Actress Ellie Kemper plays the lead in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Tina Fey’s Netflix series about a woman who was held captive by a doomsday cult leader since the age of 14. Kemper cites the story of kidnapping survivor, Elizabeth Smart, as the inspiration behind her portrayal of Kimmy. Smart was also 14 when she was taken from her parents’ home in 2002 and found nine months later. In the show, Kimmy adjusts to modern life following her rescue from an underground bunker fifteen years after her kidnapping.

“I read Elizabeth Smart’s memoir, and every night before she would go to bed, she would think about what she was grateful for that day and she was in the depths of hell,” Kemper said in an interview with The Wrap. “You’ve got to count your blessings. Kimmy’s been through her own hell and she’s still wanting to make a full life for herself,” continued Kemper. Season 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is currently in pre-production. Smart is now an activist for child abuse victims and kidnapping survivors.


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Image via Netflix/screengrab.