Can You See the Shonda Rhimes Touch in This Dove Ad?

Celebrity Showrunner Debuts Her First Work for 'Real Beauty Productions'

Published On
May 18, 2017

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Earlier this year, Dove announced that it would be working with top showrunner Shonda Rhimes ("Scandal," "Grey's Anatomy") for its debut of "Real Beauty Productions," an in-house production outfit designed to bring the stories of real women to life through film. The brand announced that Rhimes would be its first big-name producer for the initiative, and today, it debuted its first film under her watch, "Meet Cathleen."

The documentary-style short introduces viewers to Cathleen Meredith, a writer who started "Fat Girls Dance," an initiative designed to encourage female body acceptance by getting women to shoot themselves performing sophisticated dance routines, which they then share on social media. In the film, Cathleen discusses her own relationship with her body, how she never considered the term "fat" to be negative, despite the fact that society might think otherwise. She started "Fat Girls Dance" as what she describes as a "radical act of fearlessness, that in my opinion shouldn't have to be that radical." She then goes on to tell the story about how FGD took off, helping to empower other women to feel more confident about their bodies.

The film itself bears the familiar hallmarks of a Dove doc-style film -- a woman speaking open-heartedly against a clean backdrop, uplifting music -- in other words, not the kind of fare you'd expect from Rhimes, whose calling card is twisty story plots and high drama. In fact, Rhimes told Ad Age "it's completely different" from her day job. "There's no fiction involved, which I'd have to say is refreshing and a lot of fun in a weird way, because you're just figuring out a way for someone to enhance their story and be themselves vs. creating stories," she said. "The beauty of 'Real Beauty' is that you're not creating someone, you're highlighting them. And I got to meet these incredible people while doing it." (Read the full inteview with Rhimes here.)

On the film, Rhimes served as creative director, while documentary film director Liz Garbus ("What Happened, Miss Simone," "Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper") directed. Edelman and United Entertainment Group were behind creative and production.