How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

GIRLS: Lena Dunham shares it all

January 11, 2013: 2:42 PM ET
Girls creator Lena Dunham

Girls creator Lena Dunham

FORTUNE -- While Yahoo's (YHOO) Marissa Mayer has become a role model for young women who dream of being CEO someday, Lena Dunham is today's icon for young women with indie aspirations that have been suspended by dysfunctional real life.

The creator and producer and director and star of the HBO phenom Girls got--actually, created--her own first big break when she made a film called Tiny Furniture for $25,000 with a Sony camcorder that she got from her parents for her 21st birthday. Now 26, Dunham oversees an expanding media empire that also includes a serious digital presence and a multimillion-dollar book deal.

We didn't know how Dunham, whose TV portrayal of twentysomething life is raw and often painfully personal, would play to our Fortune Most Powerful Women audience in October. CNN's Soledad O'Brien interviewed Dunham on stage about her "powerful woman-ness," her own role models, and her willingness to appear naked on TV. Dunham was smart, funny, and, frankly, adorable. The conversation turned out to be one of the big hits of the 2012 MPW Summit.

With Season two of Girls premiering on HBO (TWX) this Sunday night, it's a perfect time to share with you the full interview with the incomparable Lena Dunham.

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About This Author
Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

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