To the woman who made me say “yes.” To the woman who convinced me I could do anything I set my mind to. To the woman who helped me find myself. Happy birthday, Shonda. May 48 be another year of dancing it out and standing in the sun.
48 Times Shonda Rhimes Proved to be the Baddest Badass
1. That time she said this in her book, Year of Yes:
“Everyone’s got some greatness in them. You do. The girl over there does. That guy on the left has some. But in order to really mine it, you have to own it. You have to grab hold of it. You have to believe it.”
2. And she also said this, proving that luck has nothing to do with it:
“I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”
3. That time Shondaland landed the cover of Entertainment Weekly:
4. That time she told Oprah she was going to take over the world, and then did it:
“I remember saying, very almost jokingly, I’m going to take over the world through television, that’s my plan. And I said it to my agent, and I said it to my friends, and I said it to myself.”
5. She wrote an entire book about saying “yes.”
6. And in the same book, she taught us that the word “no” is a full sentence:
“One. Word. NO. No is a powerful word. To me, it’s the single most powerful word in the English language. Said clearly, strongly and with enough frequency and force, it can alter the course of history.”
8. She gave us a new vocabulary word:
“Badassery: 1. (noun) the practice of knowing one’s own accomplishments and gifts, accepting one’s own accomplishments and gifts and celebrating one’s own accomplishments and gifts; 2. (noun) the practice of living life with swagger : SWAGGER (noun or verb) a state of being that involves loving oneself, waking up “like this” and not giving a crap what anyone else thinks about you. Term first coined by William Shakespeare.” – Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes
9. That time she got really real about diversity on TV needing an award:
“We’re a little pissed off because there still needs to be an award. Like, there’s such a lack of people hiring women and minorities that when someone does it on a regular basis, they are given an award.” – Shonda Rhimes, 2013 (DGA Award Diversity Award)
10. She’s also not afraid to call out other shows that don’t diversify their casts:
Hey @abcfbunheads: really? You couldn’t cast even ONE young dancer of color so I could feel good about my kid watching this show? NOT ONE?
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) June 12, 2012
11. She has a land. And it’s named after her.
12. She played herself on the Mindy Show and it was beautiful.
13. That time she took a knee, alongside Grey’s cast members on set.
14. She wrote a musical episode of Grey’s Anatomy because she gives zero f*cks.
And don’t lie. You secretly love that episode and sing along to every lyric.
15. She actually gave a commencement speech at Dartmouth.
16. And in that speech, she told us not to be assholes.
“The air you are breathing right now is rare air. Appreciate it. And don’t be an asshole.”
17. She gave us Cristina Yang.
18. And Meredith Grey.
19. And Olivia Pope.
20. And Addison Forbes Montgomery.
21. She showed a three-dimensional, raw, honest, complicated LGBTQ relationship on network television.
22. That time she got real about hashtags.
“A hashtag does not make you Dr. King. A hashtag does not change anything. It’s a hashtag. It’s you, sitting on your butt, typing on your computer and then going back to binge-watching your favorite show. I do it all the time. For me, it’s Game of Thrones. Volunteer some hours. Focus on something outside yourself. Devote a slice of your energies towards making the world suck less every week.”
23. She gave a TED Talk about the hum and reinventing herself, reminding us that we can, too.
24. She gets real, and stays real, about being a working mother.
“Shonda, how do you do it all? The answer is this: I don’t. Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means that I am failing in another area of my life.”
25. She isn’t shy about the lack of women’s healthcare.
“Protecting the health needs of women requires champions? In 2017. Women’s healthcare needs protecting. Like some kind of endangered species. Like, holy crap, vaginas might go extinct. In the 21st Century. Women’s health needs protection.”
26. And because of that, she writes stories about women’s healthcare.
27. And she has three facts guiding those same stories. Fact one:
“I just can’t get over the fact that a room full of straight white men who couldn’t find a vulva with two hands and a flashlight are insistent on telling me and all my friends what to do with the vagina we have been driving around America for our entire lives.”
28. Fact Two:
“When women’s health needs are taken care of, when women have the right to determine their reproductive future, to screen and treat STDs, to get life-saving pap smears, their families are stronger, their work lives are more productive, their self-esteem rises and they feel empowered. Women are happier.”
29. Fact Three:
“I am very confused by the concept that anyone can feel that the health needs of women are optional but erectile dysfunction medication must be covered by insurance.”
30. She dressed up as Debbie Allen for Halloween.
31. She made Mellie Grant filibuster for Planned Parenthood on Christmas Eve.
32. She made Addison Montgomery provide medical services to women including termination because not enough doctors do so.
33. She made Cristina Yang and Olivia Pope have abortions. As is their legal right.
34. She met, and got a picture with, Pete Souza.
35. She’s created three shows. Each going to six seasons and beyond.
36. She interviewed Michelle Obama.
37. She drank cocktails in the same room as Carlos Santana.
38. She wore a dress with noodles printed on it. And totally owned it.
39. She taught a MasterClass. Which means she’s a master, right? Yes.
40. She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame by Oprah.
41. She coined the term “vajayjay” and wasn’t happy about it.
“We can say vagina and we do, but we had reached a point, at some point in I think it was season two of ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ where I think they had said we had used it too much or something, and I really had a problem with the idea that we couldn’t use it because we had an episode where you could say ‘penis’ 17 times or something… but you could only say ‘vagina’ a certain number of times before somebody just had a heart attack. This is a medical part of someone’s body; it’s a piece of someone’s anatomy. We actually should be calling people’s body parts what they are. This seems ridiculous to me that we’re saying we’re offending someone’s sensibility by naming something that 50 percent of the population possesses. In the end, because there was just no more time, I had to come up with a different word, and the word we came up with was ‘vajayjay.” –Huffington Post Interview, 2015
42. That time she gave us all some of the best life wisdom.
“Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.”
43. She taught us all that a 30-second dance party can’t solve the world’s problems, but it can solve the right now problems.
44. That time she told us that dreams don’t do anything on their own.
“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”
45. Also the time she got real about being her own boss.
“I don’t know how this is going to come off sounding. I’m in a position of power where I run this world and handle this situation… If I’m going to make a crazy decision, then I better be damn sure. Because it’s not like anybody’s going to tell me, ‘You can’t do that.'”
46. She actually has a “No Ass-hole policy.”
“I don’t put up with bullshit or nasty people. I don’t have time for it.”
47. That time she redefined the narrative of working mothers.
“I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works. I want that example set for them. I am a better mother for it. The woman I am because I get to run Shondaland, because I get to write all day, because I get to spend my days making things up, that woman is a better person – and a better mother. Because that woman is happy. That woman is fulfilled. That woman is whole.”
48. And finally, when she was named by TIME Magazine as the first woman to create three hit shows with more than 100 episodes each.
Happy birthday, Shonda!