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'Ocean's 8' Cast Talks About The Power Of Female Representation

'What we're saying is you can do what you want, and there's space for you.'
PHOTO: Instagram/oceans8movie

What would you do if you could not only attend the Met Gala, aka the most exclusive party invite ever, but also walk out of it a hundred and 50 million dollars richer? That's what Cosmopolitan Philippines set to find out at the worldwide international press conference with the stellar cast, director, and screenwriters of Ocean's 8, the latest action- (and fashion!)-packed caper from the famous heist franchise.

Held at New York City's iconic Metropolitan Museum (literally the scene of the crime), we leaned in as the powerhouse of an all-female ensemble cast brought us through the thrills and spills of the movie and talk representation, fashion, having each other's back, and yes, Kegels. Read on:

On how the cast grew their bond:

Awkwafina: Kegels. (panel erupts in laughter)

Cate Blanchett: We're doing it right now.

Sandra Bullock: We were able to bond and connect in the way that we could, in that we were working crazy long days, we were draped all over each other on a couch, 12 o' clock at night, and once we let our guard down and we realized that we were in the company of safe people, I think we all sort of began a vomit-fest of just—well, I did, I threw up first (panel laughs)I did. I went in hoping, and you don't always get what you hope for. And now continuously I think long past this film, we managed to connect on a level that we never, ever would have been given the chance to, because women rolesit's just there [are] five roles, and we're all looking for them, and they're all little islands. And, here we were, Hawaii, a whole other group of islands…  but no, I feel really lucky, I feel really lucky, because there [are] no more stones I need to turn over, and in this one, I really feel I came out with so much more than I ever imagined. I feel very lucky.

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On female representation in the film:

Mindy Kaling: Well, I thought what was nice about this movie is that this is a bunch of women planning a crime as opposed to fighting over a man, there isn't even a specter of a man—

All: There is!

Mindy: But our conversations are not about that, and I think that's really exciting. And we also got to be really glamorous, which was just a whole lot of fun.

Cate: Well, and you know, we had a director (Gary Ross) who was really sympathetic to that, who wanted to make a story about women. I think all of us, every single person on this table, wants to see more female directors and that ab-so-LUTELY has to happen! I've just come from Cannes where there are 21 films and only three female directors, and there's an enormous pressure. But here, we have a director who really loves women and who would love to make a story where women do their stuff, and that's also fantastic.

Anne Hathaway: And you can't underestimate the power of visual representation. And so to an eight-year-old girl, maybe we're not trying to say, "go and have a life of crime"; what we're saying is you can do what you want, and there's space for you, and there's space for you to do it with your friends and there's room for all of you. And I think that films that have a message for people who have historically been excluded, that's really important.

Awkwafina: I think also in terms of seeing representation and diversity there's a difference between you know kind of throwing in people of color or women, and then actually representing them accurately and authentically. And I think the important thing about the characters in this movie—especially the people of color in this movie—is that that's not defining our characters. I am a New Yorker from Queens; but that Asian-ness has nothing to do with it. That's representation, and that's where we're going, and I think that this movie is going to be a step toward the right direction, in that case.

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Sandra: And also, if I just may say this: women taking care of each other. Women being good to each other, women stepping back and letting someone else step forward for the heist; recognizing talent and saying go out and shine. I've got your back. And not fighting—yeah, we fight, but we're fighting for the greater good, which is… a whole lotta money (laughs). But I think to me, the most important thing is to show that we don't care about the heist as much, as much as we care about how we treated each other and how they lifted each other up. To me that's the world, that's not the world that's represented I think in the media a lot, but really what's happening is that there's so much love and support, and we need to show it.

On working with an all-female cast:

Anne: One of the things I remember was when I realized I didn't have to have a filter on, because sort of what Sandra said, when you feel like an island on set, I was used to that. I feel really lucky—I've worked with a lot of great women, but there's usually just one or two of us, and the idea that we could all bring all the experiences we've ever had and contribute [to] this shared pool and all collectively be better because we're always together when we share it—that was one of the first things I remembered: Feeling really safe and feeling like I was with people I was really proud to be amongst, while having the best time of my life and just enjoying what I do. It's incredible.

On the importance of fashion in the film:

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Cate: A huge part of it came down to Sarah Edwards, the costume designer. She had to costume all of us distinctively and she literally worked 50 hours a day. She's incredible.

Sandra: And she worked very closely with the designers as well. And the designers were really, for the most part, generous with Sarah and us. The designers were incredibly collaborative. My dress was Alberta Ferretti, and I literally had *thoughts*: I wanted the sleeve to be a certain length 'cause I was gonna palm a jewel but I wanted it to be black because my character needs to disappear. But once I got the dress and I saw the ornamentation on the bottom, I went, oh! It was a nautical theme: there were sand dollars and starfish and waves and I went, oh, Debbie Ocean, I get it. I didn't ask for that, but the handiwork and the craftsmanship on these outfits were… wow.

Cate: And it's not just because we're "chicks" and it was all about the clothes that they wear, but if you look at the pedigree of these films, they had a panache. You know, they do have a sense of style about them, and that's a part of the joy of it, and of course, it was the Met Ball so it was fashion extraordinaire, but she did make it feel like we were all distinct characters.