There’s been a lot of positive reviews of my niece, Ellie Reed’s (“Ellie”) starring role in Netflix’s new comedy, Girlboss. I admit to reading a couple, but for the most part, I did not want my impressions of Ellie to be colored by others.
Ok. I’m the proud aunt, so you can guess how I felt about the show.
In a nutshell, Girlboss is about a vintage on-line clothes purveyor, Sophia, played by the talented Brit Robertson. Ellie plays her best friend, Annie, and the chemistry between the two ranges from tender love and support to sizzling discord. It’s very fun to watch so I am not going spill the details as I hope you will follow the series.
The message of this blog is as much about Ellie’s aptitude as about the need for the arts and gifted and talented programs, all of which are threatened by a shortsighted shifting of fiscal priorities.
Girlboss celebrates the power, the humanity, and the spirit of youth. Sure, one doesn’t admire all of the characters' behaviors, but through it’s quirky characterization, Girlboss leaves us with much to consider and enjoy.
Girlboss also showcases the commitment and potential of the next generation of actors. Ellie didn’t get to where she is without some terrific schooling and strong support from her intellectual peers and family. She had her dreams, and she worked hard to achieve them. Ever since she was a little kid, she was writing scripts and performing shows, making family gatherings entertaining. Her skills and talents were enhanced at school and through the theater program at Northwestern University.
When I think about Ellie’s mastery of acting, I think about Ellie in high school. To me, nothing is more demanding than high school because students take AP classes, assume leadership roles, are regularly tested (figuratively and literally), and often work. Ellie did all of this, plus she starred in many demanding plays, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Our Town. It was when she played the narrator in Our Town that I realized she was an actor. In preparing for her role, Ellie had researched, memorized, and collaborated. She masterfully fielded questions about the play to the high school audience after giving an award winning performance.
In addition to working hard, Ellie was fortunate to have the scaffolding that she needed—arts programs and academic programs-- that challenged her and allowed her to use her gifts.
When Ellie’s theater troupe landed an opportunity to perform in Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Garage, I took one of my students to see the play so she could witness the success arising from dreaming big, staying committed, remaining resilient and taking risks.
My former students have not had the support Ellie had. Gifted programming has been dismantled or sharply cut back in Illinois. This morning I filed a statement to support Illinois legislation that preserves some gifted and talented programming. We owe it to the next generation to give them the scaffolding that benefitted us and helped us find the beauty and humanity in life through the arts. I elected to describe Ellie in acting because that’s personal to me, but the spirit of this blog applies to the projected cuts that will impact everyone in the arts—music, dance, painting, and other forms of art that enhance our world.
I’m proud of Ellie’s superb acting in Girlboss. I’m very grateful to the creators of Girlboss for dreaming big, too! I remain grateful to any reader that works to support educational challenges and the arts.