THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100
Shaw's tough job closing client Jamie Foxx's deal to star in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained was indicative of the challenges facing film actors. "Precedent doesn't exist anymore," she says. "People don't care what your credentials are. It's like you're starting from zero."
That's why Shaw, 57, is advising clients to be more entrepreneurial. She cites Nick Cannon as an example: He acts, hosts America's Got Talent, appears on NBC's Up All Night and is creating an awards show for Nickelodeon, all with Shaw's help.
The married mother of two adult daughters grew up in Harlem before attending Columbia Law School and becoming the most successful African-American woman talent lawyer in Hollywood, as well as a mentor to countless young people.
"Even when I started this firm with Ernie Del [in 1989], we said, 'It has to look different than our competitors,'" she says, citing hiring practices that have created perhaps the most diverse talent law firm in the business.
Despite her intense workload, this year Shaw and her husband took off for a very rare vacation in South America for two weeks. How rare? "It was the first one in 24 years," she says. "Although, after the first week, my clients started to track me down and call."
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