The Stunning Transformation Of Tina Fey

I'm in the large population of people who simply adore Tina Fey. To me there's nothing she touches that I don't love. I've seen almost everything she's ever starred in and multiple times at that. Her wicked sense of humor, intelligence, loyalty to friends, and IDGAF attitude makes her a great role model to many young women. In her autobiography Bossypants she gives some sound advice that led her to where she is today, "Don't waste your energy trying to change opinions. Do your thing and don't care if they like it."

Fey found her calling doing her thing, when she set foot on stage in Chicago learning improv, where she made friends and coworkers for life. In 2011, she penned an essay in The New Yorker describing her journey from working at The Second City comedy club and theatre to being called up to write for Saturday Night Live. She moved up the writers' ranks quickly and began appearing on skits before taking a seat at the Weekend Update desk. She's championed some of TV's greatest shows and created one of the best female cult comedy films to hit the big screen.

She's a shining example of how talent, hard work and supporting your friends can make your dreams come true. Read on to learn more about funny lady, girl champion, and ultimate bossy pants, Tina Fey.

Growing up

Elizabeth Stamatina Fey was born on May 18, 1970 in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. She was raised by her father Donald Fey, of German heritage and her mother, Jeanne Xenakes, of Greek descent. In her autobiography Bossypants, she recalls feeling protected by her family growing up, including her brother who is eight years her senior, especially after a traumatizing childhood experience.

One spring day when she was five years old she was playing in the alley behind her house when a strange man ran up to her and slashed her face, in her autobiography she says that her scar was her first miniature taste of celebrity, as kids knew who she was because of it. While the experience was traumatizing, Fey told Vanity Fair in 2009 that she worked hard to keep it from affecting her childhood, "I proceeded unaware of it. I was a very confident little kid. It's really almost like I'm kind of able to forget about it, until I was on-camera."

Making lifelong friends

During her time at The Second City in Chicago, Fey met most of the people she still works with today. In 1993 at Chicago's ImprovOlympic the theater's co-founder Charna Halpern introduced her to Amy Poehler and they quickly became inseparable. "She's a very dear, dear friend," she told David Letterman for The Hollywood Reporter.

She went on to tell Letterman that she still keeps in touch daily with some of her female SNL cast mates, including Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Emily Spivey, Paula Pell, Ana Gasteyer, and Rachel Dratch. "We talk as a group through the computer every single day. Dozens of times a day. And it's very nice," she said. "It was easy when we worked at SNL: You're on top of each other 60 hours a week. So it's nice that we are maintaining this friendship."

Finding her partner in life and work

Fey told Net-a-Porter's magazine The Edit about meeting her husband Jeff Richmond in Chicago in 1994. He was the piano player that live-scored the improvisation at ImprovOlympics and was later the music director at The Second City. Fey told Women's Health that they fell in love quickly.

"We met when I was 24. He's nine years older than I am," she said of their age difference, "There was no game playing or 'I'll call you tomorrow.' It was a very easy, respectful relationship from the beginning, and it very quickly and easily became quite solid."

The pair dated for seven years before marrying in June 2001, according to an interview Fey and Poehler did together for Glamour. Fey and her husband are not just partners in love and life, but in work as well. Richmond composed music for Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and worked with her on the Mean Girls musical as well.

Making her break on SNL

In 1997, Saturday Night Live was in its 23rd season and Adam McKay, the writing partner of Will Ferrell and the man who taught Fey her first improv class, was head writer. He told Rolling Stone that Fey was an easy hire because she was always hilarious.

Fey described the experience to Oprah as extremely intimidating. "It's hard to get laughs when you're new — you may not get a single laugh during your whole piece," she said about reading a sketch to a crowded room that included Lorne Michaels (creator and executive producer), the host for the week and all of the cast, crew, and network representatives. "A year after I came to the show, I finally had a piece that really killed in that room ­and that was almost more satisfying than having it succeed on the air. That's how tough that room is."

She was a writer for two years before becoming the first female head writer in 1999, a year later she began performing on the show in a variety of sketches and co-anchored Weekend Update with Jimmy Fallon and Amy Poehler until she left in May 2006. She was pinned as the third most important cast member in Rolling Stone's ranking of best SNL cast members over the 40-year run.

Becoming a Mom

I'm pretty sure that in real life Fey is a cool mom, not like a regular mom. She and her husband have two daughters, the oldest Alice, coined one of the best 30 Rock quotes of all time — "I want to go to there" — and their youngest Penelope seems to take a feisty note from Fey.

Fey told Ellen once, "My older one is very sweet, really easy going and my little one is rough. She is smart, that's the problem, when she's mad at you she'll just take you apart."

While it looks like they already inherited some great traits from their mom, Fey hopes to pass on the duo's hard work ethic to their daughters, but she joked to a crowd at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival that she and her husband work so much that the children are going to become trustafarians.

Hitting the big screen

In between Fey's time writing and performing SNL, she began to take on some roles on the big screen. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly she discusses writing and starring in her first film Mean Girls in 2004, which opened at number one making a total of 24.4 million, and chats about teaming up with Amy Poehler for Baby Mama which also opened at number one making a total of 17.4 million. After those films she took on some roles with funny guys and office managers, Ricky Gervais in the Invention of Lying and Steve Carell in Date Night.

The dream team Fey and Poehler sat down with The New York Times to talk about teaming up again for the hilarious comedy written by their friend and SNL alum Paula Pell titled Sisters. Fey then took on a more serious role, with some comedic flare in the 2016 film Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. The film is about the real life experience of Kim Barker, reporting on the war in Afghanistan.

Fey chatted with Refinery 29 about producing the film and collaborating with her writing partner Robert Carlock to adapt the screenplay from Barker's book, The Taliban Shuffle. "I think Robert has known me for so long and is good at writing for whatever will work for me," she said. "Probably almost better than I am at this point."

Climbing to the top of 30 Rock

As her time on SNL was coming to an end, she was already working on 30 Rock with her writing partner Robert Carlock. She told Access Hollywood that they used their past experience as great inspiration. Fey told TV Guide that the snow initially struggled with ratings and some poor reviews, but it kept winning awards and clearly the hearts of fans.

In 2008, Fey told Oprah that after their 17 nominations (out of which they won seven) it made them feel like a real TV show. "Before the Emmys, I had done a lot of downplaying, it's just a bunch of people who paid 200 bucks to start a club and give themselves prizes, but after we won, I was like, 'It's the greatest thing ever—extremely prestigious.'"

Ultimately 30 Rock had an incredibly successful seven year run and ended with critical acclaim, receiving a total of 103 Emmy award nominations and 16 wins.

A natural born writer

On top of being an award-winning TV and film comedy writer she wrote the best-selling memoir Bossypants in 2011. Fey also sat down to adapt the Mean Girls screenplay into a musical with husband Jeff Richmond composing. The musical will make its world debut at Washington, D.C.'s The National Theatre for the 2017-18 season, so I think we can now add playwright to her resume as well.

Writing kind of runs in the family for the Feys. Her father was a journalist at the beginning of his career before serving, "After he came back from Korea, he went to the Temple University School of Media and Communication and he was a writer for Business Week," Fey told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show.

She also revealed that her family set up a scholarship in her father's name at Temple University for returning vets who want to study journalism. Her brother Peter Fey, also graduated from Temple University's School of Media and Communication and is working as a writer/producer for the QVC network.

The host with the most

In 2013, Fey was invited to team up with bestie Amy Poehler to host the Golden Globes and the honor was all ours! The duo was such a hit that they hosted for two more consecutive years and pulled in record ratings. According to Nielsen ratings the second time they hosted the show it received its highest ratings in ten years with 20.9 million viewers. The funny ladies were credited for the ratings surge — up six percent from 2013 and 24 percent from 2012.

When E! News asked her if she would sign on for more hosting she told them, "We've had so much fun doing it, but it's its own special moment in time that will end."

According to The New Yorker, on the red carpet of their last stint as hosts, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was asked if she would ever want to host the show. "Tina and Amy should do it forever," she said, "They're genius." Agreed Julia, but it looks like we'll have to wait for another special moment in time!

Running the shows

Fey has proven herself as beyond capable at the reigns of some of TV's most successful shows. She became the first female head writer at Saturday Night Live after only two years, creating many memorable and hilarious moments and then created the hit NBC show 30 Rock that lasted seven seasons with her writing partner, Robert Carlock.

It's clear that Fey and Carlock make a great team; shortly after 30 Rock's end they created the hit Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The show was first created out of NBC's request for them to create something for actress Ellie Kemper, but they ended up on Netflix instead.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Fey describes how it's exciting to write a show for Netflix and not be bound by the rigid network timing of episodes and writing for commercial breaks, allowing the jokes and the show to be a bit edgier than what we'd see on regular cable TV. The show has another season slated to go and is already racking up the Emmy nominations.

This one's for the ladies

At The Hollywood Reporter's 2016 Women in Entertainment breakfast, Fey was honored with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, that recognizes a woman who works in the entertainment industry who is a leader, pioneer and philanthropist. Fey's first movie Mean Girls was in collaboration with Sherry Lansing and she thanked her for her guidance during her acceptance speech.

"I had no idea what I was doing," Fey admitted to the crowd, "I wrote 10 drafts of that script and she never took it away from me. She never had someone else do a two-week 'de-flavorizing' of it. And I didn't realize how special that was at the time, but I do now."

She's often tired of addressing the notion that women aren't funny, "It's just a lot easier to ignore." she told Vanity Fair. During press for Sisters, Fey and Poehler were asked, "Isn't this an amazing time for women in comedy?" over and over again, "People really wanted us to be openly grateful and we were like, 'No, it's a terrible time,'" she explained to Town & Country. "If you were to really look at it, the boys are still getting more money for a lot of garbage, while the ladies are hustling and doing amazing work for less." Fey and her lady friends continue to push and inspire ladies at the forefront of successful comedies

Growing older in Hollywood

Fey is only 45 years old, but finds getting older in Hollywood difficult, she told she told Town & Country, "The greatest challenge for me as an actress is just getting older," she said, "Trying to play the scene at hand while also trying to hold your face up. Fast-forward to being 68, and it's a glorious act of bravery."

She noted seeing people in their twenties at the Golden Globes who appeared to be using Botox already, she prefers to keep things natural and says the best she can do is to try to stay in shape.

When Fey and Poehler sat down to answer some questions with Glamour they discussed how women feel sexy in their forties. Fey said, "By the time you are in your forties, what you want to wear and what you think is sexy is not always, like, for another person. It's what makes you feel good . . . Sexy is all relative." Rock on, Tina! We so agree.