6 Career Women From TV and Movies to Give You Inspiration

When it comes to career women in film, the representation is not always done in a particularly...positive light. Career women in Hollywood films are cold. Career women in Hollywood films are emotionally distant.  Career women in Hollywood films are usually in need of a man *eye roll* in order to rediscover their sense of humor and zest for life.

It’s a stale formula as old as time.

But it’s important for women to have positive, career driven role models in media. While there’s no shame in not wanting a career and society has come very far in its’ acceptance of women in the workplace, there’s still plenty of stigma in being a career driven woman.  

1. Elle Woods from “Legally Blonde”

This list wouldn’t be complete with the iconic Elle Woods on it. “Legally Blonde” is one of those rare progressive films that demonize career-driven women. Instead, it’s an uplifting and inspiring story of a young woman finding a sense of self-worth and discovering her passion.

After her boyfriend breaks up with her for being “shallow," sorority Elle Woods decides to follow him to Harvard Law in the hopes of winning him back. Along the way, she soon learns that she actually has the makings of becoming a talented lawyer. 

Elle Woods is funny, hard-working and never once sacrifices who she truly is or what she wants for the sake of a man.


2. Miranda Priestly from “The Devil Wears Prada”

I know that Miranda Priestly was “supposed” to be the villain in “Devil Wears Prada."  And she has no shortage of terrible qualities. She’s demanding, rude and absolutely terrifying. Although honestly...I love her. Sorry, not sorry.

Loosely based off real-life boss babe Anna Wintour, Miranda Priestly certainly isn’t some patsy. There’s plenty of stigma about going into the fashion industry. Since fashion tends to be linked to femininity, the fashion industry is often considered shallow and not important. But Miranda Priestly is here to put those critics in their place.

3. Princess Carolyn from “Bojack Horseman”  

“I can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’,” is Princess Carolyn’s mantra for life and she follows it steadfastly. Having humble beginnings in Eden, North Carolina, Princess Carolyn climbed her way up the Hollywood (or Hollywoo) ladder until she eventually started her own management company.

“Bojack Horseman” is a show that discusses a great many hard to talk about issues and has a litany of well-rounded characters. Princess Carolyn’s ambition, determination and willingness to help everyone around her is, while also her fatal flaw, her greatest strength. She’s tenacious, tough and always lands on her feet.

4. Annalise Keating in “How to Get Away With Murder”

First of all, you know any character that is played by Viola Davis is going to be a bada*s. Annalise Keating is no exception. In Shonda Rhimes’ “How to Get Away with Murder,"  Annalise Keating is a talented attorney who has been through the wringer. Viola Davis has talked at length about how the character of Annalise Keating has changed the way people view dark skin women.

Also, this crossover scene with Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating is exquisite.


5. Sgt. Olivia Benson in “Law and Order SVU”

Olivia Benson is not only the sergeant of the NYPD’s Special Victims’ Unit but also a dedicated foster mother. Her empathy, dedication and emotional intelligence is the reason why she’s so good at her job and managed to rise through the ranks as she did. Olivia Benson’s support for victims of sexual assault can be often found in every episode.

6. Mindy Lahiri in “The Mindy Project”

Mindy Kaling stars as the always endearing Dr. Mindy Lahiri, an OB/GYN who misadventures have been making us laugh since 2012. With hyper-feminine charm and bubbly demeanor, her character not only redefines the studious, introverted stereotype attached to Indian women but also defies the cold, unfeeling stereotype of career-driven women. She’s a romantic. She’s flirtatious. She’s intelligent and passionate.


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