While everyone else looks forward to Friday, Shonda Rhimes finds her power in Thursday. The television producer, who most simply calls herself a “storyteller” owns programming for one of the biggest nights in TV in terms of advertising dollars. She’s expanding her reach by bringing Shondaland to Netflix, but it doesn’t stop there. The 48-year-old, mother of three has partnered with Dove for their #GirlCollective by producing content for the brand as well as most recently hosting a workshop for over 200 Los Angeles’ based girls over the weekend.
International Day Of The Girl is approaching (October 11th) and Dove launched their Girl Collective with the help of Shonda Rhimes, singer Sza, and transgender rights activist Jazz Jennings. The Girl Collective is a sisterhood (both online and offline) that builds confidence and challenges beauty stereotypes. I got to see the Girl Collective in action at their large workshop held in downtown LA where the above women spoke to tweens and teens about developing self-esteem and reaching their full potential.
Rhimes keynoted the event where she spoke about her personal experiences with body image, her role as a storyteller, and more. She held nothing back and openly admitted that “media does an awful job of reflecting real people on television.” However, we can’t focus or rely on the media to do the work for us. We have to build our self-esteem so we aren’t affected by outside. She emphatically told the group of girls (including her daughter in the audience), “It really is what you believe about yourself is true. Period. It’s almost like you are casting a spell on yourself in the craziest of ways. What you believe about yourself becomes fact, in every way.”
She spoke about her upbringing:
“What I did not have many of is friends. I was very smart. I was not cute. I was different. And no one is crueler than a pack of humans faced with someone who is different. A lot of kids were mean to me. So I spent my free time reading books and I lived deep inside the worlds I built in my imagination.”
Her love for books and writing would lead her to be one of the most powerful women in television and media. However, while she’s successful, well-liked and famous, she admits that during her childhood, books didn’t save her completely. Though she lived in her imagination, “That didn’t mean I was lonely. That didn’t mean I didn’t wish I could look like someone else or act like someone else. I definitely had those moments. A lot.” With time though, things changed for Rhimes. “Somewhere down the road things changed for me. My inner voice shifted. I like to think that it had a lot to do with my love for writing. Writing has been my love, my truth…it’s who I am.”
Rhimes has a quiet strength about her, but holds a powerful message. She looked out at the crowd consisting of our future generation and said, “You are enough just the way you are.” “I tapped into what I love and I kept going. I encourage you to explore who you are. What defines you?” She reiterated the importance of creating of ones opionion of self for self. Rhimes said, “There will be opinions out there. Many. And many of those opinions will be about what you should look like, what beauty is.” She empowered the girls by firmly telling them, “Your body is yours. My body is mine. And nobody’s body is up for comment.”
This was pretty much the theme of the Girl Collective for the day. Dove is using it’s platform to create a community for girls to not only connect, but also take action. You can join the Facebook community, here.
Rhimes tapped into her younger self and gave advice to the girls who might be struggling with self, “Once you decide to define yourself, things become so much easier.” She also shared a message from her dad who always told Shonda, “The only limit to your success is your own imagination.”
We’re so here for this partnership between Shonda Rhimes and Dove. The brand continues to build a foundation for women and girls to feel good about themselves and I’m excited to see what flourishes out of this partnership.