Scarlett Johansson brought the coolest date to this year’s amfAR New York Gala: Her mom, Melanie Sloan.
The “Ghost in the Shell” star and her mother attended this year’s amfAR event, sponsored by Moet and Chandon at Cipriani Wall Street, and opened up to ET’s Carly Steel about her mom’s formative influence.
“I really couldn’t think of anybody else that I’d rather [have] with me here tonight,” Johansson shared. “[She’s] been incredibly inspiring for me in many, many ways, but certainly as a young girl.”
“She never shielded us from what was going on in the zeitgeist in culture,” she continued. “She always made us aware, you know, socially aware. She always encouraged us to be politically and socially active, so I couldn’t imagine a better date tonight.”
Johansson was a guest of honor at the gala, which benefited the American Foundation for AIDS Research, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting HIV/AIDS research, awareness and prevention. In her emotional speech, the actress recounted her mother’s long, close friendship with a man who played an important role in her life before he died of AIDS, at a time when the disease “was a taboo subject mostly whispered about.”
In her touching oration, she also gave a glimpse at her early childhood and the challenges her mother and father faced as working parents.
“A night out on the town was a rare luxury for my parents who were probably trying to connect with one another and themselves,” Johansson shared with the audience. “No small feat for parents of four living in New York City.”
Johansson, the mother of a 2-year-old daughter named Rose, told ET that she’s faced her own share of difficulties when it comes to being a working mother with a hectic schedule.
“I don’t profess to know anything about parenting, anything more than anybody else, [but] being a working mom is an incredible challenge, [and] it’s an incredible gift,” she said. “I think you always feel a little bit of guilt… If you’re at work, you feel like you’re missing out on those special moments with your kid. If you’re with your kid, you feel like you’re not giving enough to your job. It’s a balance.”
“I have a lot of huge admiration for working moms,” Johansson added. “I’m barely, barely holding it together.”