Katie Holmes Delivers Empowering Commencement Speech at University of Toledo
By Jackie Willis
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
Katie Holmes returned to her hometown of Toledo, Ohio, for a very special occasion.
The 40-year-old actress was asked to give a commencement speech to those graduating from the University of Toledo on Saturday and in turn was given an honorary doctor of humane letters.
While Holmes didn't attend the university herself, she shared memories of when her older brother, Martin, went there, as well as some advice about first starting out in a career.
"Don’t be intimidated about that first job or internship or audition. And if you get it, well I have some tips for what you’ll need when you’re first starting out," she told the graduates. "...If people believe in you, it makes you want to believe in yourself, and vice versa. People react to your confidence. I’ve been tricking folks for years into believing I’m other characters, and I haven’t gotten caught yet! Guys, it’s all fake!"
Holmes went on to recall what it was like leaving the nest at age 18 to move to North Carolina and film Dawson's Creek. "When I moved from Toledo to North Carolina at the age of 18 to start working on Dawson’s Creek, we were four unknown actors working for a network that had just begun," she pointed out. "No one knew what was supposed to happen. Luckily, something did. The odds were totally stacked against me, but guess what -- the odds are stacked against everybody."
She continued, "So if you’re waiting for a sign, this is it. …You are the person who’s going to go out there and make things happen for yourself. And that’s a terrifying and amazing responsibility. You deserve joy -- not in 10 years, but now. So try to be equal parts tough and gentle with yourself. Take things one step at a time. Work hard when no one is looking. And don’t let anybody say you never called them back."
Holmes also had a message specifically for the female graduates. "For the young women in the audience, I want to encourage you to lift up, listen to, and trust one another. I would not have been able to direct the films I’ve directed without a chorus of talented, creative, and brilliant women to give me support," she said. “Women need each other now more than ever, to continue the fight over equal pay, mutual respect and the war against systemic abuse and mistreatment. … Especially now, women supporting women could not be more important."
On a lighter note, Holmes had some advice on what not to do with a fake ID. "Another thing I learned, don’t use a fake ID to buy wine and then try to pay with a check," she quipped. "I’m aware that no one pays by check these days, but that’s just more reason not to do it. That’ll be extra confusing."