As the host and producer of her own talk show Chelsea, which premiered on Netflix in May, Chelsea Handler uses her platform to promote a variety of important causes to her viewers, many of whom are young women who look to her as a role model.
Although her show frequently keeps me laughing out loud when it streams at 3 a.m. (apologies to my neighbors), Handler has tackled numerous deeply important, serious topics during Chelsea‘s freshman season.
When I met with Handler a little more than a week after the election, I was eager to speak with her about how women can support and empower one another — both politically and in our personal lives.
Handler hit the ground running in her May 11th premiere and made it clear that the 2016 election would play a major role on her new show. She has been an extremely vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton since the Democratic primary, and Handler explained why Clinton’s candidacy was so important to her.
Handler is also open about her personal life on Chelsea, and she gets hilariously candid about why she’s totally content “saying no” to marriage and children. As someone who actively doesn’t want to get married or have a child, I’m frequently confronted with responses like “Seriously?” and “I’m sure you’ll change your mind” — so I’m particularly appreciative of these segments. They provide validation to my lifestyle choices, and I know I’m not alone.
When I asked Handler what prompted her to make the “You Can So No” PSAs part of her show, she explained that, although it wasn’t a planned or preconceived notion, she believes in being forthright and honest with her audience, and embracing the single life is just part of who she is.
And, as Handler proves, a woman doesn’t need to be a mother in order to be an important role model to the girls and young women in her life. In addition to being an amazing mentor to her niece, the daughters of her best friend, Mary McCormack, are frequently on set.
Many of us saw Trump’s victory as a major blow to women, and it felt personal. Several hours after Clinton’s concession speech, Handler and Senator Barbara Boxer filmed the Chelsea post-election episode, and both women teared up as they expressed the personal impact the election results had on each of them. During the emotional episode, Handler expressed that it felt “so sexist,” but she wanted to spread the message to other women not to give up.
In addition to not giving up, Handler spoke to me about the importance of supporting women in our personal lives — even if they’re not necessarily our favorite people.
Handler points out that this is especially important right now — because women need to come together and support one another during this painful post-election period.
When I asked for some closing advice about how women can empower each other and be allies right now, Handler provided this powerful and important message:
After a painful week that left me and countless other women reeling, Handler’s words provided me with some much-needed hope, motivation, and encouragement. Despite the fact that she, too, is struggling to come to grips with what happened on November 8th, Handler has continued to use her voice to empower women — not just by showing up to work each day and fighting the good fight on camera, but by spending time with young women like me who look to her as a role model.