Ellen DeGeneres can easily be considered an American Icon, but what for? Is it her hilarious personality, her ability to transform her voice into that of a fish, or her ability to make anyone feel comfortable enough to dance on national television?
As wonderful as those aspects are, I believe Ellen has so much depth to her soul that goes much farther than her bubbly personality. She encompasses everything it means to be a leader because she puts her voice to good use and always puts others before herself.
Ellen’s leadership style can be considered very proactive. That is, she doesn’t hesitate to stand up to any injustices she sees or faces. She is an advocate for many causes, most prominently with LGBT and animal rights. In 1997, Ellen came out to the public at a time when being part of the LGBT community was considered taboo. Doing so put her at risk of much public criticism, but she did it anyway with courage and poise. Her fame gave her the ability to open the minds and hearts of countless people, and she took advantage of that. Ellen is like this in many ways; she makes it a point to spread love in all ways possible and uses her outlet to encourage inclusion and acceptance.
My favorite thing about Ellen, though, is how she can truly inspire countless people through her kindness. She has the power to pick people up when they’re down just by cracking jokes. She makes people happy on her talk show every single day, including me. During high school, I would come home and turn on ABC at 3 o’clock nearly every day. The way she can so easily combine comedy and positivity amazes me to this day. There’s no way I could get through an entire episode of her show without laughing or smiling. That’s her goal: to brighten people’s days and to help people gain a more positive outlook on life. Ellen ends every episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show with the phrase “be kind to one another,” and she means it.
Ellen DeGeneres received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States of America, in November 2016. When talking about how she has overcome adversity and stood up for LGBT rights for nearly 20 years, President Obama stated “And yet, today, every day, in every way, Ellen counters what too often divides us with the countless things that bind us together — inspires us to be better, one joke, one dance at a time.”
Ellen inspires me to be a better person, and I hope to one day impact people’s lives like she has. The unique qualities she possesses are what make her so lovable. She exemplifies what it means to be a servant leader and keeps her persistence in causes she is passionate about. I want to live my life in this way in order to better my community and serve for a cause that is bigger than me. Ellen is a true inspiration to me, and I will always keep her outlook on life in mind. Be kind to others, be true to who you are, and never be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.