Girl Crush: Mia Hamm

Hamm after the 2004 Olympics in Athens

For last week’s Girl Crush, I wrote about one of the leading ladies in entertainment, Tina Fey. This week though, to go try to go along with the quasi-World Cup theme going on here, I decided to write about one of my first role models growing up: #9, Mia Hamm. If you don’t know who Mia Hamm is, I’m not sure I can help you too much. Let’s just say she pretty much dominated women’s sports in the 1990s.

Mia Hamm was born in 1972, and was the youngest soccer player to play for the U.S. national team at 15. She attended the University of North Carolina, where she led the Tar Heels to four NCAA National Championships. In 1991 Hamm took a year off school to help the national team win the first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup. She was 19.

Sometime after that, Mia Hamm became Mia Hamm.One of my clearest sports memories ever was watching the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final. 90,000 people filled the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, making the match between the U.S. and China the most-attended women’s sporting event ever. I remember watching it on ABC, laying on my parents’ bed with my little brother and our new golden retriever puppy. Hamm of course played a spectacular game, and the U.S. won on penalty kicks. The game is known for the one of the most iconic moments in sports: Brandi Chastain celebrated her game-winning PK by peeling off her jersey and falling to her knees in her sports bra.

When Mia Hamm retired from soccer after winning gold in the 2004 Olympics, she had already cemented her legacy as the greatest women soccer player in history. She scored 158 (!!) international goals in her career, a world record among both male and female players. She was also named the FIFA World Player of the Year (Female) twice, in 2001 and 2002. She won two World Cups and three Olympic medals. Nike named the biggest building on their corporate compound after her, which is just pretty cool. She even went head to head with the great Michael Jordan in a memorable Gatorade ad:

It’s kind of impossible to put into words what Mia Hamm has meant to sports. In the 1990s, she helped showed the American masses the excitement and beauty of soccer. She’s been a trailblazer for all of women’s sports. When Women’s Professional Soccer, the professional women’s league in the United States, launched last year, Mia Hamm’s silhouette was chosen for the logo.Now, Mia Hamm is quite literally what so many people already knew her as: an icon.

Were you a fan of Mia Hamm growing up? Which female athletes do you admire?

Sources: Wikipedia, Biography.com, ESPN

~ Sarah

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?