5 Reasons We Salute You, Ellen Degeneres

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[Besides being the month of St. Patrick's Day and CollegeCandy's editor's birthday, March is Women's History Month. Instead of honoring the great women of our past, however, we at CC want to honor the women they inspired and who now inspire us. Every Wednesday this month we are going to highlight a woman who is currently dominating her field and showing us that we can really do anything. Like Chelsea Handler, the woman of late night comedy; Kathryn Bigelow, this year's best director; and Gwen Stefani, rockstar mommy. These women are strong, powerful, famous, and doing their thing even better than their male counterparts, so let's give them the attention they deserve!]

Ellen Degeneres is a household name nowadays, and rightfully so. From her hilarious antics, sweet dance moves, and generous heart, Ellen does it all, and that’s why she’s our fourth inspiring woman to be featured this month! Ellen has come so far in both her personal and professional life and it’s all because she works hard and is not afraid to be herself. Here are 5 reasons we salute you, Ellen Degeneres!

1. She’s done wonders for the gay community
Ellen came out publicly in 1997, both on the Oprah Winfrey Show and on her sitcom Ellen. This was groundbreaking, because it not only marked the first time a primetime TV character was gay, but also the first time one was played by an openly gay actor. The series then touched on various LGBT issues usually not covered in popular television shows. Now, 13 years later, Ellen’s not afraid to step out in public with wife Portia de Rossi and openly discuss their relationship, and her incredible success has made it clear that sexual orientation is not an obstacle to achieving your goals.

2. She’s (another) Renaissance woman
Ellen’s basically done it all. She’s got a college education, was a stand-up comedian, an actress on two different sitcoms, a talk show host, a voice of an animated character (who could forget Dory!?), is the newest judge on American Idol, a spokeswoman for American Express and Covergirl, and has even hosted the Oscar’s and Emmy’s (and was the first gay person to do so)! Somebody stop her! But seriously, Ellen is one powerful woman who can’t be contained, and whose personality is huge enough for pretty much every media outlet.

3. She racks up the awards
I’ll admit that I’d still love Ellen even if she didn’t have multiple shelves of awards, but her achievements are pretty freakin’ awesome! The Ellen Degeneres Show won 25 Emmy’s in it’s first three seasons, and she’s won People’s Choice Awards every year from 2005-2008 for Favorite Funny Female Star and Favorite Talk Show Host, as well as a Kids Choice Award for Favorite Animated Character in Finding Nemo.

4. She’s amazingly generous
Anyone who watches the Ellen Degeneres Show (3 p.m., NBC) knows that this woman cares so much about other people, it’s insane. Ellen enjoys the success life has brought her way and is compelled to share it with other people. During her twelve days of giveaways, she gave away everything from clothes to cars for those less fortunate (a couple of the episodes brought me to tears!). She also supports more than a dozen charities, including the ONE campaign, Susan G. Komen for a cure, St. Jude’s Children’s research hospital, and the Humane Society.

5. She’s freakin’ hilarious!
From dancing and singing with the audience in the beginning of her show, to the ridiculous games she plays with her guests like “Know or Go” (did anyone see the episode where she dunked Snooki!?), to the outrageously funny celeb interviews, the Ellen show keeps me laughing from start to finish, which is exactly what I need as an afternoon pick-me-up. She makes us smile from the American Idol judges table and had the audience cracking up during the Oscar ceremony she hosted. Heck, her humor even shone through as an animated fish! Needless to say, this funny gal has our vote for inspiring woman of the week.

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