Apple Gathers an Incredible Cast for Its International Women's Day Ad

Stark portraits of many of today's game changers

Apple is celebrating International Women's Day this Sunday by unveiling a new "Behind the Mac" commercial, featuring black-and-white still photographs of incredible women spanning many generations and geographies.

The film features artists, authors, musicians, filmmakers, activists, business leaders and more. The familiar faces include Malala Yousafzai, Ava Duvernay, Marie Kondo, Greta Gerwig, Diane von Furstenberg, Lady Gaga, Gloria Steinem, Megan Rapinoe and Shannon Boxx, Olivia Wilde, Alicia Keys, Elizabeth Banks, Tarana Burke, Lilly Singh, Audrey Gelman, Victoria Monet, DJ Switch and Black Mamba. 

The spot is set to the Beyoncé song "***Flawless," in which Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie can be heard speaking at her 2013 TED talk "We should all be feminists."

Behind the Mac — International Women’s Day

Apple provided the following captions for all the talent featured in the new spot, which was developed by TBWA\Media Arts Lab: 

• The youngest Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai fights for every girl's right to education.
• Known best for her work on Selma and When They See Us, director Ava DuVernay is leading conversations around race and equality in America.
• Marie Kondo sparked a tidying revolution with her bestselling books and an internationally acclaimed Netflix series.
• Director and writer of Lady Bird and Little Women, Greta Gerwig is expanding the stories Hollywood tells.
• Diane von Furstenberg is a fashion designer and creator of The DVF Awards, which provide exposure and resources to women working on behalf of other women.
• Lady Gaga's Born This Way foundation works to build a kinder, braver world by supporting the wellness of young people.
• Following their World Cup win, Megan Rapinoe and Shannon Boxx fought alongside their teammates in a push for equal pay.
• Actor, producer, and director of the critically acclaimed film Booksmart, Olivia Wilde is a prominent voice for gender equality in the film industry.
• Activist, journalist and founder of Ms. Magazine, Gloria Steinem is a renowned leader and spokesperson for the American feminist movement.
• Award-winning actor, producer and director Elizabeth Banks consistently weaves feminist ideas into her work. Her directorial film debut set an opening weekend record.
• Alicia Keys is a 15-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and producer. An icon and an inspiration, she's celebrated for her musicianship, creativity and philanthropy.
• In 2019, Lilly Singh became the U.S.'s first LGBTQ woman to host a network late-night talk show in over 30 years.
• CEO and co-founder of The Wing, Audrey Gelman has been widely recognized as a leading innovator in both the corporate and political arenas.
• Unarmed and female-run, Black Mamba fends off poachers to preserve endangered species in South Africa.
• On-the-rise artist and performer Victoria Monét has already earned four Grammy nominations for songwriting and a feature as one of Apple Music's Up Next artists.
• Tarana Burke founded The "Me Too" movement, allowing countless people to find a sense of justice and begin to heal.
• Twelve-year-old Ghanian musician DJ Switch started the DJ Switch Foundation to provide young girls better opportunities for education.

The photos are all existing found footage, approved for use by the subjects in them. Apple has also created other versions of the film for some markets featuring talent from those markets—such as Parasite producer Kwak Sin Ae, former Vogue Russia editor Aliona Doletskaya, and sustainable-fashion pioneer Huang Ningning. 

The piece is part of a larger effort around Women's History Month. Apple is hosting more than 5,000 in-store events themed "She Creates" as part of its "Today at Apple" series.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards, editor of Muse by Clio, and host of the podcast Tagline. Previously, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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