Nora Ephron: The Best Role Model For Girls – And Women – Everywhere

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nora ephron when harry met sallyLike everyone else out there, I was shocked and saddened to hear that Nora Ephron died of leukemia Tuesday at age 71. The award-winning writer and filmmaker created countless masterpieces; for me, personally, it was all about When Harry Met Sally, which came out when I was 16 years old. It was one of the few movies out there that my parents and I loved equally (not an easy feat back then). Of course, the film was just one of Ephron’s many creations that truly gave a voice to women in a male-dominated industry. (Who could ever forget Meg Ryan‘s legendary orgasm scene?)

There’s so much to say about Ephron’s passing, her brilliant novels and screenplays and films, but one of the first things that struck me is how the world has lost a role model in every sense of the term. Did I know Ephron personally? Of course not. But she’s always had a reputation – conveyed not just through her work but also countless interviews – for being a mensch. One of those women is at once smart and funny and approachable and, of course, just like us.

Lisa Belkin at The Huffington Post wrote a lovely tribute to Ephron that really spoke to me:

“By putting the female experience on the screen and on the page, she made it visible, and worthy, and she elevated it to the level of art. She took “women’s topics” — romance, relationships, food, motherhood, clothes, hair, friendship, aging, looking young — and declared that they were not only worthy of conversation, but they could draw at the box office, which is the only language Hollywood understands.”

That, to me, says it all. I often think of Sex and the City as one of the first mainstream series to show how women truly speak, feel and think; but Ephron was the original. She paved the way for so many women, and one of her biggest strengths was to prove first-hand that woman are indeed funny without being crass and over-the-top.

Of course, our own children don’t yet know who Nora Ephron is and why exactly her films were so revolutionary. And, truth be told, they probably never well. Which is sad, because she was without a doubt one of the best role models in Hollywood.

(Photo: Dominic Chan/