Why I Stopped Ogling Male Celebrities And Began Idolizing Funny Women
My obsession with cute boys started at a young age.
I have fond memories of watching "Boy Meets World," solely to catch glimpses of Shawn Hunter, the hunkiest creature I had ever laid eyes on.
I was devastated when Shawn and I broke up (aka I was no longer allowed to watch the show after my mom deemed it too “inappropriate”).
Obviously, it wasn't true love because I quickly moved on to Justin Timberlake.
I taped *NSYNC posters to my closet door and gazed at Justin in all his frosted, blonde curly glory. I thought I was a rebel because I liked a guy who had his ear pierced.
I was living life on the edge, let me tell you.
But as it was for those of us who had braces, bad hair and no fashion sense, middle school was a dark period of my life.
Tom Welling, the star of "Smallville," was my chosen lover for those three awkward years.
Never mind he was obviously way too old and hot to be a Kansas high schooler. He had that smoldering gaze, those biceps and that perfectly tousled hair.
A small part of me thought I had a chance of marrying him. I think we’re both single, so it could still happen.
I stepped up my game big time in high school.
Real boys paid no attention to me, so I put all my energy into loving ones that always kept me company via the TV screen, specifically Johnny Depp and Ryan Gosling.
My obsession with Johnny was more intense than any of my past celebrity crushes.
I spent nine months systemically going through and watching every single film he appeared in, and there are some real disasters in his filmography.
But, I was dedicated.
My relationship with Ryan Gosling grew slightly more serious in college.
God bless my freshman year roommate. She kindly let me plaster pictures of Ryan all over my side of the dorm with no complaints.
Many nights were spent eating cookies and watching one of his movies on my laptop. Raise your hand if you’re surprised I gained the freshman 15.
Now, I’m 23.
If you look at my apartment walls or my desk at work, you’ll find pictures of and quotes from women who inspire me, including Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, Amy Schumer, Amy Poehler and Jenny Slate.
At first, I figured this meant I was an official adult, since six-packs and broad shoulders no longer easily impressed me.
But, it probably has less to do with my maturation and more to do with the realization life is difficult, and finding strong, funny female role models gets me through the day way better than a shirtless picture of Zac Efron ever could.
Rock-hard abs and a chiseled jaw line are fabulous in a photograph, but they do little to offer me comfort when I sob on the couch because life is kicking my ass.
Finding hilarious, inspirational females to look up to has given me strength, as strange as it may sound.
Being a soft and sensitive person might be cute on paper, but it can make things challenging.
I need encouragement and reassurance I'll be okay even when I feel crappy, confused and have no idea what I should be doing with my life.
Obviously, my idols aren’t calling me up to offer comfort and life advice. But just watching their shows, reading their books and learning more about them gives me solace.
Seeing Mindy Lahiri confidently flirt with strangers on the subway or Liz Lemon working on her night cheese makes me feel happier and less alone. (Maybe it's because I also have an affinity for delicious cheese.)
I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but something about surrounding myself with the work of the ladies I admire gives me hope that I too can one day be successful.
My girl gang motivates me to be more determined in my career path and more confident in myself because they are ambitious.
They are real, and they make me laugh so hard I cry.
And they are fighters.
Jenny was fired from her position as an SNL cast member, but instead of slinking away with her tail tucked, she moved on with her life by creating stop-motion animated films with her husband, as well as producing and starring in one of my favorite movies, "Obvious Child."
Mindy’s mother passed away the same time "The Mindy Project" was just getting started.
Instead of falling to pieces and taking time off, she continued to pursue her dream and made one heck of a show.
Their courage and perseverance make me feel optimistic about my own ability to navigate through life’s ups and downs.
Real life women inspire me, too. My mom, grandmother, friends and any woman who has ever gone through childbirth is a hero in my book.
But, there’s something extra special to me about a funny lady who unapologetically does what she wants and overcomes both professional and personal hurdles amid intense media scrutiny.
Don’t get me wrong; dudes are great.
We all need a little Ry Gos in our lives.
I don’t regret the time I spent hanging out with my fake Hollywood boyfriends.
I had fun, and at the very least, I could win a Johnny Depp trivia contest if such a thing existed.
Plus, I still rock out to *NSYNC’s Christmas album; those are some top-notch holiday jams.
It may have taken me way too long, but I finally realized finding an amazing female role model is way better and healthier than obsessing over an attractive man.
As the "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" theme song pronounces, females are strong as hell.