Over the last year, and even more so in the past few months, conversations about women’s issues, ones that have been stifled for far too long, are finally in the spotlight. It was the explosive expose about a man’s sexual misconduct and abuse of power that set the wheels in motion for what we can only hope will be a complete cultural transformation. From harassment and assault to the gender pay gap and equality, women from across the nation and all walks of life are feeling empowered to speak out and take action.
Among all the stories making headlines as of late, like the resurfacing of the Times Up movement, Catt Sadler leaving E! News and the Woman’s March protesting Trump’s inauguration, there’s one in particular that had me yelling out, “hell yeah, sister!” It was the Hollywood Reporter’s profile on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star Ellen Pompeo and her successful fight for a $20 million contract. Yepp, 20 freakin’ million dollars. She was never paid as much as her male co-star Patrick Dempsey, which is completely absurd if you ask me. As the title character on the show for 14 seasons, it’s totally deserved and about damn time! Ellen is now the highest-earning actress on a TV drama. Not too shabby of a title to hold.
The article was truly amazing and left me feeling inspired to always fight for what’s right, ask for what I deserve and never be scared to negotiate or allow someone to take advantage. It’s so important that as women, we don’t let fear stand in our way because nobody will give us any more then they think they need to. Ellen Pompeo reminded me of just that and I bow down to her for standing her ground. For those who haven’t had the chance to read it yet, here’s a recap of some of her best quotes from the article. I hope they make you feel as empowered as I do!
- On women in power lifting up other women: “In Shonda finding her power and becoming more comfortable with her power, she has empowered me… I was always loyal to her, and she responds well to loyalty. So, she got to a place where she was so empowered that she was generous with her power.”
- On standing by your principles: “At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than [Patrick Dempsey] just on principle, because the show is Grey’s Anatomyand I’m Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me. And I could have walked away, so why didn’t I? It’s my show; I’m the number one. I’m sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy? You feel conflicted but then you figure, “I’m not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house.”
- On knowing how good she is: “I’m 48 now, so I’ve finally gotten to the place where I’m OK asking for what I deserve, which is something that comes only with age. Because I’m not the most ‘relevant’ actress out there. I know that’s the industry perception because I’ve been this character for 14 years. But the truth is, anybody can be good on a show season one and two. Can you be good 14 years later? Now, that’s fuckin’ skill.”
- On knowing her worth: “Or maybe it’s just that as women, that’s our problem; a guy wouldn’t have any problem asking for $600,000 an episode. And as women, we’re like, “Oh, can I ask for that? Is that OK?” I’d call Shonda and say, “Am I being greedy?” But CAA compiled a list of stats for me, and Grey’shas generated nearly $3 billion for Disney. When your face and your voice have been part of something that’s generated $3 billion for one of the biggest corporations in the world, you start to feel like, “OK, maybe I do deserve a piece of this.”
- On women in power: “I don’t believe the only solution is more women in power, because power corrupts. It’s not necessarily a man or a woman thing. But there shouldbe more of us women in power, and not just on Shonda Rhimes’ sets. Look, I only have a 12th-grade education and I wasn’t a great student, but I’ve gotten an education here at Shondaland. And now my 8-year-old daughter gets to come here and see fierce females in charge.”