UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson made a guest appearance Wednesday at an awards ceremony promoting women's achievements and paid tribute to her own female inspirations.
The 25-year-old star of "Dreamgirls" spoke of the support of her mother and especially her grandmother before a large crowd at U.N. headquarters that included teenage girls trying to catch a glimpse of the former "American Idol" contestant.
"One reason my dreams have been able to come true is because of the people in my life," she said. "They've always believed in me, and had hope for me, and loved me."
Hudson also stressed the importance of empowering women and girls, the theme of the ceremony on the eve of International Women's Day. It was sponsored by the Virtue Foundation in partnership with Avon Products Inc., and co-sponsored by UNICEF and the U.N. Development Fund for Women.
The singer and actress announced the first prizewinner of Avon's new "Hello Tomorrow Fund," New Orleans teacher Darlene Morgan Brown, who set up an entrepreneurship program for female middle school students and their mothers.
© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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