The character of Heidi Holland is a truly intriguing and inspiring one. Heidi Holland is a woman who truly follows her passion and achieves amazing things. Eventually, Heidi becomes an art history professor and essayist, teaching at the prestigious Columbia University-- a leader and pioneer in the exact field she has always been passionate about. We also see Heidi when she is developing into a young woman; we see her beginning her journey into womanhood while attending Miss Crain’s high school, and then observe her journey through an undergraduate program at Vassar and acceptance through a graduate school program at Yale; this program, is similar to the Playwriting program that Wendy Wasserstein herself went through. Heidi is a proud feminist and a supporter of other artists; she writes a back called “And the Light Floods in from the Left” which supports the cause of women in art, and then directing a woman’s art group in the 80s. The character, like Wasserstein, is a woman who attempts to lift up other women and the feminist movement in general through her art and advocacy. She ends up creating and organizing a show on Lilla Cabot Perry and does great things for many people. Still, though, she is ultimately not able to find complete fulfillment in romance, friendship, or career, and blames this on a society that is not advanced enough in terms of equality; Heidi ends up adopting an infant from Panama and dreams that she will grow up in a better world with more fairness, justice, and opportunity for women than the world she has known, despite all of its progress and advancements in the women’s rights battle-- whether she knows that she has contributed to progress in that field is up for the audience to decide.
Heidi Holland has been portrayed by some truly iconic actresses. Joan Allen was the original Heidi Holland, and set a high bar for other actresses to find a way to reach; luckily, some amazing Heidi Hollands have followed in this path and done great work in their rendition of the character. Jamie Lee Curtis played Heidi Holland with clarity and grace in the 1996 movie, in which she was nominated for several awards and was critically lauded for her work. Finally, Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss took on the role for 2015 revival; despite the revival’s comparatively poor reviews and box office results, she was still nominated for a Tony Award for her work.