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What We Can Learn From Elle Woods

Legally Blonde is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favorite movie (see how comfortable I am using legal jargon in everyday life? #takingafterelle). Many people assume it’s the ultimate chick flick (read: completely unrealistic rom-com with a happy ending), so this week, I decided to investigate their claim (or maybe it was just an excuse to rewatch the movie #sorrynotsorry). I found that the movie provides an excellent role model for young women in its main character, Elle Woods. She teaches viewers important, relevant life lessons that every woman should internalize. While I may not have proved a woman innocent of murder thanks to my knowledge of the “simple and finite” rules of hair care, I feel pretty accomplished that I was able to defend the sanctity of my favorite movie! Grab some popcorn and read on to see what you can learn from Elle!


1.     Be yourself

“So you can do it the Washington way. But I’m going to do it the Elle Woods way.”

When Elle heads to Washington DC to pass a bill prohibiting animal testing (in Legally Blonde 2), she struggles with the completely new environment and the serious attitude of her peers. In order to persevere, she must stop conforming to their norm and revert to her true self – all while wearing her signature pink! Remember that your unique perspective and insight is what makes you special – so don’t feel pressured to fit in with the rest of the crowd. Be yourself!

2.     Have confidence

“I don’t need back-ups. I’m going to Harvard.”

Simply put, if you don’t have confidence in yourself, others won’t have confidence in you either. Elle’s self-confidence is apparent to those around her, including the Harvard admissions officers; by demonstrating that she believes in herself, she makes them to believe in her as well. Confidence is key!

3.     Make sacrifices

When preparing to take the LSAT, Elle has to give up attending frat parties for the sake of studying. Her sacrifice pays off when she finally achieves her goal score of 179 (high enough to get into Harvard!). Next time you’re stuck in the library while your friends are partying it up at Shooters, remind yourself that your sacrifices will pay off!

4.     Exercise is important!

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.“

Take Elle’s wise words into consideration next time you get in a fight with your roomie or feel super stressed about an exam. When you feel your anger or stress level rising, head out for a quick jog or take a fitness class at Wilson. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and in a much better mood than you left!

5.     Appreciate your peers

                    “Gather ye round,
                     Friends and foes together,
                     United and bound,
                     Pass it to your neighbor
                     Instead of blowing up,  
                     And we’ll find harmony and love  
                     In the Snap Cup!”

Be it through Elle’s preferred “Snap Cup” or another method of expressing “warm fuzzies”, it’s important to acknowledge your peers for their hard work and accomplishments. When working in stressful group environments (like so many Duke students do), it’s easy to overlook the benefits and positive contributions of each member. Next time your group seems to be struggling, try an exercise like the Snap Cup! Hearing compliments from peers is an awesome way to reenergize your team.

6.     Bend and Snap

“In my experience, it has a 98% success rate of getting a man’s attention and – when used appropriately – it has an 83% rate of return on a dinner invitation.”

Need I say more? (Be sure to check out the link above and get some practice!)


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