PIONEERS

Jenji Kohan

Jenji Kohan TIME 100
Andrew Macpherson—Netflix

Creator of unforgettable characters

A force of nature. That’s what pops into my head every time I have the opportunity to see Jenji Kohan in person. A force of nature. And it’s not just because of the brilliantly badass blue, green or sometimes purple hair. It’s because of the brain underneath it.

A smart businessperson, Jenji was one of the first creators to sign on to make content for Netflix, making her a bold early disrupter of the television model. And we are all the better for it. Because Jenji creates television in a way no other writer creates television. From Weeds’ drug-dealing mom Nancy Botwin to … well, every single woman behind bars in Orange Is the New Black, Jenji’s characters are richly layered and iconic. The characters she creates are dark, twisted, funny and startlingly honest. She’s turned criminals into women we know, women we care about, women we root for.

Just as important and in a way that is shamefully rare today, Jenji’s characters are a breathtaking riot of color and sexual orientation onscreen. Jenji shows a passion for diversity by creating characters of all backgrounds who are three-dimensional, flawed and sometimes unpleasant, but always human.
But then, what else could we expect from a force of nature?

Rhimes is the creator and executive producer of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal

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