6 Famous Women Share Their Career Milestones

Career milestones come in many different forms. Below, 6 famous women, including Amy Sherald, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, share how certain jobs and opportunities unmistakably altered their lives and careers.

Venus Williams

On her 1,000th professional game: “Honestly, if I knew that would happen all those years ago, I would think it was crazy! When I’m out there, all I think about is, ‘Why am I not better? Why didn’t I shoot better?’ But suddenly, these milestones just creep up on you. I’m just excited that my [1,000th game] was a win. I would like to think that the next 1,000 on a professional tour will be when I retire.” —Elle UK, June 2018

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“I was completely unknown. I wrote short stories, got many rejections, and then finally got an acceptance. I wrote a large and terrible novel that I sent out and that was rejected multiple times. And then I wrote Purple Hibiscus and a nice agent said she would ‘take a chance on me.’” —The Guardian, August 2016

Amy Sherald

On the moment she was asked to paint Michelle Obama’s portrait: “I’m usually so inappropriately stoic but honestly, I thought, My mom finally has bragging rights now. My mom was born in 1930, so when I told her that I wanted to be an artist, she had no clue what that meant. My friends that I grew up with, they’re all physician’s assistants, and one friend opened up a sleep clinic. We’re 37, 38, and they’re like, “What’s Amy doing?” “Well, she’s a waitress.” So my mom was essentially ashamed! But now she has bragging rights and is really excited about it, and feels like it’s something that she accomplished as well. She was the first person I called.” —The Cut, December 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

On winning her seat in Congress: “I think about oftentimes that incredible day on June 26, when — despite no attention, despite no media fanfare … we were able to organize everyday people knocking on our neighbor’s door and despite being outspent $4 million … despite the fact that I’m working class … despite all those things, we won … Today is a milestone, but it’s really a beginning … We have to keep organizing. We cannot stop. Electoral politics is just a tool in a larger tool box of this movement.” —Her victory speech, November 2018

Laverne Cox

“I was discovered on the subway. It sounds more glamorous than it was. It was for a film that I don’t think anybody has seen. The character was called ‘Drag Queen’ … she didn’t even have a name! But by the time I auditioned for Orange Is the New Black, I’d done a couple episodes of Law & Order, I’d done a guest spot on an HBO show, and I’d done several independent films. But nothing that obviously really launched me in the same way OITNB has … Producer, Emmy-nominated actress … this is all new for me. Just a few years ago, I was still struggling to pay my rent. I was thinking of going back to graduate school [for women’s studies] actually because I hadn’t had an acting role for nine months. All the success just reminds me of how far I have come and how much work is still yet to be done.” —Women’s Health, September 2015

Lupita Nyong’o

On winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave: “This is not about, ‘Is this what I am or am not meant to do?’ It was really about rising to the opportunity that had been given to me and making sure I didn’t sabotage it with the fear that I felt stepping out into this big bad world. The size, the people, the history of cinema and American history — I needed to not psych myself out of it and actually do the thing that I trained for three years to do and I loved to do. The film was a utopic experience, in terms of having an incredible director, an incredible script, an incredible cast and a quite joyous set experience, despite the subject matter.” —AnOther, Spring/Summer 2019


This post was culled from thecut.com Full post
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