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Shonda Rhimes’ Latest Project Seeks to Challenge Beauty Stereotypes

Shonda Rhimes is teaming up with beauty brand Dove to launch a new program that aims to build sisterhood, conversation, and collaboration between women and girls.

The showrunner celebrated the launch of Girl Collective with an event in Los Angeles this month that also drew musician SZA and transgender activist Jazz Jennings as panelists. Rhimes, who has been the Dove “chief storyteller” for the past two years, says it was important for her to participate in a forum that would give women a chance to share their own stories and struggles, while working to redefine notions of beauty and acceptance.

attends Dove's Launch of "Girl Collective" - The First Ever Dove Self-Esteem Project Mega-Event on October 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

While Dove is known for their line of bath and body products, the company has also stepped up efforts to challenge beauty stereotypes through its Self Esteem Project, which launched in 2004. Girl Collective will offer conversation forums, mentorship, and training materials for teachers, parents, and students to start tackling issues like body image, bullying, and sexuality.

Known for creating female-driven shows like “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “How to Get Away With Murder,” Rhimes says she wants to encourage women and girls to remember that they are “the main character of their own story,” and that they should “claim their power and begin defining beauty for themselves.”

“Six in 10 girls believe that to do well in life, they have to look a certain way and that just shouldn’t be,” says Rhimes. “I’m proud to be a part of this remarkable community which illustrates the magic we can unlock when we work together to inspire change and build confidence.”

“We launched the Dove Self Esteem Project in 2004 with the intent of helping the next generation develop a positive relationship with beauty and provide parents and mentors the resources to impact the self-esteem of the girls in their lives,” adds Dove director of marketing Amy Stepanian. “With Girl Collective, we’re excited to offer an always-on, evolving resource for real women and girls to explore the issues that inhibit self-esteem, and collaborate to find solutions and inspire one another.”

In addition to SZA and Jennings, inaugural members of the Girl Collective group include the intimate apparel brand Aerie and the all-female dance troupe Syncopated Ladies.

Rhimes, who signed a multi-year development deal with Netflix last year, is also an ambassador for Dove’s Real Beauty Productions, which produces short films and campaigns with the goal of giving women a chance to see themselves represented in media and culture.

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