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SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 13: Actors Sarah Wayne Callies (L) and Anna Torv speak at Entertainment Weekly's Powerful Women In Pop Culture during Comic-Con International 2012 at San Diego Convention Center on July 13, 2012 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images)
Looking for kick-ass women at Comic-Con? You don’t have to look far.
Five of Hollywood’s brightest starts gathered at Entertainment Weekly’s Powerful Women in Pop Culture panel on Friday to let fans know that women in the entertainment industry are more dominant than ever.
Television writer Lynette Rice moderated the discussion between Lucy Lawless (“Xena: Warrior Princess”) Kristin Bauer van Straten (“True Blood”), Sarah Wayne Callies (“Walking Dead”), Kristin Kreuk (“Beauty and the Beast”), Nikki Reed (“Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 2”) and Anna Torv (“Fringe”).
Straten was easily the chattiest of the bunch, and made a lasting impression when she entered the panel wearing her iconic sweatshirt from “Trueblood.”
Nothing seemed to be off-limits to the panelist. Topics ranged from tight clothing to women’s rights and motherhood. But one thing stood out: These women mean business.
Get more coverage in our special section Comic-Con 2012.
“You need to be a warrior for your own career,” said Lawless.
The five women are certainly not strangers to success. Reed just finished filming the final installation of “Twilight” and Lawless portrayed one of the most recognizable women on television.
But the road to fame wasn’t an easy one. They had some battles to fight before becoming kick-ass women.
“I spent the first part of my career with nobody believing I could be smart or tough,” said Straten.
Other panelists talked about being squeezed into uncomfortable costumes that weren’t always age-appropriate in order to make directors happy.
Technological changes to the industry have also affected how women look on screen.
“HD makes things… interesting,” Torv said.
Kreuk and Reed admitted that body image issues and feel forced to conform to a certain look. The five women, all trim and toned, said the pressure to stay thin is something they think about every day.
But thanks to overcoming hardships, the women have balanced strength and grace in their characters. It’s also helped them to change how women are portrayed.
“The roles on television for are for mothers, real women,” said Callies.
Though she wasn’t on the panel, the group sighed a collective reverence for Sigourney Weaver, who helped to bring fighting female characters to the forefront of the silver screen with her role in “Alien.”
Thanks to actresses like Weaver and Lawless, the younger actresses said that they will continue to bust through barriers for the next generation of actresses.
“I don’t know if I'm a bad-ass,” said Callies, mother to a 5-year-old. “But I sure am raising one.”