NBC is developing a series on the teen detective who’s been inspiring women for decades.
Get a clue.
It’s no mystery why Nancy Drew has inspired girls who have grown into presidential candidates, Supreme Court justices and Oprah for almost 90 years. The titian-haired detective who chased bad guys instead of cute boys was one of the first female role models to embody a real sense of purpose and self confidence.
“She had character, and she had courage,” Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor told NPR. Plus, Nancy’s upper class background was aspirational. “Her blue roadster – my having a sports car became a life dream,” Justice Sotomayor added.
— Variety (@Variety) October 17, 2017
“She just seemed like such a go-getter and really smart and brave,” America’s first female major party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said last year. “She was taking care of the house, she was going to school, she was solving mysteries.”
And so young women have devoured Nancy’s adventures with her BFFs George and Bess, her sometimes beau Ned and her lawyer father Carson across more than 200 books and five films, including the 2007 movie starring Emma Roberts as the girl gumshoe.
Now NBC is developing a Nancy Drew series, this time featuring the titular detective as an author in her 40s or 50s who gets drawn into a new mystery with her old friends.
So in honor of the new show, here’s seven Nancy Drewisms we could all use to solve problems. Fervent fans Katherine Giles, editor and social media director of Bas Bleu books and gifts, and Jennifer Worick, author of “Nancy Drew’s Guide to Life,” mused to Moneyish about the girl gumshoe’s best traits.
Nancy is fearless. She goes into creepy attics, basements, woods and carnivals, often armed with only a flashlight, looking for clues, secret passages and missing jewels without a second thought. She travels the world outside her safe Midwestern community. She expects authority figures like the River Heights chief of police will take her seriously. Nothing holds her back.
Nancy is always prepared. “It’s important for women to have a ‘f— off fund’ so they will always be able to take care of and support themselves, even when life gets messy or throws curveballs,” said Worick. “Nancy always had an overnight bag in her trunk in case an adventure required a road trip. Take a nod from her and be prepared for the unexpected.”
— Sherry (@TheOnionFlower) October 6, 2017
Nancy never stops learning. Her seemingly endless skills set includes playing the bagpipes, lock-picking, changing tires and other basic car mechanics, horseback riding, playing the piano, skydiving, analyzing handwriting and pulling public records at the library. And these talents always seem to come in handy on cases.
Nancy never panics. When she’s tied to a chair, she taps “Help!” in Morse code with her heels. When she’s locked in a room, she removes the door hinges to escape. “It wasn’t that she was MacGyver getting paper clips and duct tape and fixing a carburetor, but she was very level-headed and resourceful,” said Giles. “My first car as a teenager didn’t have anti-lock brakes, and I hit a skid and started hydroplaning – but I remembered to pump the brakes to come to a stop, and I learned that from a Nancy Drew novel.”
— KATHLEEN KOTARA (@KathleenKotara) September 28, 2017
Nancy picks supportive men. Not only does boyfriend Ned Nickerson support Nancy’s passion in solving crimes, but he also defers to her lead. “It was nice to see the boyfriend be the sidekick for a change,” said Giles. “And her father was also helpful, handy and supportive, but Nancy was definitely leading the charge. I remember Ned and her dad being feminists before I even knew what that meant.”
Nancy knows when to ask for help. She’s independent, but she can always rely on her best friends George and Bess for physical and emotional support, or to tap various lab technicians and experts for help in unraveling clues. “Ask questions, listen, and try to find common ground,” added Worick. “It’s important to keep loved ones close as we move through life with all its adventures and mysteries.” And the girls’ friendship was one for the ages. “They were three very different girls, but they still had such a tight bond without the jealousy or cattiness that seemed to be in a lot of preteen books,” said Giles.
Nancy dresses for success. She tends to be dressed in her sweater sets, flats and low heels – or jeans in later editions – so she can still chase a suspect while looking professional. Clinton notes in her book “What Happened” that Nancy Drew would “often do her detective work in sensible trousers,” quoting 1939’s “The Clue of the Tapping Heels” where Nancy notes, “I’m glad I wore pants.”
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