Lena Dunham Is 30! 13 Times the Birthday Girl Kept It Real—and We Loved Her for It

Clone of Lena Dunham Birthday - LEAD
Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

When we think Lena Dunham, two things instantly come to mind: First is the actress's larger-than-life confidence, which not only allows her the daringness to show some major skin on TV (see: most episodes of Girls), but also the assurance to interview important social influencers and politicians, like presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama. Second, aside from being an A-list actress, Dunham is a self-proclaimed feminist, gender rights advocate, and Lenny Letter co-founder. She often speaks out about important issues regarding women’s rights and diversity in Hollywood that for many years have been swept under the rug. Plus, she's not afraid to break it down on Instagram (see the video evidence below) and she's as witty and hilarious as ever in person.

The list goes on and on when it comes to reasons we adore her, which is why we decided to compile a list of her most empowering “real girl” moments in honor of her milestone birthday. See the many, many times Dunham was all kinds of honest, empowering, and relatable below.

1. When she fearlessly showed her silly side while rocking out to Justin Bieber.
In honor of her 30th birthday, we of course have to start with this hilarious video of Dunham breaking it down to Justin Bieber's "Sorry"—in boldly mixed patterns, we might add.

2. When she talked candidly with Ellen DeGeneres about showing skin on TV.
As the star of the comedy-drama series Girls, the actress has gotten some major air time—and fairly often she’s been seen baring it all on camera. During a visit to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dunham talked about her mindset when it comes to stripping down on-screen. For her, she says wearing next to nothing is totally within her comfort zone, saying "I didn’t do anything brave. I feel totally cool about being naked.”

3. When she was honest about needing a break and told her fans straight-up.
Every now and again, we all need a break. Dunham suffers from endometriosis, a chronic illness that had her feeling spent when last press season rolled around. Instead of flying under the radar, Dunham decided honesty is the best policy and told her fans via Instagram why she would be MIA during press events for Girls.

Hey Beloved Pals, I just wanted to let you know that, while I am so excited for Girls to return on Feb 21, I won't be out and about doing press for the new season. As many of you know I have endometriosis, a chronic condition that affects approximately 1 in 10 women's reproductive health. I am currently going through a rough patch with the illness and my body (along with my amazing doctors) let me know, in no uncertain terms, that it's time to rest. That's a hard thing to do, but I'm trying, because all I want is to make season 6 of Girls the best one yet. I'm lucky enough to have support and backup from Jenni, Judd and the whole Girls gang. So many women with this disease literally don't have the option of time off and I won't take it for granted. Wishing you all health & happiness, in whatever form suits you. Back soon xxLena

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on Feb 8, 2016 at 12:42pm PST

4. When she wasn’t afraid to share her bathrobe-clad “lonesome” pic.
Dunham's honesty is endearing—even when said honesty involves sharing half-naked Instagrams detailing her late-night shenanigans. Here, the Girls star shared what she does during her "lonesome" time, which she explained in the Instagram below.

5. When Dunham humorously shared she feels like a "limping baby elephant" in heels.
During a visit to Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Dunham got candid about her feelings on high heels. See her hilarious interpretation of why women wear them.

6. When she shared an Instagram of unruly brows that can't be tamed.
In a laugh-out-loud Instagram post, Dunham shared a photo of the brows she "works so hard on." And, we can totally relate.

7. When she was a total role model in our eyes.
After dutifully heading to the polls, Dunham took to Instagram to share a "I Voted" snapshot. Needless to say, we're all inspired by her political awareness and desire to make a difference.

👀 ❤️ voting !

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on Apr 19, 2016 at 7:58am PDT

8. When she shared an important lesson she's learned during her career.
The actress shared some wisdom with onlookers during an "Ask Lena" talk at the 2014 Chicago Humanities Festival. She said: "…It's OK for me to say 'I don’t know.' I think a lot of people and young women have that strong sense of imposter syndrome and, as young women, you feel like you haven’t paid your due or you aren’t in a position to assert yourself or express yourself. And so, I spent a lot of time being afraid that I would falter and pretending that I knew things that I didn’t. Now, I'm just getting to a comfortable place of saying, 'I don’t know and that’s OK because there are other things I do know.’ So, that’s one that stuck with me.” See the full clip below.

9. When funny women Dunham and Amy Schumer majorly fangirled over Rihanna.
While attending a Rihanna concert in New Jersey, the dynamic duo, along with Dunham's boyfriend Jack Antonoff, took a group selfie. In it, they worked up their best funny faces to show their feelings on the ordeal. Clearly, the birthday girl was pretty pumped.

10. When she took the most honest selfie ever.
We all have our days when selfies just aren't an option. For Dunham, though, imperfection is a total photo op. She snapped this hilariously relatable " thinning eyebrows and a zit" Instagram for the world to see on Halloween.

11. When she stripped down to her Calvins to offer fans some life advice.
Dunham was in need of some "me-time," but not before sending out a heartfelt message to her fans. She wrote in the Instagram below: "I am certainly no self-help guru but here is what I know tonight: when you take the time and space you need, kindly and responsibly, you're suddenly available to the people you love in a whole new way."

TBH this was a rough week. It felt like my body, my hormones, my general sense of well-being were betraying me. I wanted to crumple into a pile or hide like a sweatshirt in the lost and found. And I felt as though there wasn't a way to ask for the space and time I needed without hurting someone else. What a shitty feeling, but isn't that the reality for so many of us? I am certainly no self-help guru but here is what I know tonight: when you take the time and space you need, kindly and responsibly, you're suddenly available to the people you love in a whole new way. There is no other answer (except Calvins... Nothing gets between us.)

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on Sep 16, 2015 at 9:31pm PDT

12. When she bravely stood up for women in the workplace.
During the 2015 Hollywood Reporter Annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast, Dunham stood up to address a room full of female media executives, including Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCUniversal, and Donna Langley, movie executive and chairman of Universal Pictures. She said: "I am not advocating for a world where women erase men from the workplace, as pleasurable as that might be for me on certain days. I am advocating for all of us here to make it our mission to use our resources and turn this around as a team … It's the right thing to do and it’s the only thing to do.” Watch her witty speech in full here:

13. When Dunham felt empowered to share the most inspiring #fitspo photo ever.
Dunham wrote an honest and motivating message about running and her love/hate relationship with it. In concluding her post, the birthday girl wrote: " I felt strong, swift and proud. I'm not about to embrace that triathlon life but it's a true joy to continue getting more connected to my body and its powers."

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