If we think about America’s popular daytime talk shows, The Ellen DeGeneres show is bound to come to our mind! This widely acclaimed talk show was first aired back in 2003 and since then it has secured a permanent place in our hearts.
Background – Ellen was born in 1958 in Louisiana, United States. Since her childhood days, she has gone through physical as well as psychological turmoil. Later, she dropped out of college and started working a clerical job at a Law firm with her cousin. Although her earlier jobs included waitressing, house painting, and bartending, she always had a knack for stand-up comedy. Hence, DeGeneres started performing stand-up comedy at small clubs across New Orleans and in the early 1980s she began to tour nationally, and four years later she was named Showtime’s funniest person in America.
Social Impacts – Back in 1997 when Ellen reached its height of popularity, she had come out as gay on her then ABC sitcom, “Ellen”, being the first openly gay icon in American Television. Back in the 90s, coming out in front of nearly 42 million people was a huge deal indeed. And as a result, the constant pursuit of the media coverage hampered her professional career in several ways. However, that couldn’t stop her from being her true self. She is also an active member of PFLAG and spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign’s Coming Out Project. Apart from these, she has been predominantly working as a LGBTQ activist throughout the years. Her philanthropic endeavors include donating to eradicate poverty, hunger, and bullying. Ellen plays an active role in various charities and campaigns. For instance, the It Gets Better Project, which aims towards uplifting, empowering, and connecting LGBTQ+ youth around the globe, Humane Society, which fights against animal cruelty, The Trevor Project, Music Rising, Red Cross, Declare Yourself, and the ONE Campaign among others.
Accolades – Throughout her decade long career she won a total of 32 daytime Emmy Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, and a Golden Globe Award for outstanding contributions to television on screen. In addition to this, back in 2016, DeGeneres was conferred with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor of the United States.
Overall, there’s no doubt in admitting that she is a true prototype of a hard working woman of this age. Being a lesbian back in the previous decade and coming out of closet in front of the entire world surely took some courage. And Ellen has shown her audaciousness by not limiting herself to the social norms, which ultimately made her a prominent inspiration for the rest of the world.