It’s April and Women’s History Month has ended but that doesn’t mean we should stop being inspired by the incredible women around us. Let’s celebrate women all year long.
The women who inspire us are usually our moms, grandmothers, teachers, or friends. My grandmother immigrated to this country to meet up with my grandfather who was already here. She traveled alone with her young daughters and then they had 11 children. I had teachers who pushed me to be a better writer, a track coach who challenged me by making me captain of the team, and a friend, she is an exceptional artist; they have all inspired me at different times in my life.
Strong female television characters have also been an inspiration to me. Especially the ones on my favorite shows by Shonda Rhimes. She is an American television writer and producer, a storyteller who creates powerful female characters. These women are unbelievably smart, funny, brave, and memorable. I have many favorites. However, there are several who really resonate with me.
Here are five of the most inspiring female characters from Shondaland:
I have been a fan of her first series, Grey’s Anatomy on ABC-TV since its inception. The show introduced us to an amazing cast of women. The women of Grey’s have been single mothers, a drug addict, bisexual, lesbian, and ethnically diverse. Most of them hold top surgical positions in usually male-dominated fields. Two of the most inspiring are its head protagonist, Dr. Meredith Grey and Dr. Miranda Bailey.
1. Meredith Grey
Meredith balances being a single mother of three children and her career as a top-notch surgeon. She has faced many challenges including having a parent with Alzheimers, the sudden death of her husband, and truly more grief than any person could handle. Yet, she remains motivated to keep going. She is never bubbly or fake, is self-proclaimed, “dark and twisty” and I love it. You can trust Meredith will be forthright and act on her convictions. This character is one I turn to for motivation and a reminder to “dance it out” when I start taking life too seriously.
"Don't let fear keep you quiet. You have a voice, so use it. Speak up. Raise your hands. Shout your answers. Make yourself heard. Whatever it takes, just find your voice and when you do, fill the damn silence.” ~Meredith Grey
2. Miranda Bailey
Miranda Bailey is one of the OG characters who’s been on Grey’s Anatomy since the beginning, 17 seasons. Her no nonsense leadership made her feared by the interns, but also drew respect as their mentor. A fan-favorite from day one she is now Chief of Surgery and has evolved into a compassionate, confident, and brilliant surgeon. She has survived a heart attack and learned to manage an OCD diagnosis. If you are lucky enough to call Bailey a friend, you know she will stand by you. Who isn’t inspired by her strength and legacy?
"But at the end of the day, the fact that we show up for each other, in spite of our differences, No matter what we believe, is reason enough to keep believing." ~Miranda Bailey
The political thriller, Scandal had me glued to my television screen for its cast of powerful women who don’t let men push them around. The most bad-ass of them is the lead, Olivia Pope, she runs a crisis management and communications firm handling high profile clients.
3. Olivia Pope
Olivia Pope is unapologetically formidable. She demands a lot from her “Gladiators” mediocrity is not part of her vocabulary, she gets the job done. It is impossible to not be inspired by her boldness, fashion style, passion, resourcefulness, and confidence. Olivia makes you feel empowered to tackle the hardest task. I would also love to share a glass of red wine with her as we celebrate our victories.
"I am very good at what I do. I am better at it than anyone else. And that is not arrogance, that is a fact." ~Olivia Pope
Legal thriller, How to Get Away with Murder stars award-winning actress, Viola Davis, in the lead. First, let me say, she is probably my favorite actress. Viola seamlessly becomes every character she is given to play, and her portrayal of Annalise Keating is brilliant.
4. Annalise Keating
In How to Get Away with Murder, Annalise Keating is captivatingly a character you hate to love. She is flawed, an alcoholic, insecure, calculated, and manipulative, but she is also complex, confident, successful, loyal, and real. She never pretends to be perfect and even believes she is unlovable. Yet stands up for others and against those who mistreats them. Annalise is a survivor, and resonates with the fighter in me.
“Think carefully. Everything about this moment will not only determine your career, but your life.” ~Annalise Keating
Shonda Rhimes’ latest creation for Netflix introduces us to flagrantly bold female characters in her Regency-era period drama, Bridgerton. While the main character, Daphne Bridgerton is beautiful, thoughtful, and respectful, it is her sister Eloise I identify with the most.
5. Eloise Bridgerton
Eloise Bridgerton is a spirited young woman who is determined to buck society norms that demand she find a husband and have children. She has dreams to become a writer and has little patience for the men in her family who either take their talent for granted or pressure her into courtship. Eloise is observant, witty, and outspoken. She would rather further her mind than her heart. I am inspired by her modern feminism, self-awareness, and her passion for becoming an author.
"Having a nice face and pleasant hair is not an accomplishment. You know what is an accomplishment? Attending university!" ~Eloise Bridgerton
Where to Watch?
Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Thursday Nights at 9:00 p.m. ET on ABC-TV, previous seasons are on Netflix and Hulu
How to Get Away with Murder Seasons 1-6 are available on Netflix
Scandal Seasons 1-7 are available on Hulu
Bridgerton Season 1 is on Netflix, Season 2 is coming soon