If you’ve ever watched Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal or How to Get Away with Murder, then you have already watched some of the greatness that is Shonda Rimes. She is best known as the writer, executive producer of these series that took the TV world by storm and broke through casting stereotypes prevalent then.
Her book Year of Yes gives us a peek into the life of this uber talented woman who is a single mom of three girls and a high-powered showrunner at the same time.
Read on to see why she inspires us:
- She works HAAARRRDDD: We can only describe Shonda’s schedule in one word – manic! She writes, produces, manages at least three shows at every point in time and when we say shows, we mean massive prime-time shows that have Americans glued to their TVs. To do this, you can imagine how she switches her mind from one show to the other to how she is able to create engaging content and how many people she’s managing; from writers, to actors, to technical guys. She’s a boss lady of epic proportions!
2. She re-defined the possibilities for African-American actresses: Before Scandal which had Kerry Washington as the leading actress, the last time a black woman headlined a network show was in 1974. She creates characters that don’t suit the usual stereotypes of TV and through that, advocates for minorities and a multi-cultural representation of the world on film.
3. She knows how to shut down: Shonda admitted that work can go on round the clock all year long. So, she switches off her phone at 7pm. She doesn’t work on weekends as she wants to make the most of her time with her children, friends and family. She also tries to leave work at 5pm so she can have dinner with her kids. She also allows those who work with her to take time for themselves.
4. She’s human: When asked how she juggles it all, she admits that she doesn’t. “I don’t. … If I am at home sewing my kids’ Halloween costumes, I’m probably blowing off a rewrite I was supposed to turn in. If I am accepting a prestigious award, I am missing my baby’s first swim lesson. If I am at my daughter’s debut in her school musical, I am missingSandra Oh‘s last scene ever being filmed at Grey’s Anatomy. If I am succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other. That is the trade-off.”
5. She has been celebrated for her hard work: She is the recipient of three Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe and awards from the Writer’s Guild, Producer’s Guild and Director’s Guild, Rhimes was named one of Time magazine’s 100 People Who Help Shape the World in 2007. Hard work speaks for itself – and loudly too!
6. She was once afraid of public speaking: She regarded herself as a fearful introvert who had social anxieties. Public speaking was a nightmare for her – she would stutter, shake, sweat – everything! Even with her popularity, she still regards herself as shy. But, when she decided to start saying ‘yes’ to everything, she also said yes to public speaking. Her brilliant Ted talk is testament to that fact!
7. She pushes herself out of her comfort zone: Shonda made a decision to push herself out of her comfort zone. She is more comfortable behind the scenes, but she agreed to appear on TV with Mindy Kaling and Jimmy Kimmel.
She also pushed herself to face her weight loss demons and lost 117 pounds through exercise and dieting. With all these, every challenge seems surmountable to her.
What about Shonda Rhimes inspires you? Leave a comment!