Your Turn: Tess McGill : In Character From Working Girl, directed by Mike NicholsNominated by J.N. Cody
NPR logo Your Turn: Tess McGill

Your Turn: Tess McGill

From Working Girl, directed by Mike Nichols
Nominated by J.N. Cody

Working Girl's Tess McGill is film's first corporate heroine, a woman who succeeds on smarts and gumption. She burns to climb the corporate ladder, but no clear path for women exists.

Tess was my first career role model. (My generation was told we could be "anything we wanted." Empowering? How about maddeningly short on specifics!)

Sure, our mothers worked: as teachers, secretaries, nurses. Then came Working Girl, with Wall Street energy, paneled board rooms, mergers & acquisitions.

Sigourney Weaver portrays Katherine Parker, a polished Wharton grad gliding through this world. Studying her role model, Tess transforms from secretary to businesswoman: a cultivated voice, a power wardrobe, "serious hair."
Tess finally gets her dream job — in an office! With a door! Her own secretary!!!

When I got my first job-with-an-office-and-a-door, I too immediately called my friends to describe the "view" — one I might not have imagined without Tess.