Shonda Rhimes and the “Year of Yes”

Shonda Rhimes and the “Year of Yes”

Super producer and ruler of Shondaland shares about work-life balance, relationships and learning to embrace everything

by Kyra Kyles, November 12, 2015

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Shonda Rhimes and the “Year of Yes”

Associated Press

Shonda Rhimes is #bae. 

She owns an entire network night.  An ENTIRE night.  Don’t try to act like you don’t run home (DVR for what?) to check out “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” or “How to Get Away with Murder,” or all three.  We’re not judging.



Next up, she makes no apologies for being imperfect.  She got up at her alma mater of Dartmouth and let us all know that not only does she not have it all, nobody does.  And that’s fine.  

And finally, this award-winning super producer is sharing even more secrets with us mere mortals via “The Year of Yes.”  If you enjoy the rapid-fire dialogue of her characters, reading this book will feel like home.  

Rhimes opens up, and inspires, discussing her personal experiences as a sister, daughter, mother, friend and boss tempered with biting insights on societal expectations of women.  She delves into her much ballyhooed weight loss, but not in quite the way you’d imagine, emphasizing health over Hollywood beauty standards.

Most admirably she doesn’t try to tell you precisely how to capture your personal nirvana, as is evident in this passage: 

“It may be different for you.  Your happy place.  Your joy.  The place where life feels more good than not good.  It doesn’t have to be kids. My producing partner Betsy Beers would tell me that for her that place is her dog.  My friend Scott would probably tell me that for him it is spending time being creative. You might say it’s being with your best friend.  Your boyfriend, your girlfriend.  A parent.  A sibling.  It’s different for everyone. For some of you, it might even be work.  And that, too, is valid.”

But what she will (and did) do, was give some practical advice that you can follow even if you aren’t rolling Shondaland style.  She shares, as Oprah has in the past, what it’s like to be thought of as a walking ATM.  For anyone who has ever been cornered by broke cousin Ray Ray, what she shares can work for that situation too.

Rhimes also has a serious #blackgirlmagic moment that will have you all uplifted and ready to ask your boss for that raise he or she has been promising for quarters. I’ll give you a sample of right ‘chere:

“Do you think Oprah doesn’t know she’s the best talk show host ever? Do you think that she stays awake at night worried people think she thinks she’s the best?  No. And Audra McDonald and her record-setting six Tony Awards cannot possibly show up to rehearsal nervous that someone will think she believes she is a better Broadway performer, right?”

Don’t get it twisted though.  The title doesn’t imply running Willy Nilly into any and all situations.  The Svengali behind “Scandal” takes special care to explain you must expel toxic people from your circle because sometimes you have to say “yes” to saying no.

Sound counsel, indeed.  For more, Rhimes’ blend of biography and badassery is available now.





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