Another piece of sage advice the mother of one shared was about being yourself, literally. “Another thing I learned, don’t use a fake ID to buy wine and then try to pay with a check. I’m aware that no one pays by check these days, but that’s just more reason not to do it. That’ll be extra confusing,” she said.
Holmes also told the graduating students to not stick their denim in the freezer, the do’s and don’t’s of how to handle natural disasters and the importance of traveling the world.
“We live in a country where we have so many options, and for so many people in the world, our worst days would almost be a dream come true for them. Try to continue your education for yourself on your own terms,” she said.
In a funny anecdote about her years auditioning for roles, Holmes said: “If people believe in you, it makes you want to believe in yourself, and vice versa. People react to your confidence. I’ve been tricking folks for years into believing I’m other characters, and I haven’t gotten caught yet! Guys, it’s all fake!”
But the most important life lesson Holmes wanted to share was the need for true friendships.
“For the young women in the audience, I want to encourage you to lift up, listen to, and trust one another. I would not have been able to direct the films I’ve directed without a chorus of talented, creative, and brilliant women to give me support,” she said. “Women need each other now more than ever, to continue the fight over equal pay, mutual respect and the war against systemic abuse and mistreatment. … Especially now, women supporting women could not be more important.”
Holmes also reflected on her own relationships with her family and friends.
“I’ve been so lucky in life to know people who have given me their wisdom, experience, and advice while I was growing up,” she said.
“When I moved from Toledo to North Carolina at the age of 18 to start working on
“No one knew what was supposed to happen. Luckily, something did. The odds were totally stacked against me, but guess what — the odds are stacked against everybody,” she continued. “So if you’re waiting for a sign, this is it. … You are the person who’s going to go out there and make things happen for yourself. And that’s a terrifying and amazing responsibility. You deserve joy — not in ten years, but now. So try to be equal parts tough and gentle with yourself. Take things one step at a time. Work hard when no one is looking. And don’t let anybody say you never called them back.”