Why Grace Helbig & Iliza Shlesinger Are So Important to Me

Before our spring break, Her Campus U Wyoming honored influential women all week. These women have touched each of our writers in ways that have shaped them to be who they are today. Now it’s my turn.

I don’t have just one woman who has influenced me, there’s been many (my mom, my Matchi, my friends). But there are 2 women who have helped me find who I would like to be when I reach 30, as they both are 30, but also who I aspire to be now. They are both comedians and both very different. One of them is Grace Helbig and the other is Iliza Shlesinger.

Let’s start with Grace. It was 2014 and I was sitting in Buffalo High School’s infamous Sadget Hole, which was just a practice room in the band room where two of my close friends hung out. While we were eating lunch one showed us a video by Grace Helbig called “How to Dye Your Hair”. At first I was thinking this isn’t glamorous, this girl doesn’t know what she’s doing, she’s kinda funny, but this isn’t great. But then we watched Hannah Hart, and later I continued watching more of their videos. And then Grace Helbig became my role model.

From the outside when you google Grace Helbig, she looks put together on the red carpet or photo shoot. She looks like she would be seen with her hair always done, makeup on, and the cutest clothes. But if you watch enough videos and listen to her podcasts you will soon learn that her normal look is unwashed hair (usually in a bun), whatever she found in her room that morning (still very cute), and a perpetual hungover look upon her face. (Seriously, you wouldn’t always be able to tell from her Instagram either.) Her videos aren’t these lifestyle videos where she gets up early, eats a healthy breakfast, and goes for a run with her dog. In her podcast with Mamrie Hart (another iconic lady who I love dearly) she talks about how she’ll Postmate nachos after a night out, loves sleeping in, and watches reality tv. While I have nothing against lifestyle vloggers who make it seem like their lives are together 24/7, it’s nice to have someone who shows you how it really is. Her life isn’t always perfect (she’s talked about the struggles she faced in college in her books and on her podcasts) and she knows she is a very socially awkward and anxious human. The entertainment industry is a very cutthroat place, so the pressure would be on to look perfect, act perfect, or reverse her entire life to “fit in” to the Instagrammer Influencer culture. But she hasn’t. She does what she wants to do and knows herself well enough to do it.

This is important to me, because I am really good at math (all connected I promise. Also weird flex, but okay). I’m so good at math I could be an accountant or engineer (what my mom and matchi assumed I would be) but instead I decided to major in History (just for the love of the game as some would say). I get asked alot “what are you going to do with that?” “why history, it’s so boring,” or my personal favorite “do you think you’re gonna find a job with that?” Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that last one, but I’m okay with that. I will find a way to do what I love without changing anything because I know from watching Grace that if I stay true to who I am and try not to fit a mould of what girls my age are doing I’ll be just fine.

Okay everyone hang in there we are almost done, this is a lot of reading I know.

The next woman that has influenced my life is Iliza Shlesinger. Now I feel like such a fake fan saying this because I just discovered her in the past 6 months and have only watched her latest two Netflix specials, but… here we are. Iliza has influenced me similarly to Grace Helbig because she’s so relatable and doesn’t try to make her comedy similar to men’s. Her “Confirmed Kills” special has a very feminist oriented take on life. She is all about female empowerment, with a couple of raunchy jokes thrown in there at times. Iliza Shlesinger knows all about how to be a girl in the 21st century and she does it with her own flair. But besides this point there is something she does that isn’t as direct as being a relatable, fun feminist.

Iliza Shlesinger talks in her 2016 comedy show about what it is like to be a single, relatable, fun feminist in her 30s. This is important to me because as someone who seems to always be “perpetually single” she exclaims that this is not a bad thing that women should not be shamed for. I will repeat what she says: “If you’re not happy, then take yourself out of that situation.” (Something like that). Granted, now she’s married but she got married last year when she was 33 (I think?). When I first saw her comedy show it was like a veil was lifted and I realized a fact that seems to be obscured out here in Wyoming: that it is 100% normal to not be getting married once you hit 20. Watching Iliza (and Grace, who is very private about her love life and is okay with being single in her 30s) it reminds me that instead of stressing about being married or perpetually single I can just be having fun with my life.

Both of these women are not traditional influential women as they do not have poise or a certain amount of badassery, but these two comedians have shown me that it’s okay to be funny, awkward, whip smart, relatable, single, pretty, a feminist and a whole slew of other things. They showed me that instead of stressing about what this boy thinks of me I should just go out, have fun, and live. These two women are the reason I write in the style I do for Her Campus (with the little parenthesis side notes) because those inner thoughts of mine and what I’m going through might resonate with another girl who is going through the same thing. Basically, what I’m trying to say is thank you to these two lovely ladies as they give me the courage to live fearlessly.

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