Before she was the queen of primetime, before she had three hit television shows, Shonda Rhimes was simply a young woman with a dream. And you’ll never believe what gave her the push she needed to pursue her dreams.

“For me, the moment I really knew that I wanted to try this business was when I saw Whoopi Goldberg live on Broadway,” Rhimes said, referring to her special, Direct from Broadway. “I taped it on my VHS. I watched it a thousand times. When my dad accidentally taped over it with a football game, I must’ve cried for days.”

You could say that Whoopi’s portrayal inspired the Olivia Pope that we’ve come to know and love.

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“It was a really pivotal moment for me,” she said. “It was the first time I had seen an African-American woman play that many characters and be that complex, and it felt very possible.”