Hair Is Very Important to Shonda Rhimes


Shonda Rhimes hair documentary

A fun thing to do when Shonda Rhimes calls you on the phone is loudly whisper to everyone nearby, “HEY I’M ON THE PHONE WITH SHONDA RHIMES.”

And nobody can even be mad, because this is SHONDA RHIMES.

Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes.

Scandal showrunner Shonda Rhimes.

Little-known-author of The Princess Diaries 2 Shonda Rhimes.

And now, producer for a (seriously) good new beauty video Shonda Rhimes.

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The Hollywood mogul just paired with Dove to launch Meet Kylee, a short documentary created with an all-female crew in Utah. The film spotlights Kyleee Howell, the founder of Friar Tuck’s Barbershop, a place that offers barber-style haircuts for everyone, regardless of gender. “I thought about a young Kylee seeing me, and going, ‘Yeah, I can look like that, and that’s okay,'” Howell tells Rhimes. “I can still be beautiful and be [my] version of a girl.”

We spoke with the Shondaland empress about the new project, the way out of procrastination, and the importance of ’90s road trip movies.

Kylee Howell and her barbershop are amazing. How did you find them?

She found us! We put out the call [on social media] with Dove, asking people to send us their story, telling us about the moments where they feel their beauty was most defined. What’s the story about your idea of beauty? When did beauty get defined by you? That’s the magic of this project and what I love about it.

This short film talks a lot about how a haircut can transform and define a woman. Has that happened to you?

I think hair is pretty central to identity. I think that’s true for all women, but I know for me that my hair is true for who I am. It always reflects some evolution in me. When I change my hair, you know something about me is changing.


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What’s happening with your hair right now?

Right now, I’m kind of rocking a very natural curly, sticking-out-on-all-sides, non-Afro Afro. It’s the greatest hairstyle in the world, which is what I always think when I get my hair done. It reflects my attitude of, “I’m walking into a space where I’m not concerned with other people’s opinions. I’ve freed myself from that.” And truly honestly, part of this comes from meeting Kylee. She’s very inspiring.

Has Kylee inspired you to include a wider variety of women on ‘Grey’s Anatomy?’ Specifically, more butch women?

You know, it’s interesting you should ask that. Very interesting. I’ve been having this conversation a little bit lately. We’re missing a side of the female form—or any form—that’s not been represented yet [on Grey’s]. What does that mean? How do we tell that story? We’re talking about it.

You once said “dreamers often end up living in the basements of relatives.” What’s your advice to stop procrastinating and get shit done?

I think for me, and I think for many women who get it done—like Kylee getting her stuff together and opening her own shop—what I tell myself is this: “If you want to do something, you need to do it, or accept the idea that you’re not the person you thought you were.” If I’m going be a TV writer, then I have to be writing TV. Otherwise that’s not who I am. You have to do the work if you want to be the person you hope to be.

One last question because I had to ask: When you were writing ‘Crossroads,’ did you know it would be the most significant road trip movie of our time?

I didn’t know anything except that we were having a lot of fun. It was three girls making a movie about three girls. It wasn’t a biopic, it wasn’t a heavy drama—it was fun.


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