Last year I made a tee-shirt on Zazzle.com. It was yellow (like the Florida sunshine) and featured a silhouette of an older woman with curly hair. Underneath the image was a cursive "When I grow up I want to be Betty White". The tee-shirt was created just as the incomparable actress began appearing on everything from NBC sitcoms to Snickers commercials. I bought my copy and then left the shirt up on the website. Very quickly I found others agreed with the sentiment, and the sales trickled in. Unfortunately right around the time TV Land started selling "Free Elka" tees, Zazzle pulled mine for some sort of copyright issue. I still can't quite figure what it was, other than simply using another person's name on the shirt, but by then, the sentiment was clear: my role models have always been those on television. Sometimes actual people, but more often than not characters. So who does DanielleTBD want to be these days-- you know, other than Ms. White? Why, I thought you'd never ask!
Liz Lemon. This one should be a bit of a no-brainer, no? Though she isn't so lucky in love (does anyone else think that when all is said and done, she's just going to go back to Dennis Duffy?), I've never much cared for that side of the coin either. But she has a kickass apartment; she seems to eat only cheese, fatty meats, and giant cookies and her metabolism has held up; and she heads up her own television show. She's where I always hoped to be at this point in my life, and though I'm not quite there yet, she gives me hope that I someday still might get there.
Sue Sylvester. In the vein of full disclosure, I should point out that I also attempted to put her on a tee-shirt. Again with just a silhouette, but Zazzle pulled it down before even shipping me my copy. Apparently FOX really patrols for anything with their copywritten images and characters. Fair enough. But her "tell it like it is" attitude is the inspiration for so many of the Real Housewives and yet she has a much deeper side than any of those plastic Bravo b*tches. She doesn't show her vulnerability, and that I get. She is a big fish in a little pond, and I think more than anything that's what I have been prepping for my whole life.
Liz Tigelaar. She flips for nachos, soap opera supercouples, and old-fashioned storytelling. She manages to create bright, vibrant characters that feel like they've been plucked from the pages of my old stories, or at least a world in which I want to live. She basically is the non-nerd version of Liz Lemon. And therefore she's actual proof that the stuff I want does exist. Plus she manages to stay extremely down-to-Earth, approachable, and truly passionate about all she does and the people with whom she does it.
Sarah Braverman. She may not be completely together, but she is doing her best, and she is successful where it counts: she has a family who loves her unconditionally and are always there to help her. For that, she has even more than my old TV role model, Lorelai Gilmore.
Cathy Jamison. Life has handed her a couple of really crappy hands. I'm not just talking about the whole cancer thing, but her family isn't the biggest prize in the world, either. She's saddled with a husband who's more immature than her adolescent son, and she pretty much feels like she has to care for her homeless brother, as well. And don't even get me started on her father! She may not make choices everyone understands, let alone condones, but she does what she wants and doesn't care about the critics or naysayers. Her courage is what is truly inspiring; we should all feel so free to live like we have nothing to lose.
Kalinda Sharma. She wears awesome stealth suits and stiletto boots that make her seem more like a TV spy than glorified fact-checker for a law firm. But her stoicism and resolve to never let her personal life bleed into her professional one is certainly something to be commended, too. The best thing about her, though, is that she is self-confident and sincerely tough: she never backs down from a challenge and often ends up raising the bar in one in order to prove she can go toe-to-toe with anyone, be it an influential politician or someone gunning for her job or one of her friends'.
And of course, don't even get me started on Dexter Morgan! I wish I had the balls (metaphorically, of course) to perform a mercy killing, let alone to take out some a-hole who just actually deserves it. But that is probably a whole other story!