May 04, 2018 09:12 AM

Jessica Chastain may be the face of Ralph Lauren Fragrances’ latest scent, Woman, but in partnership with the brand the actress is using her voice to support a new initiative that has deep, personal meaning.

Today, she helps kick off its Lead Like a Woman campaign to encourage conversations about closing the leadership gap between men and women.

The collaboration “fits in quite well with my entire ideology,” the brand ambassador tells PeopleStyle exclusively.

Courtesy Ralph Lauren Fragrances

Earlier this year Chastain took to social media to support actress Michelle Williams after reports surfaced that she was paid less than $1,000 for reshoots on All the Money in the World compared to the $1.5 million her costar Mark Wahlberg earned. (Wahlberg later donated the seven-figure sum to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in Williams’ name.) And days later, Octavia Spencer revealed that Chastain helped her earn five times the salary she originally asked for for a role.

Having championed for her colleagues, Chastain sees this initiative, in which people will be encouraged to share their definition of leadership using #LeadLikeAWoman, as an opportunity to reach women beyond Hollywood.

“What I’m excited about is that this will focus on empowering women, and shine a light on inequality in all industries,” says Chastain.

For the campaign, the actress will appear in three digital short films designed to inspire dialogue about women and leadership. Created in partnership with the Women in Film organization, each features an all female cast and crew.

Chastain hopes the campaign will also help women have more open dialogue about pay. “It’s okay to talk about your salary — you don’t have to just be grateful that you have a job. And I would just suggest we work together to share as much as we can with our sisters. Knowledge is power.”

The actress has fronted Woman by Ralph Lauren since its launch in July 2017. At the announcement, Chastain told PeopleStyle that being the face of the scent is “really special. The fragrance celebrates breaking stereotypes and creating new paths of fulfillment and success. Living in a time when gender boundaries are being redefined and blurred, this empowers that.”

And she says the fragrance helps her feel more confident. “Society has stereotyped masculine scents and feminine scents, but when I wear this [woody floral] combination, there’s this feeling of not being confined to any old-fashioned history for my gender.”

When it comes to the rest of her beauty regimen, Chastain, who says she thought she “had to use a lot of makeup” when she was younger, now follows a less is more approach. 

Beauty is not defined by appearance. Makeup can be fun and powerful and striking, but it is not the definition of beauty. I find that beauty is kindness and empathy, and compassion and happiness. To be truly beautiful comes from that light that’s in each of us.”

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