The big question that faced Hillary and Chelsea Clinton in adapting their book, The Book of Gutsy Women, into an eight-part documentary series was who to include. The mother and daughter had written more than 130 essays for the book that spotlighted “gutsy” women through the years.
They knew the series would have to be a cross-section of pioneering women artists, activists and community leaders. Their selection was easy when it came to community leaders. The Clintons traveled to Bakersfield to talk with Dolores Huerta and members of her family for episode eight in the series called “A Bunch of Mothers.”
That interview is included in the series “Gutsy” scheduled to debut Sept. 9 on the streaming service of Apple TV+.
“We wanted to make sure we had a real dynamic cross-section of women,” Hillary Clinton says. “A gutsy women is someone is determined, courageous, resilient. But not just on behalf of herself. We decided we wanted women who were gutsy in that way but in addition were trying to knock down barriers, right injustices, provide opportunities for others as well.
“So our definition is both individual but also rooted in the values of the kind of women we admire and respect. They are people we have literally looked up to for each of our lives.”
The reason the Clintons admire Huerta so much is that she co-founded with Cesar Chavez the National Farmworkers Association which later merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to become the United Farm Workers. She organized the Delano grape strike in 1965 in California and was the lead negotiator in the workers’ contract that was created after the strike. She is the first Latina inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
In their book, Chelsea Clinton wrote, “Dolores was one of the first activists I remember hearing about. My mom would talk about her experiences babysitting the children of migrant farmworkers, and she told me then about the great Delores Huerta and her fight for farmworkers’ rights, labor rights, civil rights, and women’s rights.”
The Clintons didn’t want the interviews to be static so they tell the story of gutsy women from attending a clown school in Paris to taking Tango lessons with Goldie Hawn and her daughter, Kate Hudson. They join Huerta and her family in making tamales.
Because the interviews often pushed the pair outside their comfort zones, the series shows Hillary and Chelsea Clinton beyond the standard TV news clip. The series reveals their special mother-daughter bond and the unique, multi-generational way they approach the important and timely issues highlighted in each episode.
The pair are a mother-daughter duo determined to empower and uplift women. Reflecting on the current state of the world, “Gutsy” inspires viewers to have an honest conversation about the challenges each generation has faced and how we can unite and overcome those crises together.
It all started with their book that was released in 2019.
“We had such a great time doing it,” Hillary Clinton says. “Learning what each of us considered gutsy and how we went about defining it and then selecting the women we profiled.
“We were really fortunate after the book came out that a number of people approached us to turn it into some kind of a series.”
The fact that the production is being produced by the Clintons automatically pushes it into a political arena. That’s why they tried to tell stories that weren’t overtly political. In the case of Huerta, the conversation is more about family than farmworkers.
If there is a political element, Hillary Clinton wants it to be in terms of how we can all find common ground with each other. The common factor of all the women featured in the series is that they all have something to teach the world.
“Although it is not big ‘P’ Politics, of course it is small ‘p’ political because politics is how we come together as a democracy. How we work together. How we find common ground. I think storytelling is the best way to do that,” Hillary Clinton says.
Chelsea Clinton adds that the series ended up being more political than they had imagined only because of what is going on in the world at this time.
The series looks at a variety of women. In terms of being gutsy herself, Hillary Clinton says the gutsiest thing she ever did in her personal life was to stay in her marriage despite the scandal with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and Monica Lewinsky. On a professional level, she considers running for President as the top gutsy move for her.
“This was a tightrope with no net. It was really difficult because of all the unprecedented questions being raised about a woman being President. It was a very gutsy undertaking,” Hillary Clinton says.