Ellen Snortland was born in Denver, Co. She was raised in South Dakota where crops are grown in some fields and in others, women of strength and determination; women determined to pioneer like their foremothers.
"I heard my father describe Winston Churchill as a Renaissance man when I was eight years old," says Snortland. "I decided that I would be a Renaissance woman." Becoming a "Renaissance woman" was a tall order dream that she proceeded to fulfill as swiftly as she could.
She graduated from Augustana Academy, an experimental private high school, at sixteen, just as the woman's movement was revving up. Ellen moved to California by herself to become a member of the esteemed Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria. She co-founded the first all-woman theater company in the nation, Theater of Process, which was featured in an early issue of Ms. Magazine and the front cover of the L.A. Times Sunday Calendar section. "I figured in order to get ahead, we'd have to carve out our own niche," Ms. Snortland said, and added, "Besides anyone who can cook and run a household can run a theater company or run for president."
The theater company premiered new works as well as classics. After the company integrated men, Snortland produced and starred as Nora in a highly acclaimed production of Ibsen's "A Doll's House" with co-star Ted Danson. She also co-wrote and directed shows that were both SRO and received rave reviews in the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety.
Snortland decided a good "renaissance" move would be to study law after receiving her B.A. cum laude in theater and film at U.C., Irvine. Attending law school at Loyola, Los Angeles, gave her a keen understanding of women's rights as well as responsibilities. After passing the California Bar exam, Ellen jumped feet first into the entertainment industry as a performer and coach. As a performer, she accomplished what many fail to do: she was a working actor in commercials and a regular on two series, "Anything for Money" and "Divorce Court." Ellen temporarily adopted a screen name, Ellen Emory, for a nine month long pilot for TV LITE, a send-up television news magazine program at KCRA in Sacramento, California, where was a TV reporter. Snortland has performed as a singer and stand-up comic. She has also done voice-over work in TV, cartoons, a kid's audio tape with Shari Lewis, Shelley Duvall's innovative CD ROM interactive project, "It's A Bird's Life," and the Sega/Entergamement's CD ROM project, "Make My Video."
In her professional coaching and consultant role, Ms. Snortland was able to combine her legal counseling expertise, multi-faceted life experience, enthusiasm and people skills to teach others to accomplish career goals. She worked as a senior consultant and coach for Impact Studios and Workshops for eight years, working with hundreds of clients, ranging from fledgling singers, frustrated homemakers and corporate lawyers to highly accomplished writer/producers (and everything in between) to increase and hone their productivity through highly personalized one-on-one motivational and job skills coaching.
She also exercised her leadership talents by producing large live events as well as directing and producing for the "New Candid Camera" pilot and "Totally Hidden Video" series. While segment producing for KingWorld's "Tim and Daphne Reid Show", Snortland was able to apply her smorgasbord of abilities and knowledge.
The eclectic Ms. Snortland has also renovated two Victorian mansions in Los Angeles along with the efforts of other urban pioneers, personally re-finishing over 4500 sq. ft. of wood floors. She re-habbed an abandoned ocean-front executive home in Baja, Mexico. Later Snortland restored a 2 and 1/2 acre horse ranch built in 1914 in the San Fernando Valley. Her latest home in Altadena, CA, "Didn't need a darn thing done."
Ms. Snortland has been a broadcast and print journalist specializing in so-called women's issues, including the movement to achieve gender balance in institutions, women in history, reducing violence against women, as well as childhood and adult sexual harassment problems being exposed in society.
"With blonde hair and a name like Snortland, you've got to figure I'm going to know something about harassment," says Snortland, who accomplishes as much as she can with her causes using humor. Besides her savvy in gender politics, Ms. Snortland is fluent in domestic and global affairs.
Ms. Snortland particularly advocates nipping sexual harassment in the bud where it actually starts, in the home and on the playground, by empowering girls and women to speak up. As a self-defense advocate, Ellen writes and teaches both women and kids physical self-protection skills. She completed the IMPACT Foundation's International full-impact Instructor Training in August 1993.
As a writer/ producer/ director/ humorist/ actor, dormant lawyer, women's and children's self-defense advocate, feminist-homemaker, Snortland has the unique ability to speak and write with authority on subjects ranging from knitting and cooking, to S.W.A.T. team methods of close-quarter hand-to-hand combat to the opportunities and obstacles of the professional American woman. Her perspective provides a much needed bridge of understanding between the home, university and the office in a context of feminist theory. True to her Renaissance Woman nature, she is the author of Beauty Bites Beast: Awakening the Warrior Within Women and Girls , (Trilogy Books, Pasadena, 1998), and featured on National Public Radio and Dateline NBC.
A weekly columnist with the Pasadena Weekly, Ellen Snortland delivers social commentary in her popular column "Consider This..." She has been described as California's Molly Ivins with her own unique humor, vast experience, and an abiding commitment to social change. She emerged as a fresh and progressive voice of the '90s, a Renaissance decade for women and continues her provocative column into the new century.
Snortland has published commentary in the L.A. Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Fernando Valley Daily News, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal-Bulletin, The Charlotte Observer, Arizona Tribune Newspapers, Houston Post, St. Paul Pioneer Press, and Rapid City Journal. Snortland is a contributor to the Crossing Press anthology, Sexual Harassment: Women Speak Out , edited by Amber Coverdale Sumrall and Dena Taylor. In 1993, she became a member of the Betty Friedan think tank at U.S.C. She is on the Board of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights and the United Nation's Association Pasadena-Foothill Chapter. She attended the Non-Governmental Organizations Forum as a U.N.A. delegate and as press, covered the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. She also covered the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in August 2001. She has received grants from the Better World Campaign, in 2003 and 2004, to cover the U.N.'s 47 th and 48 th Commissions on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York City.
Ms. Snortland was on the part-time faculty in the Communication Studies Department at California State University, Los Angeles. She is also a contributing writer to Ms. Magazine.
She is currently directing a documentary based on her book, "Beauty Bites Beast/La Bella Muerde a la Bestia," a bilingual film which is slated for completion in the fall of 2006.
Beauty Bites Beast: Awakening the Warrior Within Women and Girls, 2001, B3 Books, (second edition) is available in bookstores and on-line. See more information on this website on the "Beauty Bites Beast" page.
Ms. Snortland can be reached by calling 626-798-8421 or email Ellen Snortland firstname.lastname@example.org
References, writing samples and video tape available on request.