and was honored with the 2014 Grace Kelly Award by the March of Dimes.

Of course, these small synopses don't do these remarkable women nearly enough justice — their accomplishments far outweigh what could be mentioned in these relatively few lines — but it's heartening to see such strong, intelligent women doing it big in Hollywood and making the world a better place.

See a small clip of the conversation between Washington, Longoria, Banks, and Witherspoon below:

Image:James White for EW