Arnold Schwarzenegger and his love child have captured the attention of the world this week. Sad details about the affair continue to emerge, as pictures of the mistress flash across newspapers and websites everywhere. In her undoubtedly heartbreaking family breakup, Maria Shriver, the other half of the toppled power couple, has a chance to triumph.
Some are asking who Maria should date next. Tim Robbins? Alec Baldwin? While it would be fun to see JFK's niece hook up with a high-profile liberal after decades with a Republican, I doubt she's even thinking about a new love connection as she tries to stay strong for her kids. Still, with the public's goodwill behind her, Maria's next move could be her best yet.
In her 2008 book, Just Who Will You Be?, Maria discussed her reluctance to quit her successful journalism career at NBC to become first lady of California. She wrote, "You've got to be kidding! That's not me! I didn't grow up wanting to be first lady of anything!" Over the years she said she came to peace with being first lady and believed it helped her find her own voice. Maybe this next life stage will move her further along that path. Based on her experience so far, below you'll find four potential projects Maria could take on post-Arnold.
- Work as an activist: Maria comes from a long line of people working for the greater good of the country. We know about her uncles JFK and RFK, but her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded the Special Olympics, and her father, Sargent Shriver, created the Peace Corps. In the spirit of her parents' public service, Maria could dedicate her time to activist work. She already supports various causes, including Alzheimer's research; her father suffered from the disease. Maria held a march to benefit the Alzheimer's Association last year, wrote a children's book on the disease in 2003, and was the executive producer of the Emmy-winning documentary series The Alzheimer's Project, which examined the disease's impact on patients and families while exploring cutting-edge research.
- Return to journalism: Maria has extensive journalism experience. She coanchored the CBS Morning News, NBC News' Sunday Today, the Sunday editions of NBC Nightly News, and Dateline NBC. When Arnold became governor, she stepped away from NBC, citing potential conflicts of interest; however, on her time away Maria's put her professional skills to use, for example working with Time and NBC News for 2009's The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything, a study that detailed the current state of American women and families. It was modeled after a similar report JFK asked Eleanor Roosevelt to conduct decades earlier.
- Host a talk show: Considering the timing, Maria made a courageous appearance at the taping of Oprah's final show last night. Rumor has it that Oprah wants Maria to host a show on OWN, and considering Maria's TV experience it could be a good fit. Plus, Maria was the first person to guest edit O last April, so we know these two are tight.
- Hold regular women's conferences: Over her two terms as first lady, Maria Shriver held the impressive Women's Conference each year, bringing together all types of women with the hopes of inspiring, educating, and empowering them. The conferences were huge successes, and thanks to Maria's celebrity and political ties she was able to convene an impressive list of speakers, like Michelle Obama, Jessica Simpson, and of course, Oprah. Considering she's built up a conference following and brand and has a team well-versed in the logistics, it would be amazing to see Maria continue to provide this uplifting opportunity for women.
I wouldn't be surprised if a woman like Maria took on a combination of all this! What do you hope Maria will take on next?