By all accounts, Tina Fey is one of the most successful, most hilarious women in showbiz. Upon accepting her ELLE Women in Hollywood award at last night’s dinner, she approached the teleprompter, thrusting her chest out, as if the glass panels were a mammogram. The room burst into laughter. And yet despite Fey’s confidence in commanding a room, or helming a TV show, or hosting an awards show, or writing a movie, she still grapples with anxiety when it comes to her career.
“The greatest challenge in Hollywood—my own personal fear is that it’s ageism,” Fey told ELLE.com on the red carpet before the event. “Even for writers. Where are the jobs for me in the next 15 years? That’s my guess on Hollywood’s biggest challenge for women right now.”
When we pointed out that she is in a position to write her own roles, ones for women in their fifties and sixties, Fey countered, “Will anyone still buy them? And can I write about someone my own age or do I have to write about teenagers?” She’s not, she said, interested in being forced to write another Mean Girls movie. “What if I don’t want to?” she added. “Do I have to?”
We hope the answer is no. The pressure is there, though. In her acceptance speech, Fey noted the need for a “backup plan” to make money. “Amy Poehler has optioned the rights to a graphic novel about a lunch lady,” she joked. Still, we have faith that Fey, who gave voice to so many smart, funny, women—on Saturday Night Live, on 30 Rock, and in Mean Girls—will convince Hollywood that the women she wants to write, women of all ages, deserve a place on-screen.