6 Famous Mentoring Relationships And What You Can Learn From Them
Mentoring relationships aren't just great for your career. Having someone who can help you when you have a problem, cheer you on from the sidelines, and get to know you on a deeper level will help you in every area of your life. We loved discovering how these six mentors have changed their mentees' lives for the better, and we know you will too!
Maya Angelou And Oprah Winfrey
One of Oprah Winfrey's mentors was the writer and poet Maya Angelou, who she describes as a "mother-sister-friend." Angelou offered lots of wisdom, but one of Winfrey's favorite pieces of advice from Angelou was to believe people when they show you their true selves.
"'Baby,' she once chided me, 'they show you and show you, and you still don't believe what you see! Why does it take you 29 times?" Winfrey said on Oprah. That conversation was life changing for me."
Inspired by her friendship with Angelou, Winfrey has influenced the lives of countless other people and created a charity foundation.
Jane Fonda And Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep met Jane Fonda on the set of Julia in the 1970s and learned a lot from the time they spent together. Because of learning from Fonda, Streep has been able to do the same for others.
"I thank you for [your guidance]," she said during Fonda's AFI Lifetime Achievement Award tribute. "And all of the young actors I've worked with subsequently, in the years following, thank you too, because that lesson and kindness got passed down. And it does keep going."
Streep and her husband have also given away millions of dollars in grants through their Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts, founded in 2012.
Meryl Streep And Viola Davis
Along with her philanthropy, Streep has been able to serve as a mentor herself for a number of people, including actress Viola Davis. The two met when they were filming 2008's Doubt and have been friends ever since, from Davis presenting Streep's Cecil B. DeMille award to Streep standing with Davis during the induction of her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Davis said in an interview with Elle that Streep is "always imparting wisdom" and she "[gives lessons in confidence] all the time."
Faith Hill And Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift told CMT in a 2008 interview that Faith Hill inspired her to move to Nashville.
"I first visited Nashville after I watched this TV program about Faith Hill. It said that she went to Nashville and that's how she made it in country music."
When Taylor Swift was first rising to fame, she felt she could rely on country Hill.
"She would reach out to me and invite me over and take me on tour, and I knew that I could talk to her," Swift said in an interview with Billboard.
Now, not only has Swift won more than 10 Grammys and been named the AMA's Artist of the Decade, but she also been able to help others. She mentors other artists, helping them get through the bad press she's dealt with, and she helped some of her fans pay their bills during COVID.
Dolly Parton And Miley Cyrus
Dolly Parton is Miley Cyrus' godmother and has been her lifelong mentor. Parton has said that "[Miley] does not need my advice, but she's often asking for information and advice, and I tell her what I know, but I think the girl's doing all right without me."
But that doesn't mean Cyrus doesn't look up to her anyway!
"She treats people with love and respect," Cyrus said in an interview with Cosmopolitan. "Always a reminder to me and my family of what is important. Never let success change your heart."
Parton was Cyrus' only co-writer on her 2017 album Younger Now.
Janel Parrish And Lana Condor
Condor became a fan of Parrish's long before they were cast as sisters in To All the Boys I've Loved Before. For Katie Couric's Thank You Notes challenge, where women surprise their role model with a thank you note, Condor wrote about how seeing Parrish in Pretty Little Liars, which ran from 2010 to 2017, was the first time she felt represented onscreen as an Asian American woman.
"You have helped create a space for girls like me in this industry," she says, "and I hope that I can do for young girls what you have done for me."
To All The Boys writer Jenny Han told Seventeen that Parrish is "so lovely and generous with her time and her experience as an Asian American woman in the film industry. It's so important to have mentors...I can already tell that Janel will be that for Lana and [their costar] Anna."
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Brit + Co Editorial Assistant, Swiftie | Chloe is from the Outer Banks of North Carolina (yes, like the Netflix show!). When she isn't writing or updating her blog Pastels and Pop Culture, Chloe enjoys watching Marvel movies or texting her sister about the latest celebrity news. Say hi at @thechloewilliams on Insta!