Growing up, I always had a love of movies--mostly classic films. I remember distinctly watching TMC with my Nana on her long, floral, silky couch. It was so fancy; I felt like such a lady. We’d snuggle close while my mom was at work, or as I got older, after school. We’d fit so well.
Robert Osborne would introduce the film, the stars and director, and maybe give a story or piece of Hollywood Trivia. I collected all that knowledge I learned. I stored it all in my mind, ready to share that information with my mom and sister (or really anyone). I’d tell them stories I heard and facts about Loretta Young, Myrna Loy, Gary Cooper, and my favorite Audrey Hepburn.
Since I was a kid I always fantasized about what my life could be if I had a job (as an actress) in Hollywood. It did mean long hours on the set, getting my hair and makeup done, rehearsals, costume fittings, meetings with the producers and press. And then there was the gowns and award shows, omgosh-don’t even get me started, (the 7 year old me inside just pressed my little hand to my little heart and swooned)! Ahhh and cars, clothes, shoes and jewelry, vacations!!!
Really, that is what I always imagined for myself. It’s this beautiful world, “my Happy Place” if you will. Glamour, (but hard work) and making films….what a life! I can’t wait!
I’ve been thinking about heros recently; this time of year can be somber for our nation. A time in which we reflect upon our heroes. I’m taking this in a different direction...who are my contemporary creative heroes? Who do I think of and light up; who am I thankful for in this industry? Who do I look up to, hope to be like? --- Well, for that answer I always said “I want to be the first Holly Williams,” but there are bits and pieces of industry folks I admire. I used to just want to be an actress. But as I grew I realized I have a love for writing as well. And even now, I’m discovering that I enjoy comedy and producing...who knows maybe I’ll even take a whack at directing one day...but for now, as far as contemporaries go these ladies are my heroes!
Tina Fey, (actor, writer, comedian, producer)
I really can’t say for sure what my first instance of Tina Fey was...probably SNL, probably Weekend Update, or some of her memorable characters and skits. Who can forget the Moms Jeans commercial or Sarah Palin--or the fact that she was the show’s first female head writer?
But actually, I'm just remembering something she did years ago... cult classic...very formative for my high school years, 2004’s Mean Girls. Come on, we all loved watching Tina play the kinda cool but hate to admit it teacher, Ms. Norbury.
Also, fun fact, in case you didn’t know already, Ms.Tina Fey wrote the screenplay based off a book which she thought was fiction...it turned out to be a non-fiction piece that was more like a self help book for moms about their teenage daughters, "Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence" by Rosalind Wiseman.
I know what you’re thinking…
Tina is such a badass!
She wrote and starred in 30 Rock, a show that I personally binged watched on Netflix because I was clueless about it while it was on the air. I love the character Liz Lemon; there were lines that I started using-- Liz Lemon sayings like “Blerg” and “Nerds”on the daily basis. The show was so well done. It was hilarious, totally ridiculous, and had Alec Baldwin playing Boston native Jack Donaghy, which was such fun to watch. The behind the scenes look at a sketch show gave the viewers some insight which I’m sure was too often based on real-life experiences for Fey and the cast and crew of SNL, no matter how much exaggeration there is. Sometimes the funniest stuff happens in life and you really can’t make it up…
so writers use it as perfect material!
But I think I really fell in love with Fey as a role model when I bought her autobiography from a Boston based used bookstore. I remember reading the pages and laughing out loud...literally, LOLing!!!
She’s stellar and if you haven’t seen Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, omgosh I almost forgot about that!!!! AHHH Stop what you’re doing..wait, finish the post, put off all your other important things and go to Netflix and watch the 2 seasons of the hit Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! Fey created, produces, and guest stars in the series. There are so many ridiculous, belly-aching, random humour which is just so amazingly put together. There are too many great lines to choose from. Titus Andromedan, that character is a gift to TV...just go watch it. Trust me, you’ll love it. Even my dad loves it. One night we watched like 10 episodes together!
So Tina, if you’re reading this...I love you! You’re such an inspiration, a fabulous role model and I’m so happy that you have such a stellar career! You’re one awesome lady!
My parents were recently divorced, I was old enough to want to go to summer camp and find a twin separated at birth, and I fell in love with England, London to be specific. It took me 12 years until I was able to fulfill my dream to live in London (went there for a year during college for study abroad...worth every student loan...more about my London times later)!
Since I was 8 years old I crafted my British accent, which I perfected enough to add variety and dialects. My sister and I would reenact scenes; I knew the entire movie by heart! And to this day if I see the film airing on TV I MUST watch it! (I still know each line)!
There was a period in time that the only CD’s I purchased were film scores and soundtracks. I lost count after 20….but seriously though, I love film scores! I listen to them while I write and let the music guide me. It’s awesome. Before my itunes updated, years ago I’d separate the songs into playlists of “Love/Light” and “Sad/Dramatic” and depending on the scene I’d work on that day that determined which playlist I’d write to. It was awesome...but then I got lazy when the updates crashed my playlists…
There’ nothing lazy about Nancy’s sets...I need to look this up, right now, because I want to get this right and give people their credit! Okay, ...over the years with the help of production designer Dean Tavoularis, set designer/decorator Beth Rubino, production designer Jon Hutman, and LA interior designer James Radin, she has managed to steal the home-decor and architectural design part of my heart.
Come on you know exactly what Hallie’s Napa house looked like!
Or the house in the Hamptons from “Something’s Gotta Give”...
oh yeah, also Nancy!
Nancy is an industry legend. She’s been around for years, making films you’ve seen and didn’t even realize belonged to her. She began as a journalist and over the course of years managed to be one of the top female directors. I’m not sure if she expected to have a successful Hollywood career when she started out, but I’m so glad she has one, she provides great entertainment that lives up to the recognition! (She’s a very big deal...trust me)!
I even have Nancy and Tina on my vision boards! They’re just just so cool! For all this and much more Nancy Meyers and Tina Fey have been and always will be a couple of my creative heroes and role models! Their lives might not be all Old Hollywood glamour, but for a modern day gal like me, they offer something to aspire to work towards. Their movies and shows are not like the ones I watched when I was a kid at Nana’s house, but I have quite the appreciation for the work they do.
They both have contributed to the industry in a way that has shaped and paved the way for female comedians, producers, writers, and directors. Together Tina and Nancy are two talented and successful women in Hollywood. It’s no wonder that I, like many others, look to them as creative role models. I hope to have the pleasure and honor to have an opportunity to work with both of these women in the future, and that one day there will be young girls and women who look up to me as someone who inspires them. Remember to always #getyourdreamon
Holly Williams is Executive Producer and owner of Pixie Chick Productions. She loves Disney movies (still), Tina Fey (of course), and feeling cultured…(think Fraiser Crane) all things art, film, music, and food! Holly has been writing screenplays since she was 13, has her MFA in creative writing, and is still perfecting her Oscar speech. She is thankful to be surrounded by such loyal, talented, and fabulous friends and family...who really are one in the same. Follow Holly on instagram @hollawilliams5590 and twitter @ hollawilliams