The bend and snap. Elle Woods made her grand entrance as she walked her way onto Harvard’s Law School campus with her little chihuahua, Bruiser, trotting along behind her. Elle exuded a confident, optimistic persona, while she remained focused on her ultimate task at hand...winning back her ex–boyfriend, Warner Hunnington III. I know. It may sound ridiculous to say that Elle Woods and “Legally Blonde” have helped shaped my identity and who I am today. I watched it for the first time when I was nine years old, and it’s gotten to the point where I can recite Elle’s break up scene with Warner verbatim.

“It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world...” When faced with the challenges that had been laid before her, Elle Woods never lost sight of who she was. Like many other students who are still trying to find the “right” path to take, I’ve had to take those challenging steps too. What college do I want to go to? What am I going to major in? What am I going to do with my life? Who am I? I felt like I had a little piece of “Elle” in me too.

For starters, I’m blonde. Although I didn’t have a puppy to carry around with me at the time, I always had a bright and cheerful smile on my face, and my closet was filled with pink. Elle brought her confidence and optimism to the table. She was brave. When I was thirteen and a half, my passion, dance, was taken away from me for six months because I had to have knee surgery on a torn meniscus that looked like a “shattered windshield.” It felt like a piece of me was stolen by the crutches and leg brace that kept me sitting and watching while everyone else danced. Some may give up and lose hope, but I channeled my “inner Elle,” and pushed through it. I rhinestoned my crutches. If I couldn’t wear the bedazzled costume onstage, I’d use bedazzled crutches as a temporary substitute. I stood up tall, focused on the challenge at hand, and when I finally got back to the stage I was dancing stronger than ever.

Elle says in her closing words, “You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.” I continue to live by this mantra to this day. I thought of her optimism and confidence while I spent endless hours of studying for my upcoming Econ midterm freshman year, and I continue to think of her conviction while I take my next steps into the daunting “real world.” I follow my gut instincts, stay true to myself, and as I just celebrated my 21st birthday last week, I can finally call myself “Legally Blonde.”

Check out our other "Living Our Lives in Film" Identity Essays:

Emily Johns

Rebecca Gever

Dan Spinelli

Julia Wang

Alison Elliott


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