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October 11, 2018 05:17 PM

Shonda Rhimes doesn’t shy away from talking about her journey to self-acceptance — and through her partnership with Dove, the Grey’s Anatomy creator is helping to boost confidence in thousands of others.

In 2016, the prolific storyteller and the beauty brand banded together to produce a series of short films in which real women revealed their meaning of beauty. And recently, the two joined forces to launch Dove’s major new self-esteem initiative, Girl Collective, a sisterhood (supported by a social media community) aimed at challenging stereotypes around beauty, and inspiring young girls.

Dove kicked the project off in Los Angeles with a confidence-building summit which featured Rhimes as the keynote speaker, as well as a panel with the outspoken songstress SZA, Transgender Rights Acvitist Jazz Jennings and more. And while hundreds of girls pumped their fists to Beyoncé’s Run the World (Girls), Rhimes sat down with PeopleStyle to talk about makeup, meditation and the power of staying positive.

Emma McIntyre/Getty

Since partnering with Dove on its confidence-boosting initiatives, what have you learned about your own self-confidence?
“I used to be one of those people who needed to have makeup on, but I’ve stopped wearing makeup every day, and have become really comfortable with my bare face, which is fascinating. You would think that you’d become more comfortable with it way earlier on, but, no. Now I spend more time examining it, in that sense of what do I love about my face and what do I love about myself. I feel really good about not feeling like I need a mask — and I feel like it’s really good for my daughters to see.”

How has this collaboration helped you have conversations with your three daughters about self-esteem?
“Probably because of the fact that I have been doing this project, we talk about it more. My five and six year old, when you’re that age, you run through the world with a sense of self-esteem that’s incredible, that somehow by the time you hit 16, which is what my oldest daughter is, it’s changed — the world has changed it for you. So, [she and I are] talking about the idea of beauty more — and all of her teenage girlfriends who come to the house get a little lecture, too.”

At five and six years old girls might just be starting to see images on tv and social platforms. How do you manage that in your household?
“There are just a lot of things we don’t watch. Some children’s programming is actually really shocking, so I try really hard to limit what they see and how much they see.”

What does it take for you to feel your most confident self?
“I think it’s a process. And part of the first step is understanding that the words you say to yourself matter. So for me, it was really about figuring out what I believed about myself. Luckily, my father said every day at least twice a day, ‘the only limit to your success is your imagination.’ So much so that I truly believed it. Those things, the more you say them, the more true they become. I used to say “I am going to take over the world through television.” And at first I said it in a joking way, but after a while, it started to feel really true. It depends on how often you say it, how much you believe it and how much you want to believe it. But, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen overnight, or that it’s easy. Nothing that matters is easy.”

When do you feel most empowered? 
“When I am at work and writing. And when I am with my daughters in the evenings and we’re sitting in bed and I am reading them stories.”

What does self-care look like to you?
“I try not to work on the weekends. I try to turn off my phone a lot. I have been doing a lot of skin care, face masks, which is very soothing and forces you to be quiet. And I have been meditating, or trying to. I am not very good at it—yet!”

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