Everyone thinks they know exactly how the United States won the Space Race against Russia back in the ‘60s; after all, we’ve seen it played out in movies like Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff. But trust me, you don’t know the first thing about the brilliant women in Hidden Figures yet, who were integral to that victory, and with any luck that’s about to change.
Hidden Figures tells the story of the real-life black female mathematicians who worked behind the scenes at NASA — women like Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, all of whom broke barriers to send John Glenn on his historic orbital flight around Earth. Not only were these real-life computers (seriously, that’s what they were called) amazing at what they did, they’re also proof that women (and especially women of color) are just as capable of achieving greatness in science, technology, engineering and mathematics as their white male counterparts, so long as they’re given the chance to thrive.
While at a press day in New York City, I sat down with the cast — Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Jim Parsons, and Kevin Costner — to ask them about what impact they think the film will have going forward and whether it might inspire young girls (and boys, too!) to someday pursue degrees and careers in STEM-related fields. Check out their responses for yourself, and maybe you might come away feeling a little more hopeful about the future, too.
Are you excited to see Hidden Figures when it hits theaters? Let us know in the comments below!