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Newsletter 11.29.19

This is the best time of year. My favorite time to reflect, read great books, and plan for the year ahead. I recently finished Shonda Rhimes' short memoir "A Year of Yes." It might sound cheesy, but it's a candid take on her journey as a storyteller in film and how one moment in her life one Thanksgiving transformed her worldview into believing in herself and taking advantage of opportunities that come her way. 

Shonda's work has impacted the film industry in so many ways. Not only by succeeding enormously as a woman of color, but by putting career-driven, and charismatic women at the forefront of her stories. Scandal's Olivia Pope, Grey's Anatomy's Cristina Yang and Meredith Grey, and How to Get Away with Murder's Annalise Keating have all shaken the industry to share women breaking away from Hollywood's stigma and make names for themselves in new and creative ways. 

If you know of Grey's Anatomy, you've probably been enamored with Cristina Yang since the moment Shonda introduces her. As Shonda explains in her book, the making of Cristina Yang has inspired not only other women, but herself included. Cristina is the epitome of someone who puts herself first, something traditional filmmakers rarely express. A particular excerpt I enjoyed from Shonda, explaining one of the final scenes of Grey's:

Meredith and Cristina smile at each other. Cristina turns to go and then at the door, she turns back. She delivers her very last words. Her final piece of advice to the women of America. "Don't let what he wants eclipse what you need. He is very dreamy. But he is not the sun. You are." Her final piece of advice is not just for the women of America, I am not realizing, but also for me. 

Shonda's book explains how her characters embody what it means to be powerful women. Her own life has been paved with self-doubt, but she's created characters that have inspired her to be better and do better. And I'm thankful for her words, her stories, and her inspiration. 

To many more days full of thanks,
Maya Frai, Founder of Let's Hear It

The latest news on women.
What's Next for Victoria Beckham?
Beckham is a household name. But starting with a small collection of dresses and three staff in 2008, the pop star-turned-designer moved sharply away from the look that defined her style in her Spice Girl days. As a result, there is a mismatch between her fanbase and her label’s polished, minimal aesthetic and high-luxury price tags. (Pleated, mid-length dresses retail at £1,590, while the Eva chain leather handbag costs £1,400.) But Toledano was bullish on the future. “I firmly believe that our destiny is in our hands,” he said. “We have a great talent in Victoria and, if you take that asset with a dream team, we can do it.” 
Business of Fashion, November 26, 2019
She’s the Queen of Tap. Is Her Moment Now?
Like Beyoncé or Prince, the tap dancer Dormeshia is singular enough to need no surname. In her field, she is unsurpassed in all-roundedness. Other tap dancers make artistic compromises. They sacrifice elegance for complexity, or sound for visual beauty, or the reverse. Not Dormeshia. In her dancing, nothing is missing. Music and motion are a unified impulse, a perfect whole, and every time she improvises, the history of tap meets its cutting edge. NYTimes, November 26, 2019
Activists honor International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Women march demanding an end to violence against women in Quito, Ecuador on Nov. 23, 2019. Activists around the world participated in demonstrations leading up to and on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Nov. 25.
 NYTimes, November 26, 2019
Publication features on women and their careers. 
Photo: DVF.
Interview with Diane von Furstenberg

“It’s just a matter of paying attention. The secret in life is paying attention -- paying attention to the details. Someone can go into the woods, and you say, “What did you see?” They’ll say, “A bunch of trees.” And then somebody else will go into the same woods and see the universe.

In this interview with Entrepreneur, DVF explains how there's just one thing entrepreneurs can always control: themselves. She believes she’s a constant work in progress, having moved through multiple phases of her career and, even at the age of 72, happily on to the next. Read more here.
Photo: GQ.
Interview with Megan Rapinoe

“People saw themselves in us, in our fight and in the victory that we had as a team. I don’t think you really feel like that often, where sports can capture something that wide. We won the World Cup as a movement.” 

GQ features Megan and her story behind being Team USA's co-captain, going toe to toe with the president, achieving World Cup glory, and becoming a symbol of American excellence. Read more here.
Op-eds and letters on advice, experiences, and inspiration.

We need a picture of the holidays that makes room at the table for the delusional, the narcissistic, the wayward and those whose internal demons sometimes hijack their better selves. If we start with more realistic expectations, we will have a better chance of enjoying the moments of harmony at our Thanksgiving gatherings — those times when we feel a true connection with those we love and awareness of the unique gifts our family members and friends bring to the table.

Annette Lareau, "Make Room at the Table for Difficult People" –– NYTimes

Because we all have something to be grateful for. 
Photo: TED.
My Year of Saying Yes to Everything 

Shonda Rhimes, the titan behind Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, is responsible for some 70 hours of television per season, and she loves to work. "When I am hard at work, when I am deep in it, there is no other feeling," she says. She has a name for this feeling: The hum. The hum is a drug, the hum is music, the hum is God's whisper in her ear. But what happens when it stops? Is she anything besides the hum? In this moving talk, join Rhimes on a journey through her "year of yes" and find out how she got her hum back.

Watch here.
The LHI Newsletter is sent straight to your inbox every Friday morning. 

'Till next time.

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