tonight on "nightline," and the winners are. the women of mary kay. in a down economy, they're not just surviving, they're thriving, in an inspiring tale of powder and polish and pink cadillacs. he's back. this year, two new holiday blockbusters from the man who gave us "jaws," "jurassic park". katie couric with steven spielberg. and home for the holidays. an emotional welcome back as the president hails the end of a long and costly war. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city,
this is "nightline," december 14th, 2011. >> good evening, i'm terry moran. and we're going to begin tonight with a bright spot in a bleak economy. the women of mary kay cosmetics. 165,000 people started mary kay businesses in the united states last april alone. it's a second job for many of them, but they work for themselves and they chalked up 2$2.5 billion in 2010 worldwide. here's abc's ryan owens in our network series, "bringing america back." >> reporter: it has all the glitz and glamour of the academy awards. >> perfect. >> reporter: but this red carpet is in dallas. and it probably should be pink. >> are you ready for the most exciting night of your life?
♪ baby you're a firework >> reporter: it's awards night at mary kay cosmetics, and for the next few hours, hundreds of women will receive a lot more than little golden statues. >> featuring almost two krar rats of diamonds. >> reporter: they're being recognized and rewarded for growing their business when so too others are. it turns out, even during the deepest of economic slumps, lipstick sells. exhibit a? stephanie. the 27-year-old lives in east tennessee with her husband, two kids and a third on the way. >> i've done waitresses, retail, i taught on college campuses. i've done kind of everything, so, we had about five jobs when we started between the two of us. and now we're down to mary kay as our sole source of income. >> reporter: we first wandered into mary kay land two and a half years ago, when the
recession was in its infancy? >> you have heard anybody say i'm going to cut back on my miss c mascara? no. >> reporter: the message, from ceo david holl this year, mary kay is still bucking the trend. >> people still want to buy the lipstick. they may not buy as many lipstick or as many, as much of the skin care line that's out there, but you clearly see that if you have a value product, that is just at a little bit lower price point that our sales force and their customers jump on that for sure. >> reporter: mary kay's business model is not exactly traditional. it's based on direct sales. in short, these women make money not just on the products they sell but on the number of new sales consultants they bring into the fold. critics call it an elaborate pyramid scheme. but sales consultant like courtney reject that. when we first met here in 2009, she had 130 women working on her
team. now, that number has nearly doubled. her days are packed with appointments. >> i printed this out for you and this is a list of all of the active ingredients. >> reporter: personalized instruction -- >> you don't want your features fighting over each other. >> reporter: and deliveries. >> this has your stuff in it and a little gift. >> reporter: always with an eye on future sales. >> we can start working on wish lists if you want to do christmas shopping. i know the economy has hurt a lot of people but we really haven't seen that in mary kay. more customers and consultants now and it's been an incredible year. >> reporter: courtney and her team sell enough makeup to keep her in one of those famous mary kay pink cadillacs. this is her second suv and she's well positioned for another. how do you explain continued success when so many businesses are having so much trouble? >> they're concerned about their, the stability of their job, they're concerned about the stability of their husband's
job. and so they're looking for a backup plan, looking for a way to be able to make extra money and have something else just in case that doesn't work out. >> reporter: so, in an odd way, does having a difficult economy and a recession that's been d k dragging on, does that bring more people into this organization? >> yes. absolutely. what can i do for my life? and besides just go work in a corporate job. and they can work for themselves. and that brings a lot of appeal to a lot of people. >> reporter: while mary kay is still pink, it's not nearly as white as it used to be. training seminars are now translated into spanish. as many as 20% of the company's new sales consultants are from the hispanic community. in fact, this company, founded by a woman who has been dead for a decade, is not shy about reinventing itself. >> this year, for the first time, we debuted a black ford mustang.
>> reporter: what happened? is pink passe now? >> definitely not. we're going to try to appeal to a younger market. >> reporter: remember stephanie from tennessee? she's one of the first to earn that new mustang. wow. complete with pink accents. what do you think is the secret behind the success? >> they work very hard. we work very hard and we all work together to make the company successful and to enrich women's lives. >> reporter: a new car, a new look for a company that just keeps cruises. with tens of thousands of successful women along for the ride. i'm ryan owens for "nightline" in dallas. >> the women of mary kay, there bringing america back. thanks to ryan for that. just ahead, the director responsible for hits like "jurassic park" and the unforgettable "jaws," steven spielberg joins us to talk about
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with terry moran. >> welcome back. and we're joined tonight by my colleague, abc's katie couric. good to see you. >> good to see you, too. >> and you had a chance to interview steven spielberg. >> i have. he hasn't directed a movie since the fourth indiana jones back in 2008, but he's definitely making up for lost time with two holiday blockbusters released within days of one another. you know, spielberg has directed dinosaurs, aliens, snakes and sharks but i guess we shouldn't be surprised that this time, in one of those two movies, his lead actor is a horse. the guy has always been a risk taker, but he's so commercially successful that at this point in his career, he gets to do whatever he wants. and we get to sit back and enjoy it.
>> and action! >> reporter: after more than 40 years making movies, steven spielberg isn't slowing down. >> hell no. >> same level of excitement that i had when i was doing "jaws" and later on when i did the first "raiders" and later on when i did "saving private ryan," it doesn't change. the excitement has been with me since i picked up an 8 millimeter movie camera when i was a kid. >> reporter: who would have known that when he first picked up that camera, it would be the start of one of the most successful careers in hollywood history? the master story teller and three-time oscar winner is the top grossing director of all-time. thanks to "jaws," the indiana jones franchise and "jurassic park." not to mention "schindler's list."
>> getting up in the morning is unlike anything else, except -- well, there is something better than that, and that's having a family. >> how the hell are we going to pull anything with that? >> reporter: and, in fact, it was family that influenced the choice of his latest film. >> my daughter is a jumper. we live with horses. that invited me into this process. >> reporter: "war horse" is about a special bond between albert, an idealistic english farm boy, played by newcomer jeremy irvine and his beloved colt, joey. >> we are at war! >> reporter: but when world war i intervenes and joey is sold into the service of the british army, both man and horse must go into battle. >> i promise you, man to man that i'll look after him. as closely as you've done. >> reporter: it was first a best-selling book and then a tony-award winning play. >> before i saw the play, i heard the story and read the book that was written in 1982.
>> reporter: a children's book, right? >> a children's book. i thought the story had really good movie bones. it seemed to have its story steeped in the tradition of the earth and the land and people who fight for themselves. had big kind of elements of americana though it had nothing to do with america. >> reporter: but the book was told through the horse's eyes and in his voice. so, rather than make mr. ed, the movie. >> hello. >> reporter: wilbur. >> i know him. >> reporter: the horse is the star. >> i realized horses talk to you in the way they look at you. the way their ears look at you. and there's a lot more expression in the horse than people give a horse credit for. >> reporter: although he's a big history buff, spielberg admits he knew little about the role horses played in world war i.
except that millions were used and millions died. >> they died by exposure, the conditions they were working under, really inhuman conditions. >> reporter: while the battle scenes are classic spielberg, he says he did pull back on depicting the violence to ensure a pg-13 rating. "war horse," he says, is not another "saving private ryan." but i wonder, gee, would kids and families feel completely comfortable going to this? >> i'm not saying little kids should see this picture, but families can see this picture. they're accustomed to expect the worst with my name. they're not going to get the worst in this. >> reporter: but "war horse" isn't spielberg's only family-friendly film this holiday season. opening just four days earlier is another epic-sized picture, the 3d an mated "adventures of tin tin."
>> extraordinary. >> what is? >> just watching that. >> reporter: and if producing credits on as many as six movies and four tv shows this year isn't enough -- >> the other side of this, we are using as the white house. >> reporter: production on the prolific filmmaker's next movie is already well under way. the day i caught up with him, he transformed virginia state capital in richmond into 1860s washington, d.c., for another historical drama, "lincoln." >> you can't do lincoln justice unless you find something that he did that was everlasting. and for me, what was everlasting was ending slavery. >> reporter: and making something everlasting is what's most important to spielberg now. the devoted father of seven is going to take something on, it better be worth it. you, i'm sure, get so many fab tassic scripts and yet there's no shortage of projects that you
could attach your name to. is it a higher threshold now? >> i'm a little more emotionally selective about the things that i sort of allow to kind of come into my life and touch me or even yank me out of my seat and say, you must direct me! it's a different criteria now. >> and when it comes to that lincoln movie, spielberg has decided to delay the release until after the election? >> reporter: that's right. i think both sides, both political parties lay claim to the mantle of lincoln. he didn't want the movie to be turned into some kind of political football, so, he's waiting to release it post-election. >> so it will be after november 2012. >> reporter: exactly. >> now, you are busy here's days. tomorrow night, a primetime special on the year. >> reporter: that's right. i'm really excited about it, terry. kind of a year-ender. and we're covering everything from the arab spring and occupy wall street to casey anthony, the royal wedding. and we also have the hall of shame, because there are been
many falls from grace, as we know, this past year. i think it's going to be a lot of fun to watch. i certainly had a great time doing it. >> jam packed. >> reporter: action-packed, too. >> sounds good. katie, thank you. >> reporter: you're welcome. >> and katie's special is tomorrow at 9:00 eastern here on abc. next up, an emotional homecoming, just in time for the holidays. ♪ all righty. oh, oh. you are a little biscuit. i'm carol.
uh, we should skedaddle 'cause it's girls' night. so...okay. oh, wow. you got a skinny-dipping scene after the duel, right? well, i -- shh, shh, shh. show. don't tell. [ male announcer ] your favorite movies right when you want them. just a little -- okay. oh, wow. [ male announcer ] watch unlimited tv episodes and movies instantly through your game console or other devices, all for only 8 bucks a month from netflix. [ carol ] this could turn me into a history buff. all for only 8 bucks a month from netflix. and even though you do what you can to take care of it, sometimes you want to give your immune system some support. try new airborne chewable tablets. each serving contains 14 vitamins, minerals and herbs...
when it started, the pope was polish. there was no such thing as facebook. and barack obama was a state legislator. and now, the iraq war is coming to an end. the men and women who fought it were all volunteers, answering the call to serve. now the late of them are returning home. they are coming home. after more than eight and a half long years of war in iraq, they are coming home. >> give my wife a big kiss, hug and we're going to head home. you know? we're going to live our lives and do what we want to do, enjoy it. >> reporter: james corder has served four tours of duty in iraq. the other day, he was awarded
the bronze star. as he packed up, he tried to find the worlds for what it all means. >> it's personal to me. what has been lost here, what's been gained here, it's close to my heart. too many people gave too much. i'm actually honored to be here and be the last unit out of iraq. >> reporter: the war in iraq began with a display of american might, a night of shock and awe. it ends, for our country, on a note of somber reflection and gratitude. >> welcome home. >> reporter: at ft. bragg in north carolina, president obama hailed the returning troops and sought to speak for the nation and express how we feel about the million and a half americans who serve. every single one of them, a volunteer. >> you remind us, there's something bigger than our differences. something that makes us one nation and one people, regardless of color, regardless of creed. you remind us, we're one nation. >> reporter: we asked so much of
them. 4,487 gave their lives in this war. more than 30,000 wounded. and for all the returning troops, for all who serve, the president today spoke of how their lives, and ours, are forever marked by their hard service. >> years from now, your legacy will endure in the names of your fallen comrades etched on headlines at arlington and the quiet memorials across our country. in the whispered words of admiration as you march in parades and in the freedom of our children and our grandchildren. and in the quiet of night, you will recall that your heart was once touched by fire. >> reporter: just a few hours ago, staff sergeant corder made it home, to ft. hood, texas. and he got that hug and kiss. >> i could not be prouder of you. and america could not be prouder of you. >> welcome