posted to xf-news , 10-6-99
Girl Boss by Stacey Kravetz
Foreword from the book Girl Boss by Gillian Anderson
typed by wherever
I'm not sure exactly where I got my drive and perseverance--perhaps my
father, an entrepreneur and perfectionist--but it began at an early age. At
school, I would always take on the most challenging projects, sometimes to
the degree that I would lose interest before they were completed. I have
since learned to keep my goals realistic, and to only take on tasks which I
know I can complete.
One project I did follow through on and which, consequently, was empowering
and inspiring for me was directing a play in high school. I have no idea
what compelled me to take on the challenge but I did it and I did it all. I
directed it, produced it, built the sets, and designed the programs on my
It was so much fun and the experience awakened me to the knowledge that I
could do anything I set my mind to. I believe this of everyone. I believe
from the bottom of my heart that there is nothing we as human beings, and
especially we as women cannot tackle. It is not a matter of being fearless.
The fear is sometimes constant but it's about moving forward regardless of
the fear. Courage means feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
One of my only role models as a young woman was Meryl Streep and,
specifically, her character in Out of Africa. I would watch the movie
whenever I needed inspiration because Ms. Streep so brilliantly portrayed
an incredibly courageous woman who stands alone to save her plantation. Her
performance and the strength of her character were tangible examples of how
I wanted to be in the world, and I soaked it in and learned from her
Which brings me to The X-Files. When I was cast as Special Agent Dana
Scully, I had no idea what I was doing or what I was getting myself into--I
was terrified. But I knew there was one thing I could rely on, and that was
that I felt I knew how to act, and that I would be robbing myself of an
incredible experience if I didn't just jump in head first. So I did. And
let me tell you, every single minute of every day we shot the pilot
episode, I was convinced they were going to(sic) fire me. I even started to
question my talent which made it even scarier.
Fortunately, with the love and support of a close friend who kept
convincing me to just show up and do the best that I could do, I hung in
there. And I survived! I didn't know anything about acting in front of a
camera but I learned. I learned to trust my instincts and commit fully to
my choices, that there are no wrong decisions and that even "bad" decisions
I have been so blessed to portray such a phenomenal woman as Dana Scully.
She has taught me about strength and self-worth and personal power. In
early episodes, when I was called upon to address large groups of male FBI
agents with authority and self assurance, I felt so scared and weak that my
voice would come out high-pitched and shaky. But the more I "acted as if" I
was self-assured, the more I felt powerful. And believe it or not, it can
be that simple.
"Acting as if" is sometimes all it takes to empower oneself, and I have
learned to carry this into other areas of my life. When meeting with
high-powered directors and producers, or presenting an award at an award
ceremony, or doing a talk show; I act as if I am a strong, capable, worthy
woman of power. And the more I do this, the more people listen to what I
have to say and value my opinion.
Another tool that has been invaluable to me during high-stress situations
is prayer. Praying to something greater than myself, whether it's a God or
a role model or the ocean, is an immensely empowering device. Just getting
quiet for a few moments before the event and asking for guidance and
strength in the room; and if you can actually visualize yourself walking
into the room as you would like to be, and visualize everything turning out
exactly the way you would like to turn out--you will be amazed at how
different you feel. And don't get discouraged. The more practice you have
doing this the stronger you will feel, and the more powerful you will find
Another miraculous result of playing Scully has been all the incredible
young women I have been blessed to meet along the way--women who have
shared that they have received strength from Scully, that because of
Scully's strength they have been afraid but done it anyway. These have been
women from all walks of life: women from low-income neighborhoods who have
persevered despite all odds to study hard and pursue their dreams, enabling
them to enter into better schools and work environments; women who have
illness and physical challenges who have gotten better and stronger because
they believe they can. I truly believe that we can overcome any hurdle that
lies before us and create the life we want to live. I have seen it happen
time and time again.
Now before I get off my soapbox, I want to talk about two other areas I
feel important in the life of a powerful woman.
Never lie no matter what the situation. There is no predicament you could
ever find yourself in that is worth lying. We need to be responsible for
our actions and the only way to live this and learn it is to tell the
truth. Other people will then learn that we are trustworthy, and trust is
essential in any relationship, business or personal.
Be of service. Whether you make yourself available to a friend or
co-worker, or you make time every month to do volunteer work, there is
nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being of
service to someone in need.
Okay, I think I've said everthing I want to say. Just remember, you can do
anything you set your mind to, but it takes action, perseverance, and
facing your fears.
Be courageous, believe in yourself, and be the best woman you can be. I'm
with you all the way.
The X-Files is © 20th Century Fox
Girl Boss is © Express Publishers
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