Unless you’ve been living under a rock, we’d be willing to bet money that you’re
aware of the phenomenon that is #TGIT. Thursday nights on ABC are the perfect time to have a girl’s night because of the back to back hit tv shows. Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder. What do all of these shows have in common? They’re all written, directed and produced by the same woman. Shonda Rhimes!
Born on January 13, 1970 in University Park, Illinois, Shonday is the youngest of 6 kids. Both her mother and father worked in academic settings and Shonda carried that passion for learning. She received her Bachelor’s from Dartmouth College, studying English lit and creative writing. While in college, Shonda also was heavily involved with the campus’ Black Underground Theater Association where she directed and performed in many productions. After graduation, for a short time Shonda worked in advertising, but then relocated to California to study screenwriting at the University of Southern California. Though she had two degrees, a fruitful career did not come quick for Shonda. She worked many odd jobs to make ends meet, from office administration to job counseling. But she continued to write, creating short films and writing scripts for productions like the HBO film: Introducing Dorothy Dandridge starring Halle Berry, Crossroads featuring Britney Spears and The Princess Diaries 2 starring Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway.
However, Shonda is most known for her creations Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. Grey’s Anatomy is in it’s 12th season, making it one of the longest running primetime television series in the U.S. Shonda also won a Golden Globe for the show, Best Drama TV Series. Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder are also extremely popular shows, breaking records and dominating social media. She also now has her own production company: Shondaland. But with her successes, Shonda has taken some L’s as well. Some her shows have been cancelled or have failed to be picked up by networks. Regardless, Shonda is not afraid to sing her own praises. In her featured Ted Talk, Shonda declares that she has “Four television programs, 70 hours of TV, three shows in production at a time, sometimes four. 24 episodes of Grey’s, 21 episodes of Scandal, 15 episodes of How to Get Away with Murder, 10 episodes of the Catch. That’s 70 hours of TV. That’s 350 million dollars for a season. In America my shows are on back to back on Thursday night. Around the world my shows air in 256 territories, in 67 languages, for an audience of 30 million people. My brain is global. You know who else is doing that? Nobody.”
In a society that pressures women to stay “modest,” Shonda has no problem celebrating herself. As she should! She is the first African-American woman to create and executive produce a top 10 network series. And she has received several awards on her daring ability to cover topics like race and sexuality in her shows. Shonda is a woman with a brain and a voice who’s not afraid to use it and we should all follow her example. Forget worrying about other people’s comfort. When you’ve accomplished something amazing, you better let the world know! Don’t let anyone dull your shine. You can keep up with Shonda on twitter @shondarhimes.