I have this infatuation with Kerry Washington (Olivia Pope), the star of ABC’s hit drama Scandal.On camera she is a strong confident woman defending politicians, interns and the occasional assassin; all while having her heart strings constantly pulled by the leader of the free world, President Fitzgerald Grant. It seems as if her off camera persona is the same. I’m not sure what her love life is off camera… but did I mention her impeccable style?
I am drawn to these sorts of people. As I read this months Fortune Magazine I couldn’t help but turn to The 50 Most Powerful Woman section first. I have been dying for twenty “free” minutes to read it ever since I saw Sheryl Sandberg’s strikingly beautiful cover shot earlier in the week. So I am on my way to Los Angeles for the weekend and amidst my never ending to-do lists, flash cards and lesson plans I couldn’t hold out any longer.
Shonda Rhimes, the creative and executive producer of the hit shows Grey’s Anatomy (which reminds me, I need to get my brother new scrubs) and my personal favorite Scandal was named Fortune Magazine’s 50thMPW. I’d say this was quite the accomplishment to be next to women like Ginni Romnetty, Indra Nooyi and Meg Whitman.
Rhimes discussed her path to success with Fortune and it was then when I realized the woman I should really be in awe of is Shonda Rhimes, not Kerry Washington. Her responses were inspirational and embody the exact characteristics I admire in Olivia Pope.
FORTUNE: How do you balance Disney executives’ requests with your own desires?
RHIMES:That first year I was doing Grey’s, I didn’t know it was possible to fire the creator of a show off their own show, so I didn’t behave like someone who was afraid of being fired. If somebody game me notes that I didn’t like, I said, “I don’t like it and here’s why,” Instead of just feeling like I had to take it.
FORTUNE: You have such optimistic energy. Where does that come from?
RHIMES: My father used to say to me, “The only limit to your success is your own imagination,” I actually believed that-like, I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I might not be an Olympic figure skater. I’m sure there are barriers. I have chosen not to acknowledge them.
FORTUNE: Many of your characters are strong women. What’s your advice for fans that identify with them?
RHIMES: There’s nothing wrong with being driven. And there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first to reach your goals.
(Fortune Volume 168 Number 7, October 28, 2013)
Gosh, you see what I mean? Talk about women empowerment. Writing this has empowered me to tackle more homework while the rest of the passengers on my flight snooze. Hope it motivates you to start moving too!