What you can learn from these strong #BOSSBABES.
There’s a Japanese proverb that says “Fall seven times, stand up eight,” which is sage advice intended to encourage the downtrodden to persevere. If you’re finding yourself in the same state, take this saying and the proceeding tales to heart. These are the inspiring stories of women who didn’t take “no” for an answer and went on to achieve greatness.
Creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, How to Get Away with Murder, and Scandal
Shonda Rhimes, the creator of ABC’s Thank God It’s Thursday drama lineup, did not always have the powerful clout in the entertainment industry that she wields today. While pitching one of her first shows, Grey’s Anatomy, Rhimes was told by ABC execs that no one would want to watch “a show about a woman who had casual sex and threw a guy out the night before her first day of work.” She rejected these opinions and pushed to create the strong, female-driven show she had envisioned. That female character became the iconic Meredith Grey, and Grey’s Anatomy (soon to air its 13th season) went on to become a cultural phenomenon, paving the way for Rhimes’ other blockbuster hits Private Practice, How to Get Away with Murder, and Scandal. Rhimes’ strategy for overcoming adversity: “There’s a box you get put in…blow that box wide open.”
Star and producer of Superstore
As America Ferrera pursued her acting career, she found herself fighting with her manager for the chance to audition for lead roles. Her then manager pushed back, describing Ferrera as having “an unrealistic idea of what she could accomplish.” The ambitious actor ignored the negative feedback, switched managers, and continued to go after the big gigs. Thank goodness she did. Ferrera went on to become a household name, playing the lead in Ugly Betty. Recently, she returned to the small screen as the star and producer of Superstore, a stand-out sitcom about the hijinks of employees working in a fictional Walmart-esque megastore.
Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine
Today Anna Wintour is arguably the most powerful woman in the $350 billion dollar fashion industry. So it may be a surprise that this formidable leader was once fired from the fashion world. As a junior fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar, Wintour was let go for being too “edgy.” Wintour didn’t let that hiccup stop her—she moved on to other roles and worked her way up the ranks until she landed the biggest gig of all, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, which she’s held for 28 years and counting.
Author of Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and Dark Places
Gillian Flynn started out as a journalist, working her way up from writing for business trade magazines to television recaps for Entertainment Weekly. Her initial foray into book writing hit several snags. Her first novel Sharp Objects was rejected from publishers who “didn’t think women would like to hear about women who did bad things.” But Flynn kept on querying publishers until Sharp Objects found a home. Her third book, Gone Girl, went on to become a bestselling book and blockbuster movie, made memorable by the one thing publishers were hesitant to print: a fascinating female antagonist who does bad things.
Actor on Orange is the New Black
It’s no secret that the life of an actor involves a lot of auditions and a whole lot of ‘nos’. When actor Danielle Brooks booked her breakout role as the ambitious and hilarious inmate Tasha Jefferson (a.k.a. Taystee) on the hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black, it was the first time she’d landed a gig in a full year. After Brooks was rejected for a role that she really wanted, she took her disappointment and channeled it into something productive. Brooks came back to work on that same TV show, but behind the scenes—instead braiding the actors’ hair for just $25 dollars. She told Elle that the “$25 continued to add on to the possibility of me living my dream. Sometimes you have to sacrifice your pride to really go after what you want.” Take her positive attitude to heart. Let the next “no” you hear motivate you to make your dreams come true.