Girl Crush: Tina Fey

Girl Crush is a new weekly feature in which I discuss a leading lady in show business: talented, admirable, and successful.

Tina Fey on Weekend Update

I’ve been a fan of Tina Fey for years, back when she was the first-ever female head writer at Saturday Night Live and co-anchored “Weekend Update” with Jimmy Fallon. It was always my favorite segment- I wouldn’t go to bed until I watched Fey and Fallon engage in their usual witty banter.

Tina Fey, 40, grew up in Pennsylvania and went on to attend the University of Virginia, graduating with a B.A. in drama. (True story: I seriously considered applying to UVA after I found out Fey went there.) After college, she relocated to Chicago and eventually joined Second City, a famous improv comedy troupe. Following her stint at Second City, she joined SNL as a writer in 1995. In 1999, she was promoted to head writer and the next year Fey began appearing in sketches, notably “Weekend Update”.

For plenty of people, SNL is usually the peak of their careers. Not for Tina Fey- in 2004, while still on the show, she wrote and co-starred in the teen classic Mean Girls. The movie proved to be a critical and commercial success, grossing $129 million worldwide. Then, in 2006, Tina Fey left SNL to work on a new project: 30 Rock.

The Cast of 30 Rock

On the NBC comedy , Tina Fey is a triple threat: writer, producer, actor. Oh, and did I mention she’s also the show’s creator? 30 Rock, which is a behind-the–scenes look at comedy sketch show and is based on Fey’s own experiences, was not immediately a hit with audiences. Nonetheless, the show has won numerous awards, including three Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series. Fey herself has earned plenty of accolades for playing Liz Lemon, including an Emmy.

In 2008, Fey starred in Baby Mama with her former SNL co-star Amy Poehler- the comedy opened at #1 and eventually grossed more than $60 million. That fall, Fey returned to SNL in a guest role as VP candidate Sarah Palin. Her spot-on portrayal of Palin helped boost the show’s lagging ratings and had audiences and pundits alike talking. Not only did she win another Emmy, Tina Fey was named the 2008 AP Entertainer of the Year for having the year’s “greatest impact on culture and entertainment”.

Fey at the 2008 Emmy Awards

It must be awesome to be Tina Fey. Today, 30 Rock has a growing audience and she had another box-office hit with Date Night. And I have a feeling there’s more to come for this comedy superstar- who knows, with the right material she could EGOT! (Tracy Jordan would be jealous.) Fey is one of the most influential people in show business, even appearing in the Time 100, but her life is not very Hollywood- she keeps working hard and has a daughter with husband (and 30 Rock composer) Jeff Richmond. Maybe that’s why, despite all her success, she remains grounded and humble (just listen to one of her acceptance speeches). I absolutely adore her- she’s talented, smart, and sexy. So Tina Fey, I salute you, you “mavericky” maverick.

~ Sarah

P.S. Do you love Tina Fey as much as I do? Which women in entertainment do you look up to?

Day 50

A few years back, the History Channel aired a mini-series called 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America, featuring events as diverse as the McKinley assassination and the first time Elvis Presley appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. If someone was to re-do that series now, they would almost certainly add April 20, 2010 to the list.

Deepwater Horizon Explosion

Today marks a milestone no one wanted to reach- fifty days since the start of the BP Gulf Oil Spill. Late on the night of April 20, the Deepwater Horizon, an offshore oil rig, exploded, causing a fire. Although most of the workers on the rig were successfully evacuated, 17 were injured and 11 missing and presumed dead. Two days later, on Earth Day, the rig finally sank and an oil slick appeared on the water’s surface.

The oil leak wasn’t officially confirmed until that Saturday, the 24th. Four days later, the U.S. Coast Guard estimated that each day 210,000 gallons (5,000 barrels) of oil were seeping into the Gulf of Mexico. On May 4, just two weeks after the initial explosion, oil began reaching Louisiana’s barrier islands. According to government estimates released on May 27, between 18.6-29.5 million gallons had leaked into the Gulf. The BP oil spill is now the largest in U.S. history. (By comparison, 11 millions gallons of leaked during 1989’s Exxon Valdez oil spill.)

The oil spill, as seen from space, as of late May 2010.

Not even a week later, on June 1, the oil hit Mississippi and Alabama. Just this past Friday, tarballs washed ashore in Pensacola, a city on Florida’s panhandle. It was a day millions of Floridians, myself included, were dreading.

I won’t go too much into the politics of this whole mess. BP and the U.S. government have both been ineffective these last few weeks and need to take ownership. BP’s efforts to cap the leak- the leak that’s 5,000 feet underwater- have been moderate successes at best, futile at worst. To say the oil giant is facing a PR nightmare is an understatement; to counter, BP is spending millions on advertising instead of clean-up.

More images from the Gulf.

We are now fifty days into the worst environmental disaster in the country’s history. And ironically enough, it’s World Oceans Day.

The more I read and see about this story, the more heartbreaking it gets. It’s the animals- the birds covered in sludge, the dolphins dying. It’s the priceless wetlands- the unique and fragile ecosystems of the Gulf. It’s the people- the countless families who practically lost their livelihoods the moment the leak began. For now, we can only see the oil at the surface, just like we can only see the surface of the damage that has been caused.

The oil spill couldn’t have come at worse time. It happened in the middle of spring, a time of growth and renewal for nature. Spring is absolutely critical- it will take years for the animals and environments of the Gulf to recover. Hurricane season is now upon us. God forbid a storm sweeps through the Gulf and lets the oil rain down inland. Along with hurricane season comes summer, a crucial time for tourism in the South. In so many places along the Gulf, such as Grand Isle and Florida especially, tourism dollars make the economy go around.

Last summer, I made two trips to Florida’s Gulf Coast. Now more than ever, I am incredibly grateful to have seen first-hand the beauty of Marco Island and Naples. (*These are my personal photos.)

I don’t know what the future holds for the Gulf. I hope the oil never has to reach South Florida, or any more beaches for that matter. But I don’t have any control over it- that power lies in BP and the government to contain the spill and clean up the mess. Everyday citizens have been doing what they can to help since Day 1. Unfortunately, so much damage has already been done that it will take years to know the full extent. I just have to hope that future generations can appreciate the environment before they risk losing it.

~ Sarah

Additional Sources: CNN, NPR, Wikipedia

Link Love

What better way to start the week than with the some of the most interesting stuff the Internet has to offer?

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden passed away on Friday at the age of 99. Even if you’re not a sports fan, you should check out his great “Woodenisms.

An interesting look at co-education at the collegiate level from Feministing.

Women in the workplace: one bankers says she was fired for being too sexy, while five anchors at Al-Jazeera quit because they were harassed for not following “modest” dress codes.

Do you know how to protect yourself on Facebook?

From one of my favorite blogs, More Magic Always, an argument for minimalism.

Video Love

If you’re still singing along to “Break Even”, watch the video for The Script’s previous single, “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved”.

900 people lip-synch to the impossibly catchy “Hey Soul Sister” by Train.

Meet Costa Rica’s answer to Shakira: Debi Nova. This may just be the perfect summer song.

Speaking of Shakira, she sings the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, an adaptation of a traditional soldiers’ song.

What links were your favorite from this past week?

~ Sarah