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‘Be true to yourself and everything will be fine’: Ellen DeGeneres

Speaking at Tulane Commencement in 2009, TV host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres spoke in her characteristic humorous style. “When I was asked to make the commencement speech, I immediately said yes. Then I went to look up what commencement meant, which would have been easy if I had a dictionary, but most of the books in our house are Portia’s, and they’re all written in Australian. So I had to break the word down myself, to find out the meaning,” she said.

Speaking on the past and the way her ideas have evolved, she said “[M]y idea of success is different today. And as you grow, you’ll realise the definition of success changes. For many of you, today, success is being able to hold down 20 shots of tequila. For me, the most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity and not to give in to peer pressure to try to be something that you’re not, to live your life as an honest and compassionate person, to contribute in some way.”

She continued saying never to give advice. “Don’t give advice, it will come back and bite you… Don’t take anyone’s advice. So my advice to you is to be true to yourself and everything will be fine.”

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