Inspiration From: Rosa Diaz

I’m not even sure if there are going to be Brooklyn Nine-Nine spoilers, but I’m so accustomed to typing something in italics at the beginning of these that I wanted to at least say hi to all of you before I start the blog.

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Image from FOX

Ah yes. The final Inspiration blog. It’s been a fun, reflective journey that I’ve wanted to do for some time. Three of the characters were in the plan to write about for about a year, Petra and Emily entering a couple of months ago. I wanted to write six, only because I like even numbers (oh sue me) so I was trying to figure out someone else I drew a lot of inspiration from. So naturally, I took to my Instagram and like a message from above, a post from Stephanie Beatriz graced my feed.

(*Doug Judy voice* Rosa Rosa Rooooosaaaa, oh yeah, beautiful Rooooosaaaaa)

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Image from FOX

Yes, I’m talking about Rosa Diaz, the true badass of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

I relate a lot to Amy (painfully so…) and I quote Gina on the regular, but every time I watch Rosa do almost anything, I find myself wishing I could be more like her. Rosa is who she is, and she doesn’t apologize for it. She takes command of any room she enters and even goes as far as to slightly terrify everyone around her. You take one look at her and you know she’s tough. You take one look at me and wonder what grade I’m in. I want to be Rosa.

I tend to be a bit of an open book to anyone and everyone. No, not every person gets to hear my entire life story (except for what I write about, which is honestly almost everything) but once I’m comfortable with someone, I pretty much lose my filter. Nobody knows anything about Rosa, to the point where she lets the squad come to her apartment to hide one night and the only reason she does so is because she was already planning on moving so no one would figure out where she lived. When she’s pressed about her past, she uses her typical methods to stop the conversation. I’m not saying I want to be that closed off, but I could probably learn to ride that line a little bit better.

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Image from FOX

Rosa is another one of the bisexual baddies I admire so much on modern TV. She’s even portrayed by a bisexual actress Stephanie Beatriz, whom I also admire. I touched on this a bit in my blog about Petra, but still at the age of 24, my bisexuality is still a part of my identity I struggle with. Watching Rosa try to make sense of it while being able to clearly reference feelings for women when she was younger really hit home for me, as it was something about her she always knew but never really understood or knew how to express.

She also knows how to take care of herself. How many scenes have we seen where she’s just an absolute kick-ass cop? She can stand up for herself both physically and mentally which is amazing in my book. I’d be lying if I said the scenes where I said the scenes I most wished I were Rosa weren’t the ones where she’s doing something absolutely badass, like catching a criminal. She’s just fierce.

So while I’m not season one Boyle or Doug Judy level obsessed with Rosa, she is someone I’d put on the “Who should I be like?” Mood board. Especially when I’m rocking my formal leather jacket, the one without any blood on it.

Signing off for the inspiration blog series! Not sure what’s coming next, but hopefully I can keep up with a mix of light-hearted and deep. Hopefully you all enjoyed reading these as much as I loved writing them.

Inspiration From: Katniss Everdeen

If you don’t at least have a baseline knowledge of what happens in The Hunger Games books or movies, I’m judging you a little, but spoilers ahead.

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Image from Lionsgate

Okay, you all knew that this one was coming. How many Katniss quotes have made it onto my weekly letterboard? Every time I’m in need of a little dose of badass, I marathon The Hunger Games movies and remind myself of what I’m capable of.

When I was really struggling this summer when I started IOP at St. Vincent’s and my mom was staying with me, I asked my mom if she would mind if I put Catching Fire on while we were eating dinner and hanging out at home. Much to my surprise, she not only ended up liking the movie, but ended up invested in the franchise. I explained that when I’m feeling low, I draw strength from Katniss. My mom laughed a bit and said, “Yeah, I can absolutely see that.”

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Image from Lionsgate

Part of what I love so much about Katniss is that she really didn’t know quite what she was capable of until she was thrown into it. She points out to President Snow in Mockingjay that she didn’t ask to be in the Games (which we all know, but hearing her say it gives me chills because it’s me). I don’t just admire her finding her strength because it’s great character development, I admire it because of the parallels in my life as a sexual abuse and assault survivor.

From the moment Katniss steps on the train, she’s determined to make the best of the situation she’s handed. Does she sometimes become overwhelmed with what’s thrown her way? Absolutely, but she doesn’t back down at any moment. Even when she’s one of the tributes who’s smaller in stature, she makes her mark as one of the strongest fighters, partially because of her will to survive. That fire to keep her going is something I try to channel as much as I possibly can.

Am I Team Peeta or Team Gale? Or do I have a love triangle parallel there? No, but my parallel for that debacle is part of why I can’t stand Gale with his selfish, narcissistic “yes but I don’t like how the pain you’re experiencing affects me” attitude. Not that I’m going to call anyone out, as I pretend to be better than that, but I will admit that’s something I have a fair amount of experience with dealing with one of those, which is why I choose Team Katniss. But for the purposes of who would be her better match? Peeta, hands down, as we don’t deserve Peeta Mellark.

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Image from Lionsgate

Katniss also cares about the people in her life. She volunteers for the Games to save Prim’s life. She’s more than willing to give her own life in the Quarter Quell if it means keeping Peeta alive. Even when she isn’t quite sure of her feelings for Peeta, she’s hellbent on keeping the romance picture alive to keep everyone in her life safe. She’s even furious when she finds out her prep team had been kept as prisoners in District 13. If Katniss decides she likes you, you’re taken care of and I’m very much the same way.

So am I going to pick up a bow and arrow and attempt to overthrow a dictator? Not likely, mainly because I never quite got the hang of archery when we tried it in middle school P.E. But I will keep Katniss in mind when I feel like I’m in over my head in a situation, or when I know I’m about to walk into something that I want to run away from. Even without Cinna’s armor keeping me safe, reminding myself that I can be the Mockingjay can be enough of a motive to stand up for myself.

Inspiration From: Olivia Pope

Do I really need to do spoiler warnings for these anymore? Fine, potential Scandal spoilers ahead.

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Image from ABC

I remember seeing previews for Scandal right before it premiered in 2012 and thinking it looked intriguing, but it wasn’t until I was a public relations major that I really felt the strong urge to watch it—it’s a show about a tough woman who works as a self-proclaimed fixer for high-powered clients with biiiiiiig problems. Olivia Pope, portrayed by the outstanding Kerry Washington, is independent, glamorous absolute badass with so much depth and a close group of friends who are just as incredible.

Olivia Pope is the epitome of “never let them see you sweat.” In the pilot, you see her negotiate with literal criminals without showing even an ounce of concern or fear. One of my favorite quotes of Olivia’s is, “I am very good at what I do. I am better at it than anyone else. And that is not arrogance, that is a fact,” because I feel that it truly demonstrates the amount of confidence that she has in her abilities.

One of the central plots of Scandal is the love story between Olivia and Fitz and while I love Fitz (and Tony Goldwyn–why do these blogs keep turning into me thirsting over my subjects and their costars?) my favorite thing about their story is that 90% of the time, she’s the one calling the shots. They don’t have the best beginnings (infidelity is not good) but they are two problematic people in love that can’t quite seem to overcome their obstacles. When he wants to try and just use her for sex while they aren’t on good terms, she sets the boundaries and turns her attention toward work.

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Image from ABC

This one’s a little more personal for me, but watching her evolve as a trauma survivor was incredibly empowering for me. While our traumas are different, the storyline where she’s kidnapped was almost like watching a metaphor for what it’s like to feel like you’re being kept from speaking up about what happened to you–like her finally being set free was a parallel telling me I could share about the abuse I experienced as a child. I’ve often felt like some of my random, strong reactions that come with my PTSD are out-of-line, but seeing a character that’s so put together struggle with them too (and even act on a couple… the chair, anyone?) made me feel less alone.

Of course, there are about a million other things in Olivia’s life to be a little envious of. Her amazing coworkers and friends, her kick-ass wardrobe and her beautiful apartment but when I think of Scandal, it’s Olivia’s altogether makeup that makes me admire her. And yes, while I always eat up the on-again off-again drama of her relationship with Fitz (and I wholeheartedly blame this show for the fact I want to name a future son Fitzgerald and have him go by Fitz), watching her independence has helped me become who I am today.

And to that I say, it’s handled.

Inspiration from: Sutton Brady

Do I even have to say The Bold Type spoilers ahead?

 

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Sutton, Jane and Kat (Image from Freeform)

Freeform’s The Bold Type is a fairly newer show, especially compared to some of the other shows and movies I’ve talked about and are planning to talk about. It premiered in 2017 and from the first episode I was hooked. Watching three close friends (Jane, Kat and Sutton) navigate New York City and work for Scarlet Magazine (based on Cosmo) while dealing with personal and professional struggles.

 

So of course, as I had just started my internship at Hoosier Park and was getting ready to graduate that upcoming December, the show grabbed me faster than most shows had. I wanted to work at Scarlet! I wanted to be friends with Jane, Kat and Sutton! I wanted a boss like Jacqueline! Where’s my Richard? This show is amazing!

My first go-around watching the show, I identified with Jane, but even then, the connection was lukewarm. Jane’s a writer and feels strongly about what she believes in, but she still felt too lost (and sometimes, whiny—so not a knock on Katie Stevens, all the love to you!!) for me as this was the time of my life I was really starting to discover my drive. While my career path was taking me to harness racing rather than Scarlet and my Jacqueline went by the name of Emily, I had my sights set on my own greatness. 

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Image from Freeform

I rewatched the first season just before season two came out and realized that not only did I identify Sutton more this time around, but I felt this strong desire to become as much like her as I could while still keeping, you know, me. 

Sutton had to pretty much build herself and while I’ve had help from some key people in the way of support and advice, that’s something I had to do with my career. Sutton’s life looked like getting out of her hometown, paying her way through school, creating the job that would get her what she wanted (which was intimidating but wow) and taking different career leaps throughout the show. Mine was getting out of my hometown,  taking an internship I knew nothing about, starting a career in an industry I had only recently learned about and learning to be assertive with my career. Each new season has premiered while new things have happened at work, so I feel like Sutton and I have grown together.

With a previous point, Sutton did indeed create a job for herself. When we’re treated to the flashback episode in season 3, she’s working as a temp and we learn that she only starts as Lauren’s assistant because she approaches Lauren, who is one of the more intimidating people in the office, and tells her that she needs an assistant since all of her male counterparts have one and she doesn’t. Sutton works her butt off there and then spends the first season exploring other career options,like the safe ad buyer position and the fashion assistant position that she ends up taking. She isn’t afraid to take career risks to get what she wants.

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Image from Freeform

While her relationship with Richard isn’t one of the reasons I admire her (though I’ve always had a sentimental fondness for Sam Page, even when he played a dirtbag in Mad Men and Gossip Girl) I admire the voice she uses in their relationship. Yes, I’m pretty vocal about how I think Sutton and Richard are relationship goals, especially in season three, but as someone who’s historically had trouble speaking up in relationships, the way Sutton says what she wants in her relationship is something I know I can do more of.  Right off the bat, in the first episode, she tells him what I think is one of the most iconic quotes in the series:

“I want to go out on dates. I want to be asked out on dates, and if that’s not what you want, I understand. But I need you to know I want to be that girl you can’t stop thinking about. I deserve to be that girl.”

But she not only sets her own boundaries, she also believes in true love and she isn’t afraid to take risks for love too. When she’s in Paris for Fashion Week, she’s ready to drop everything and fly back to New York to tell Richard that she still loves him, even though being at Fashion Week is all she’s ever wanted. Unbeknownst to her until she’s getting ready to get in the car, Richard was already on his way to Paris to meet her (they are so my favorite TV couple) and they have the cutest moment ever. Sutton believes in love, which I adore.

This has already been my longest admiration blog, but like I said, I sometimes have felt like my growth has run parallel with Sutton’s. The Bold Type is an amazing show with a kick-ass cast that I believe is one of the better-written shows for women that’s come out lately. So whether my admiration of Sutton is shown by me slyly imitating outfits of hers or trying to pick up on Meghann Fahy’s aesthetic through Instagram, Sutton is absolutely the character I’ve felt most connected to in a long time.

 

Inspiration From: Emily Nelson

As with all of these, spoilers ahead. For this post, spoilers for A Simple Favor specifically

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Image from Lionsgate

Okay okay okay, I know I might lose some of you here but bear with me.

“But Emily is a villain!” Yes, I know.

“She is a manipulative psycho.” I am aware.

“SHE IS A MURDERER.” Will you let me get my point across?

I’m not saying she’s a good person. Not even a little bit. I’m not saying you should aspire to be her. I’m saying she has some traits that I wish I had, not that I’d trade places with her or mark myself as her on a personality test.

I read the book before seeing the movie and to be honest, I preferred the book ending where she gets away with everything. A Simple Favor is a story filled with TERRIBLE people (anyone who tries to tell me Stephanie isn’t terrible can go home) who do terrible things, but Emily, while being the worst of the bunch, is the one that you find yourself rooting for. If you watch the special features of the movie, they reveal that’s specifically why they cast Blake Lively for the role–she can play a compelling villain that you almost want to win.

Her number one driver in the entire plot is her son. An argument could be made for money being a motive, but she wants that money to provide a comfortable life for Nicky. Does she go about it in the best way? Absolutely not. Faking your death and killing people is never an okay thing to do. But down to the end, she loves her son and that’s why she does everything she does.

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Images from Lionsgate

She’s also the picture of confidence. When Stephanie is apologizing for anything and everything (which is an AWFUL habit of mine), Emily fires back with, “You don’t need to apologize. It’s a fucked up female habit.” She owns who she is and doesn’t back down from a tough situation. She’s a little too tough when talking to her boss, but she won’t let anyone walk all over her.

Of course, she’s absolutely glamorous. Part of this might be the Blake Lively casting (because I’d give up my voice Little Mermaid-style to look like Blake Lively… kidding!… kind of) but the radiance that emanates any time Emily is onscreen is captivating. Not only are the characters fascinated, but it turns her into a character that you want to watch and know more about, which is why the story is so intriguing.

So if you’ve stuck with me, you can see it’s not her moral compass that intrigues me, but her traits that exist despite that. This is another one that just might be influenced by the double Taurus in my birth chart, but for now I’ll keep turning on A Simple Favor when I need a nice shot of a beautiful aesthetic, in the way of a pretty movie or just Henry Golding’s accent.

Inspiration From: Petra Solano

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Image from CW

My blog is my blog. The url is my name. So I get to write about what I want to write about. However, I feel like lately the focus has been almost entirely on mental health and while advocating for open discussions about mental health and general awareness about mental illness are things I care very deeply about, I want to try and change the mood here a little bit. This somehow turned into the idea for a series on fictional characters that have shaped me into who I am now, especially throughout my recovery from my time at St. Vincent’s and coming forward with my story in a public way.

Because it’s my blog, and I’m going to do what I want.

I had recently made a post on my Facebook about identifying with Jane from Jane the Virgin but sometimes feeling like a Petra, but a friend pointed out that after a quick Google search and without even watching the show, I was Petra without a doubt. I thought about this for awhile because it confused me quite a bit at first. No, I’m Jane. I’m awkward, I wear sundresses all the time, I’m a writer and I’m even Catholic! We have the same personality! But as I watched Petra’s character development under a closer eye, especially in the final season, the lightbulb went off and I realized that I was indeed Petra Solano, HBIC, Bisexual Badass of the Marbella.

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Image from CW

The source of my confusion when compared to her at first is the fact that she starts as a villain—you very clearly are not rooting for her when the show begins. The more you learn about her, though, you learn she has faced some serious trauma (her abusive relationship with Milos, and don’t even get me started on her mother) and she’s had to survive a rough upbringing. While that does not in any way excuse her unkind behavior in the beginning of the series it explains why she so desperately wanted to cling to Rafael and the life he could provide for her, because she knew the things she needed to do to survive.

I’m just beginning to rewatch Jane The Virgin again, and even seeing how she acts in the beginning when she is very clearly a villain is something I can identify with. No, I’m not saying I’m a villain, but she’s motivated by money, status and love, which admittedly are all things that drive me (oh don’t act surprised about money and status, I’ve got double Taurus in my birth chart). She wants to cling to her marriage to keep her money and her power, but also because she still loves Rafael.

As time goes on, though, she learns her worth. Not only does she make it clear that she won’t be anyone’s second choice, when she’s pregnant with the twins, she makes it clear to Rafael that her and the twins won’t be playing second fiddle to Jane and Mateo. She knows she and her girls are worth the effort and she isn’t afraid to voice that. Also, the fact that she names her daughters Elsa and Anna without getting the Frozen reference is pure gold, and later has Elsa go by Ellie.

This isn’t something I talk about a lot on my blog (or publicly anymore, because I’m 24 and it’s still a part of my identity I struggle with) but Petra coming to terms with her bisexuality is something I strongly related to. The confusion with her feelings for JR from the start later turning into her looking Milos in the eye and declaring, “And I’m bisexual, by the way,” after he tried to claim the only reason she didn’t love him is because she was a lesbian. That was a kickass moment for bisexual representation on television. Also how can I not relate to anyone attracted to both Justin Baldoni and Rosario Dawson, because, same.

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Images from CW

All in all, I know I’d like to spend more time channeling my inner Petra. Not only would I love to base my wardrobe on hers, but I know I could be more of a boss like she is in times where I want to cower. So this time around watching Jane The Virgin, I’ll be doing so through Petra’s eyes, while only wishing I could rock a pastel blazer and shorts combo the way she does.