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Shonda Rhimes Is On a Mission to Give You Olivia Pope-Level Confidence in Yourself

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Taylor Hill/Getty

Dove has always been committed to showing real women, as opposed to celebrities or models, in its beauty campaigns. So when the beauty brand looked for a creative director to produce short films that feature real stories from real women’s lives for its latest Real Beauty Productions initiative, there was no question Shonda Rhimes was the perfect fit.

“When I think about my storytelling, the shows are really about just portraying the lives of women as realistically as possible, as flawed as we are, as powerful as we can be, as ambitious and competitive [as we are], while also serving up a great story, obviously,” Rhimes told PeopleStyle. “I love the idea that their mission is about showing women as they really are, so the idea of serving as creative director for a campaign such as this felt really natural.”

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Right now, Dove’s newly-launched Real Beauty Productions and Rhimes are putting out the call for women to share their stories about what beauty means to them. “We’re going to choose some stories and make the films from there,” she said.

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On her hit shows, from Grey’s Anatomy to Scandal to How To Get Away With Murder, Rhimes portrays real beauty in a way that’s greater than just what you see the characters looking like on the outside.

“I think Viola [Davis]’s wig and the removing of her makeup was a really powerful moment of showing a woman how she truly is when she takes off all of the masks that she holds onto throughout her day to keep herself armored against the world,” Rhimes told us. “But I don’t know if I would call it necessarily a pure ‘beauty’ moment. I think what makes each one of those women beautiful is being powerful, working at all cylinders, loving themselves, feeling really confident. Beauty is greater than your hair or your eyes. It’s a bigger picture.”

In her own life, Rhimes admits as she got older, she stopped trying to look like someone else and focused more on appreciating herself. “I don’t know if it is age. I don’t know if it is motherhood. I don’t know what it is, but at some point I just looked up and thought, ‘Oh I am not worried about any of that at all,'” she said. “Confidence carries you through. But I don’t know if any woman’s ever at the point where she is 100 percent accepting it.”

UPDATE 7/25: After sifting through thousands of applications, Rhimes and Dove chose to feature an inspiring story from Kylee Howell (who felt it was impossible for her to embrace who she was growing up in her small town in Utah) for one of their Real Beauty Productions Film videos. Check out Kylee’s moving story below!

What’s your #RealBeauty story? Head to Dove’s website and share yours – you might even be picked to end up in one of Shonda’s short films!