Amal Clooney has worked closely with many influential people, not the least of which being her philanthropist/award-winning actor husband George Clooney. But when asked whom she admires most as a role model, the human rights attorney answered from the heart.
“I think growing up my mother was definitely a role model, she was always a working woman and someone who is independent and cared about her career and cared about being independent but also had balance,” she said during a Q&A at the Texas Conference for Women, where she was the keynote speaker on Tuesday.
“She never lost her femininity and she believed the balance was important and that is something that stuck with me,” added Clooney, who looked elegant in a grey pinstripe dress. Her mother, Baria, is a prominent journalist.
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Clooney also mentioned associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as one of her biggest inspirations. “When I was a junior lawyer she was incredible to watch in action in court, how she had so many cases in her head and firing questions at these lawyers standing before her,” she explained, adding, “But then also on the personal side, [she] was just lovely and I was the most junior and irrelevant person in her chamber … and she was very charming and very balanced.”
During her keynote speech, the attorney discussed women’s rights around the world, and spoke at length about her 23-year-old Yazidi client Nadia Murad, who is now a political refugee in Germany after living in captivity as an ISIS sex slave. Since her escape, Murad has stood up to her former captors by becoming a women’s rights activist and by speaking out against the Islamic State. She has been nominated for the Nobel peace prize for her efforts.
“I am advocating for the United Nations Security Council to do more to prosecute [ISIS]. I am addressing the security council next month,” Clooney promised.
In closing, she reminded the audience, “As women, there is a bond that we all share. It’s a bond of shared experience. Experiences that only women go through and struggles that only women face. The worst thing that we can do as women is not stand up for each other. And this is something that we can practice everyday no matter where we are or what we do. Because if we are united, there is no limit to what we can do.”
Clooney even got political, calling some of president-elect Donald Trump‘s comments a “violation” of human rights law.
“[Trump’s comments] that there should be a religious test imposed on entering the U.S., or the fact that there should be state-sponsored torture, or that families of suspected terrorists should all be killed — all of those things are violations of international human rights law and the values that underlie that,” she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
However, Clooney commended the business mogul on his vow to fight the terrorist group ISIS.
“We have to hope for the best,” she said. “The president-elect has said that fighting ISIS is actually a priority … so it may be that there can be progress, and obviously everyone has to respect the outcome of the democratic process here, and we have to hope for the best.”
• Reporting by KRISTEN O’BRIEN