Shonda Rhimes creates some of the most intricate, scream-at-the-screen-worthy plots, arcs, and characters that the world has ever seen — so much so that her Twitter bio once warned her followers not to @ her with their complaints. But in an age where fictional scripts are beginning to mimic what goes on in the real world, it's far too easy to be influenced by the media's messaging. Young girls are especially impacted: a 2007 New York Times story reveals that young people see at least 5,000 advertising messages a day. And much of that advertising only displays a rigid standard of beauty... which calls for plenty of TLC at home. Rhimes' advice for self-care includes a good face mask — because duh — along with finding a group of friends that'll lift you up in this era of superficial validation.
Rhimes signed with Dove to create the Girl Collective, a digital sisterhood that reinforces confidence and goes against the troubling stereotypes that most girls face. To kick things off, Rhimes (along with SZA and Jazz Jennings) spent an entire day pouring her wisdom into a group of 300 young women through a series of empowering panels and activities in Los Angeles.
"Your tribe can be any kind of person, anyone you identify with — anyone who feels like you, who feels like home, who feels like truth," Rhimes tells The Zoe Report. "I wanted to see people on television who look like me, and I wanted to see people on television who look like my friends. You should get to turn on your TV and see your tribe."
Read more of Rhimes' advice ahead, and learn more about the Girl Collective here.
"I want to remind girls that what you believe about yourself is true. Period. If you believe that you’re not attractive and no one’s ever going to love you, that’s what’s going to happen," Rhimes says. "If you believe that you’re beautiful and that you’re powerful, that’s what you exude. Deciding some really positive things about yourself is powerfully important."
That's where faking it until you're making it comes in big: Adjusting the way you think about yourself — and those around you — won't just happen overnight. Call yourself out on negative thinking, and call out those who perpetuate stereotypes, even unwittingly, Rhimes says.
"I’m not concerned by other people’s thoughts about how we should look or be or think. I think about how to impart that to my three girls. I want to make sure they know who they are, not some reflection of what they think beauty is," Rhimes says. That can mean unlearning things you didn't even know you were taught.
"We’re still in a world where people say things like 'female doctor.' There’s still that idea that women have to be adjectives in order to define something versus just being the noun of a sentence. You have to have more people who don't look like you in the writers room. I try to have some people who don't look like me in my writers room. I think it's important to have a group of voices, of people who can dissent."
As for what to do instead? Take care of yourself — even if that means staying home. "I’m a mask-oholic," says Rhimes, who very much recommends a self-care routine that you can fall into like a habit "I do a mask every single day, all different kinds. I've also started doing the 10-step Korean beauty ritual and skin care thing, which takes forever. And mostly, it's like my time — it's quiet, and it feels meditative because it's just me by myself, slathering things on my face, which I absolutely am obsessed with."