thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

How to Be Awesome Like… Leslie Knope

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Sarah Todd

This post is part of a new Girls Like Giants series, “How to Be Awesome Like…” in which we break down the steps necessary to become more like some of our favorite heroines. Whether it involves getting a sweet army jacket, brushing up on our archery skills, or mastering the art of French cooking, there are many ways to follow in the footsteps of these rockin’ role models. Got someone you’d like to celebrate? Email us at – ST

Previously: Phoebe Bronstein’s How to Be Awesome Like Jessica Fletcher.

Seasons two and three of Parks and Recreation are my ultimate TV comfort food. I like my comedies packed with silliness and warmth, and the show has both in spades. (Season one, by contrast–pre-show-makeover–is pretty depressing. If you’re new to the show and have similar tastes, maybe just skip ahead?)

Post-season one, however, Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope is a huge part of what makes the show work. She’s zany and dorky and kind and loyal and incredibly hard-working, the kind of lady I can only aspire to be. In order to help myself get started in Knope-emulation, I put together the following list. (A future column may also feature another Parks and Rec character, April Ludgate, who is badass in an entirely different way.) And so:

How to Be Awesome Like Leslie Knope

•    Sleep never; have more energy than a bouncy ball after six espressos.
•    Hoard newspapers (lovably) so that your house looks like “a crazy person’s garage.”
•    Refer to bathrooms as “the whiz palace” when you’re feeling nervous.
•    Tell your best friend she is beautiful whenever you describe her, and especially when you are also about to say something she might not like.
•    Love waffles passionately.
•    Fight for what you believe in; never stand down.
•    When crashing boy’s clubs, be sure to announce—loudly and repeatedly—that that is what you are doing just so everyone’s clear.

•    Have a lot of anxiety about dinner parties; over-plan accordingly.
•    Bring candy necklaces on your stakeouts.
•    Have a one-night stand with a co-worker; pine for said co-worker for the next six years.
•    Then move on from that guy; he doesn’t deserve you anyway.
•    Believe that good first date outfits might involve sexy hats and cargo pants.
•    Never take a sick day, even if you get hospitalized. Hospital beds can’t hold you down!
•    Think boring things (paperwork, bureaucracy, town hall meetings) are amazingly exciting and go about your duties with gusto.
•    Hang inspirational pictures of Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton in your office, play with a Geraldine Ferrarro doll that you made from a popsicle stick and a picture from a magazine, and read “a shocking number of political biographies.”
•    Don’t let other people’s negativity bring you down.
•    In order to resist a romantic atmosphere, put together an anti-seduction soundtrack that includes Banjo Boogie Bonanza, Whale Sounds, and Learning to Speak Mandarin, Unit Three: Getting Around Town.
•    Be a super-reliable, loyal friend—the kind, as Ann says, who will not only come over in the middle of the night to deal with a crisis, but is often already on her way.
•    Force people to bond with you even if they are kind of anti-you/anti-people, and watch them come around.
•    Believe the best about everyone and everything, despite evidence to the contrary.

Vote Knope!

  1. This is AMAZING! I adore Leslie, and I think this list basically encompasses her personality. Definitely sharing it on FB. 🙂

  2. Thanks so much, Heidi! Glad to meet another member of the Leslie Knope fan club 🙂

  3. […] not very good at digging. She’s admitted on multiple occasions that she looks up to Leslie (good choice, April!) and that she thinks Tom is funny and at least semi-cool — after all, it’s hard […]

  4. […] talented contributors and to our equally awesome readers. You are the smize in our eyes, the Knope in our hope, the Unique wonder that makes us feel glee. Basically, you’re the best. Without […]

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