Rhimess characters, from Greys Anatomy to Scandal, feel like real women, and thats validating as hell
Do you know my favourite moment in The Princess Diaries 2 (subtitle: Royal Engagement)? Its when the queen throws off the shackles of respectability and does what is right for her (she proposes to her long-time commoner bodyguard). A teen film is not the obvious home for such deep real world wisdom, but it is a common thread in the work of the films screenwriter, Shonda Rhimes. She specialises in reminding girls and women messy, smart, pretty or otherwise that they are enough.
Rhimes, 46, is impressive, and the details of her success are staggering. She created Greys Anatomy (which coined, among other things, the term McDreamy) and Scandal (which gave us Olivia Pope and needlessly dramatic, breathless monologues), executive producer on How To Get Away With Murder. Rhimes gets what TV audiences want: to feel, deeply, for an hour or two, once or twice a week. And she gives it to us: Drs Bailey, Yang and Grey are our avatars, failing and trying again, over and over. They feel like real women, and thats validating as hell. I have against the odds courageously pioneered the art of writing for people of colour as if they were human beings, Rhimes said when collecting an achievement award in January, a sentiment she brings up again and again. Plus she finds time to quip on Twitter and cameo on The Mindy Project as a beer pong champ.
In a recent TED talk, Rhimes spoke about saying yes to things that scare her. Its not groundbreaking advice, but her delivery absolutely sells it: sharp, funny and clear-eyed about her own influence and power. Shes not perfect, but I still want to be her when I grow up.