‘When you’re asking for a raise, you’ve got to be willing to walk out the door if you don’t get what you want.’
Grey’s Anatomy’s Ellen Pompeo is the highest-paid actress on a primetime drama, with her new two-year-deal with the show earning her £414,000 per episode – that’s over £14 million a year.
But according to the 48-year-old actress, this was a long time coming – reportedly fighting for equal pay for years.
That’s right. Earlier this year, the actress told the Hollywood Reporter that even as the show’s main character – you now, playing Meredith GREY in GREY’s Anatomy, she had to fight behind the scenes to be treated as an equal to her male co-stars.
‘They could always use [Patrick Dempsey] as leverage against me – ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick’ – which they did for years,’ she explained of her male co-star, referring to his exit from the show as a ‘defining moment’. ‘I don’t know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals,’ she explained. ‘But there were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that.’
She continued: ‘At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey’s Anatomy and I’m Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me.’
Eventually getting her pay rise in the end, she is now calling for other women to rise up, giving her own advice on how to negotiate a pay rise.
‘The only time you ever really have power in asking for anything is if you’re willing to walk away,’ she explained. ‘When you’re asking for a raise, you’ve got to be willing to walk out the door if you don’t get what you want.’
She continued: ‘Be 100 percent honest. No, no, no, no, no, wait, wait — 98 percent honest. One hundred percent honest with yourself, 98 percent honest with the rest of the world. In being honest, it’s best to sort of start with the positive. Find something positive and lead with that, and then get into the more truthful parts of it.’
Her final piece of advice? ’Stop trying to be perfect. Nobody’s fucking perfect. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, and no one can expect us to be. The closest we can get is to be true and respectful to each other. Be okay with your flaws. We all have them. Stop trying to speak perfect, look perfect, act perfect. Men don’t try to be perfect.’
Here, here, Ellen Pompeo.