7 Reasons We Have All Fallen in Love With Amy Poehler
Amy Poehler is a brilliant, hilarious, talented, passionate, giving, inspiring human being who America is lucky to have in our midst, and it's no surprise the smart girls of the world have fallen madly in love with her and everything she stands for.
To say Poehler is a powerful woman in Hollywood is an understatement — please reference her 17 Emmy nominations for producing, writing, hosting, and acting. And yet, that's just the beginning of what makes Poehler great.
She is so committed to empowering girls and women that she founded the organization Smart Girls which is solely dedicated to helping girl girls be their authentic selves. And you may have heard of that little bestseller "Yes, Please?" that's overflowing with positive advice and inspiration for women at all stages of their lives.
And though we don't need a reason to celebrate her existence, her 44th birthday seems like the perfect time to share just some of the moments that facilitated our one-sided love affair.
1. Because she reclaimed the word "bossy"
It was this quote that first made me think, Yes. I need to hear every single thing Amy Poehler has to say. “I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody’s passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn’t mind leading.”
2. Because she is a champion for enthusiasm and positivity
Amy Poehler is not a fan of the jaded, the cynical, or the gossips of the world. Smart Girls' mission is about cultivating curiosity over gossip, intelligence and imagination over fitting in, action over idle talk. "I want to be around people that do things," she said in her 2013 Power of Women speech. "I don't want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people that dream and support and do things."
3. Because she knows she is fabulous, and owns it
"I've always dreamed of growing up to be Amy Poehler," she once said. Is there a more beautiful or inspiring statement than that?
4. Because she delivered the greatest debate closing statement — fictional or not — of all time
Yes, I understand that Amy Poehler and Leslie Knope are different people, but the point stands. This speech made me cry real tears. [Clip] "If I seem too passionate, it's because I care. If I come on strong, it's because I feel strongly. If I push too hard, it's because things aren’t moving fast enough. This is my home. You are my family. And I promise you, I'm not going anywhere."
5. Because she gave us Leslie Knope
To fully convey my passion for Leslie Knope in a mere paragraph would be impossible. So too would it be impossible to understate just how important and groundbreaking a character she was. Yes, she is funny and flawed and at times, ridiculous. But mostly, Leslie Knope is the embodiment of the idealism Amy herself so often talks about. Leslie Knope is an irrepressible optimist, but she is not a fool. She is never above making a fool of herself, trying too hard and risking failure. And that's how she gets things done. She understands the problems facing her community, her city, her state, her country, and her world. The difference between her and most people is that she genuinely believes she can do something about them every single day — and because of that, she does. Television certainly needed a positive female character like Leslie Knope, but it’s much bigger than that — the world needs more women like her.
6. Because she takes the time to make videos where she answers questions from young girls
As part of her organization, Smart Girls, Amy has a video series called “Ask Amy,” in which she answers questions from girls about anything and everything — volunteering, love, crying, you name it. It will surprise no one that her advice is fantastic — inspiring, vulnerable, and strong. Here is one of my favorites: “Once you start becoming passionate about things, passion is what teaches us who we are and what we want our world to look like, and the kind of people we want to have in our lives. So start figuring out what excites you, or what angers you, and fight for or against those things.”
7. Because she understands that you can be vulnerable and strong
In fact, being vulnerable makes you strong. “Vulnerable people are powerful people,” she says in one episode of Ask Amy. In her book she writes, “Saying “yes” doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying “please” doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission.” In her Power of Women speech as part of her humanitarian efforts for Worldwide Orphans Foundation, she felt so strongly that she started crying. Countless times, Amy Poehler has shown us that our vulnerability and emotions are nothing to be ashamed of — in fact they may be our greatest strength.
Thank you Amy. Happy birthday.
Photo Credit: Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/ Getty Images