America's Most Powerful Women Describe the People Who Shaped Them

Thisinterview is part of Time Firsts, a multimedia project featuring 46 groundbreaking women. Watch the rest of the videos at Buy the book at the Time Shop now.

Time Firsts Rita Moreno 2017 - LEAD
Photo: Luisa Dörr for Time

Some of our country’s strongest and most successful women are sharing their stories as part of Time’s empowering new video series: Time Firsts. Participants include Oprah Winfrey, Selena Gomez, and Shonda Rhimes, among many, many others.

In a montage which highlights the role models of 19 different women, public figures like Madeleine Albright and Rita Moreno come forward to discuss their respective childhoods and the people in them.

“My mother would never have allowed me to just be the nice girl,” Rhimes states toward the beginning of the clip.

InStyle’s September cover girl also describes her mom in the episode.

“Everything that I am has become a little of what my mom’s gone through,” Gomez explains. “She was 16, so we kind of grew up together.”

Academy Award–winning actress Moreno also shared praise for her mother. “She was a delightful, enthusiastic, vivacious woman. She loved to laugh,” the EGOT winner describes. “She was filled with a kind of joy that you sometimes wonder where she got because she had such a hard time.”

Time Firsts Rita Moreno 2017 - LEAD
Luisa Dörr for Time

YouTube star Michelle Phan shared that her mother has been her strongest motivation. “My mom was actually my biggest reason why I’m such a hustler, such an entrepreneur. This is my turn to now take care of her—the table has turned. And this is the greatest reward for myself—I can take care of my mom.”

Watch the above video for 15 other womens’ takes, and check out more Firsts on

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Courtesy Time
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