Rosemary Donahue
June 09, 2016 1:18 pm

Okay, so at this point, I’m basically the resident (get it, resident?) Grey’s Anatomy writer here at HG. I’ve written about why I’ll never stop watching the show. I’ve caught these two possible cases of foreshadowing. I even managed to get an interview with Ellen Pompeo (I think we’re friends now, no big deal). But a little known secret is that I also watch Shonda Rhimes’ other hit shows — How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal, and even the now-defunct Private Practice.

Here are my favorite women from ShondaLand, and why I find them so inspiring:

Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy

Meredith Grey is the first woman from ShondaLand who I fell in love with. She’s “dark and twisty” (like me!), but she still manages to love fiercely. She’s been to hell and back and she is still standing, and I look to that as a reminder that no matter what I’m going through, I can survive, too.

Olivia Pope from Scandal

I love the way Shonda writes women. They’re multi-dimensional, and Olivia is a fantastic example of this. She is emotional, and cares deeply about Fitz, but she’s also cutthroat when it comes to her career. Her signature “It’s handled” means business, and when she says she is going to take care of something, she won’t let you down. It struck me recently that she cries nearly every episode, but I still trust her — she allows herself to feel her emotions, and they never get in the way of her work.

Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder

Annalise Keating is an incredibly flawed person — but she doesn’t claim to be otherwise, and she is honest about who she is. She’s also extremely talented at her job, so much so that those around her often bow down and overlook her flaws for the sake of asking her legal advice — even when it’s to clean up a mess she helped make.

Addison Montgomery from Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice

Okay, so we were supposed to hate Addison when she first came on the scene, but she redeemed herself over time and I actually grew to love her. She just never quite fit in in Seattle, even though she tried her best — LA was really more her style. She hit her stride when she joined the team on Private Practice, and finally stopped living in Derek and Meredith’s shadow.

Mellie Grant from Scandal

This one might be my most controversial choice — she’s not the most popular person in ShondaLand, for sure, but she definitely has her merits. While I’m not necessarily a “stand by your man” type of woman, myself, I do think there’s something to be said for how politically hungry Mellie is — she’s incredibly smart, and knows how to play the game. Her backstory is also filled with pain, and yet, she’s overcome it and used it to power her goals. She’s stronger than anyone gives her credit for, despite the way that Fitz and Olivia treat her.

Cristina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy

Cristina actually reminds me of one of my close friends — my person. She seems cold and unemotional, until all at once, her emotions bubble over. She’s naturally smart, which means that she wouldn’t even have to try, and yet she DOES try, so hard. It’s admirable to watch her study so hard, and still manage to be there for Meredith the way she is. She also manages to squeeze in the occasional dance party.

Laurel Castillo from How to Get Away with Murder

For the uninitiated, HTGAWM is probably Shonda’s craziest show yet. That is, in my opinion, at least. Things move at a whirlwind pace, and by the finale episode of each season, you don’t know which way is up anymore. That’s kind of why you need Laurel there — while everyone else is freaking out, she (mostly) holds it together. She’s the one being rational, while everyone else is saying their final prayers or making plans to skip town. She’s been through some rough patches before, so she has a little more perspective than the rest of her colleagues.

Miranda Bailey from Grey’s Anatomy

Last but definitely not least is Miranda Bailey. She can stare people down like nobody’s business, she can give an inspiring pep talk that’ll get even the laziest intern off their butt, and she is an all-around talented and driven surgeon. She inspires me to be a better human, friend, and to be more ambitious every time I see her on the screen.