She was the first female to earn the position of head writer of America's most famous live sketch comedy show. She was named one of the "100 People Who Shape Our World" by TIME magazine. She immortalized herself as a master impersonator - and, frankly, spitting image of - one of the most polarizing figures in world politics today. And she made librarian glasses cool.
Tina Fey's razor-sharp wit was evident in eighth grade when she leapt headfirst into an independent study project about comedy. Born to a brokerage employee and a grant writer in a suburb of Philadelphia, she grew up watching Saturday Night Live in the 1970s and 80s. Little did she know back then that she would later contribute to the episodes that raked in the show's highest ratings ever (and became NBC.com’s most-watched viral video) by doing a series of dead-on impressions of vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
"I was the editor of the school newspaper and in drama club and choir, so I was not a popular girl in the traditional sense," she says, "but I think I was known for being relatively scathing."
After earning her bachelor's degree from the University
of Virginia, Tina moved to Chicago and immersed herself in improv theater. In 1994, she was asked to join venerable acting troupe The Second City; by 1997, she was writing for SNL. She began co-anchoring the show's "Weekend Update" sketch in 2000 with co-stars Jimmy Fallon and, later, Amy Poehler. Her signature glasses and smart-girl-chic presence begged a cult following - evidenced by the tens of thousands of fans on her Facebook page - and her writing prowess earned her a Writers' Guild of America award in 2001.
Upon returning to SNL after missing only two episodes for the birth of her daughter, she quipped, "I had to get back to work. NBC has me under contract; the baby and I only have a verbal agreement." A dedicated environmentalist and humanitarian, she recycles, drives a hybrid and actively promotes the recently-opened Mercy Corps interactive education facility in New York City, which encourages visitors to become informed about, and take action against, poverty and hunger. All this while she’s not busy earning Emmy and Screen Actors Guild awards, climbing Maxim’s "Hot 100" list or executive producing a little show called 30 Rock. As she bluntly told an Esquire reporter earlier this year, "There is something to be said for people who learn how to do stuff."