How The Women in Ted Lasso Inspire Mentorship for Other Women

Lucy Broadbent
on 28 June 2023

When actresses Hannah Waddingham and Juno Temple met for the first time before the inaugural script read-through of Ted Lasso, they shared with each other that they were expecting the TV characters they were to play to be pitted against each other in some competitive way, a common occurrence in TV.

The reality turned out to be the opposite, their on-screen friendship becoming a mentorship role model for women everywhere.  “I can’t believe that it’s even a subject for debate because it should have always been thus,” says Waddingham, 48, who plays ‘boss ass bitch’ Rebecca Welton in the show.  “It’s been fantastic to play two women that adore the bones of each other, who would trample anyone down to let the other one get ahead.  I can only hope it will encourage a generation of young ladies to do the same.”

Juno Temple who plays Keeley Jones has said the same: “Keeley and Rebecca are allowed to just adore each other instead of trying to outsmart or compete with each other,” says Temple, 34. “Getting to develop this friendship on camera has been one of the greatest joys of my career. Rebecca really helps Keeley see that she is smarter than she gives herself credit for; Keeley helps Rebecca see that she’s so much fun, that she’s gorgeous, and that she needs to embrace the creature that she is that isn’t a boss and a divorcée.”

The two women demonstrate neatly the benefits that they receive by mutually supporting each other in the show, but the same is true in real life.  Research has shown that women who find mentors and supporters at work tend to land raises, promotions, and better jobs. Support for women by women is also essential in helping to close the gender gap. But typically, men gravitate towards sponsoring other men with whom they connect more naturally, according to statistics.  That means women in senior roles must help other women get ahead.

Hannah Waddingham and Juno Temple: Hand in Hand

“Women accomplish amazing things when we support each other, and we can all do this by mentoring and sponsoring other women,” explains Sheryl Sandberg, formerly Chief Operating Officer of Meta platforms and founder of Lean In.org, the nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring women and supporting them achieve their goals.

“It’s important for senior-level women to invest in women who are just starting out. The problem is there aren’t always enough senior-level women to go around, but there are no rules on who can be a mentor, and it’s never too early to start. If you’re even a few years into your career, find a woman who’s coming up behind you. Your input is valuable. Peers can also mentor and sponsor each other. Your peers are in the trenches with you and can offer a perspective. My peers have certainly done this for me throughout my career.”

But female support doesn’t just have to be a formal business mentorship arrangement. Just as Keeley and Rebecca found friendship on-screen, the actresses also found friendship off-screen which they’ve both spoken publicly about. “Hannah’s become one of the most important females to ever enter my life,” says Temple.  “It’s been amazing to go through this with her.” 

“Juno’s one of the great loves of my life. It was just effortless from day one,” says Waddingham.

Women thrive on strong female relationships according to research. In a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, women with early-stage breast cancer were four times more likely to die from cancer if they didn’t have very many friends, while those with larger groups of friends had a much better survival rate.

“Women are each other’s emotional support system,” explains Kristen Fuller, MD., in Psychology Today.  “From giving advice to being a shoulder to cry on, keeping secrets, lending a listening ear and boosting self-esteem, healthy female friendship is something all women can benefit from.

“If you are a female, no matter your age, treasure your girlfriends for as long as possible, as they are the backbone of your support system”.

Useful Mentorship programs:

https://leanin.org/education/mentorship-matters

https://www.dreammentorship.org

https://women-in-tech.org

Lucy Broadbent is the author of What Would Ted Lasso Do? How Ted’s Positive Approach Can Help You. Find it on Amazon here.

Ted Lasso
Lucy Broadbent With Her New Book What Would Ted Lasso Do?

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