Inside the spacious West London studio where HELLO!'s Star Women 2020 judges have gathered, excitement fills the air.
As one of the judges, Anita Rani, puts it: "This is magic! It's like there's a giddy, fizzy atmosphere because we are doing a photoshoot, which we haven't done for ages. It's so good to be here."
Joining Anita are TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, radio and TV star Vick Hope, broadcaster Kate Silverton and HELLO! editor in chief Rosie Nixon. And while they are all enjoying being made-up and posing for the camera, they also know there is a serious task at hand: whittling down the nominees in HELLO!'s #hellotokindness award from ten to five finalists. The final winners will be selected by our readers.
WATCH: How our celebrity judges decided the final five nominees
This year's ceremony, our third Star Women awards, will be a digital event and will once again be hosted by Kate, who will also offer commentary during video presentations to honour each winner.
Talking about this year's event, Rosie says: "It was such a shame that we were unable to host our annual live Star Women Awards in June, but in this extraordinary year it's even more important to use our platforms at HELLO! to shine the spotlight on some true stars who have proven themselves to be selfless beacons of kindness and positivity despite the challenges they have faced."
Our five judges had a difficult task on their hands
Deciding between the nominees is a tough job. "All these women are amazing and brilliant in their own field, powerful and empowered and warm and kind," says Anita. "I don't know how I am going to choose who is more deserving than the other. "
Rosie adds: "These awards are not about pitting women against one another to decide who is best, it is about simply recognising something extraordinary in an individual. I wish we could give prizes to them all."
Building on HELLO!'s successful campaign to make social media a kinder and gentler place, the #HelloToKindness award honours those who embody the spirit of compassion by spreading cheer in their community or offering support to those in need.
"Even in a normal year without a pandemic it is so important to celebrate kindness, to celebrate strength and resilience in women who are often doing amazing things without thanks," Vick tells HELLO!. "Kindness has always been important but this year it has expanded to encompass every facet of our daily lives."
And now it's time for you, our readers, to cast your vote. To vote, simply read the stories below then scroll down to where you can select your nominee.
Since her son Shayen was stillborn, 39-year-old Priya, a scientist, has worked tirelessly in her spare time for Hillingdon Hospital's maternity bereavement suite, raised awareness of baby loss and established a kindness initiative, which includes collecting for food banks. Her best friend Anjana Pindoria says: "She makes our world kinder."
PROFESSOR AISHA K GILL
Professor Aisha K Gill has raised £58,000 in four months for an emergency Covid-19 fund for women and children who have survived violence and abuse. Professor Gill, who teaches criminology at Surrey's University of Roehampton, is one of the first activists to speak out about the issue in the black and minority ethnic and refugee communities.
LORRAINE AND LEE LEWIS
Husband and wife Lorraine, 36, and Lee Lewis, 35, started charity The Lewis Foundation to help adult cancer patients after Lee's mother was diagnosed. After raising money for electronic goods at Northampton Hospital, they deliver gifts to nine hospitals – and to people isolating – in the Midlands, with 50 volunteers helping give away more than 2,500 items.
Science teacher Callaghan, 26, [first name withheld] inspires with her classroom environments designed to help pupils learn productively; she encourages only kind words and never punishes a wrong answer. Her CallaghansQuestions on TikTok also produces free daily science content and has already amassed more than 170,000 followers.
Diagnosed with sickle cell disease as a child, June, 38, works for the NHS as a change manager. She is also lead mentor for the sickle cell peer mentoring programme for young people in London, regularly teaches medical students about the condition, and works with the London Ambulance Service to help change response times for patients with the disorder.