The Rise and Times Shonda Rhimes 

Written by Ariel Frankeny – Featured in BELLO mag issue #164

If you’ve watched any Thursday night television, there’s no doubt that you’re already addicted to one of the many successes of Shonda Rhimes.  Whether you’re hopelessly binging the Golden Globe-winning medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy, or dying for your weekly dose of the Emmy-nominated political thriller, Scandal, Shonda has already worked her way into your life (and weekly schedule).  Her highly addicting and well-thought out stories have been a game-changer in the industry, setting a new standard for prime-time television and enrapturing audiences all around the world.

This award-winning writer, director, and producer is the first African American woman to create and work as an Executive Producer on a Top 10 network series (Grey’s Anatomy), effectively kicking down doors for other women to follow in her footsteps. With the extreme success of Grey’s Anatomy, Shonda was able to create her own production company, aptly named “ShondaLand,” which has played a major role in producing successful series such as Lawlessand Private Practice.  After the creation of her cult-favorite shows Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, she has gone on to release a book and sign a multi-year deal with Netflix to produce both new series and other projects for this entertainment-industry giant.

By creating empowering female characters that truly speak to and invigorate women everywhere, Shonda is fostering a community of powerful women that know that they can be successful and beautiful, but still kick-ass, too.  Whether you’re an Olivia Pope-type or more of an Annalise Keating, identifying with her authoritative and fearless female main-characters is an empowering experience for women everywhere.  Through showing that women can be both strong and intelligent, Shonda’s dynamic female characters are a perfect tools for changing the industry and its misconceptions.

In 2018, Shonda helped to make history by being one of 300 women in the entertainment industry, ranging from writers to actresses to directors, to announce the launch of the “Time’s Up Initiative” via an open letter in The New York Times.  This initiative is intended to foster gender parity across all industries, particularly the entertainment industry, and influence legislators to introduce laws that would penalize those who allow harassment to occur.  In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations, this initiative

We absolutely need more women like Shonda in the entertainment industry, especially given its tumultuous state.  In today’s times, women cannot be considered equal partners in telling their stories, whether through highly addictive television shows or simply reporting the news.  They are often overshadowed or even silenced by their male counterparts, unable to play the part or make the change that they so desperately want to affect.  Through the “Time’s Up” initiative and their bold actions, Shonda and other game-changing women like her are working to break down these barriers, telling their stories and fighting oppression of women in all industries.  With her leading the way through her success, actions, and empowering characters, we are well on our way to a changed, more inclusive entertainment industry.

 

About The Author

Aleksandar Tomovic
Editor in Chief

French photographer (of Serbian Origins) lives and works in Los Angeles. Known for his celebrity fashion editorials and recognized around the world for his european esthetics and american efficiency.

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