(Shonda’s speech begins around 1:40:00)
Rhimes said that from the beginning, she’s behaved fearlessly in the television business, “like somebody who couldn’t be fired. It’s stunning what happens when you teach people how they are allowed to treat you,” she said.
When asked what is most meaningful in her life, Rhimes told the students she is most passionate about her three daughters, about finding solitude, about a newfound interest in collecting African American art, and about her work, which, she said makes her very happy. Writing for television doesn’t feel like a job, she said. “It’s a great lab we get to play in every week. It doesn’t feel like work.”
“Dreams are lovely, but they are just dreams — fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. My dreams did not come true, but I worked very hard and ended up building an empire out of my imagination, so my dreams can suck it,” Rhimes said.
Rhimes challenged graduates to be “doers” instead of dreamers, and to volunteer and focus on something outside themselves — to not fear the unknown. “You breathe this rare air. You feel alive. You be yourself,” she said.