Ellen Pompeo on Asking for What She Deserves

Ellen Pompeo is going to make $20 million per season going forward as the star of ABC’s hit TV show Grey’s Anatomy. In this Hollywood Reporter cover story, she explains why it took so long for her to ask for what she deserves. Some may think she’s being too blunt, but I found her candor necessary given the continued state of unequal pay between men and women.

Specific points that stuck out to me:

— Shonda Rhimes’s advice to Pompeo: “Decide what you think you’re worth and then ask for what you think you’re worth. Nobody’s just going to give it to you.”

— Pompeo is now 48 years old and has been playing this character on Grey’s Anatomy for 14 seasons. She is just now comfortable asking for what she deserves, something she believes only came with age.

— Pompeo: actors always want to do what they’re currently not doing. She believes the executives have a choice: you can hold actors down and attempt to control them, but if you do that, it kills their spirit and causes resentment. When she has been a director on set, she gives the scripts to actors as soon as possible and invites them to casting sessions to they feel part of the process.