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First-Time Emmy Winners Judith Light and Jasmine Guy Reflect on Biz

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As of Saturday night, Judith Light and Jasmine Guy were finally able to add “Emmy winner” to their list of career achievements. The pair picked up trophies on the first night of the two-part Creative Arts Emmy Awards, held at the Peacock Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

After decades as working actors, the emotional moment of hearing their names called as winner was significant.

“This one is about the fact that this Academy has acknowledged me in this way, which is huge,” said Light, who earned four previous nominations. She won guest actress in a comedy series for her turn opposite Natasha Lyonne on Peacock’s “Poker Face.” “I’ve been in the business a long time. This is quite a gift to be nominated with all of these other women in this category who I still admire, and who I think are not only incredible artists but extraordinary human beings.”

Guy appeared on the NBC hit comedy “A Different World” from 1987 to 1993 and counts “Harlem Nights” and “Fame” among her credits. In contrast to Light, Guy took home an Emmy on her first nomination. Guy said she felt “embraced” by the TV Academy in winning for Guy took home the prize for outstanding actress in a short-form comedy or drama series for “Chronicles Of Jessica Wu.”

“I appreciate that my creative community has kept me in their loving arms,” Guy said as she admired her new hardware.

During her acceptance speech, Light called the last year “challenging,” referring to the SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes, which delayed the Emmy Awards festivities beyond the usual September timing. “To all of you for your perseverance, your artistry, your substance and your resilience, it was an honor to be in the industry with you all,” Light said.

Backstage, Light had the opportunity to elaborate further on the strength of the industry. She said, “We are a resilient industry. We are people of purpose. We are also people of service, and so much of what happened last year was about supporting other people.” Light continued, “It’s super important to be focused on various points and all of the things that actually were gained because it was challenging, and it was challenging for everybody.”

Light also emphasized that despite the glitz and glamour that surrounds Hollywood, actors are workers who need to support one another to do their best work.

“We often forget that we are a service business. We give a performance, we give to each other on a set,” she said. “We are about the people who watch us. It is about the giving. If you’re in this industry to try to get a new thing, you’re in a really bad contextual framework. I look at our industry and I see how resilient everybody was. I see how they persevered, how they were kind to each other. I wanted to speak to that because it makes me proud to be in this community and in this industry.”

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