If there is one female TV character that every girl should look up to, it's Olivia Benson. The crime-fighting superhero — because not all superheroes wear capes — lays down the law but also shares words of wisdom that we should all live by on practically every episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Trust us, we've seen them all twice.
In honor of Mariska Hargitay's 54th birthday, we are looking back at her most powerful — and badass — quotes on the police procedural. And now, more than ever, her words are inspirational and insightful. Nearly two decades since it's premiere, Mariska continues to bring to the small screen Olivia's compassion, but also her "I am woman, hear me roar" attitude.
"I'm still here because it's still challenging and interesting to me. I feel like we keep going deeper and mining out these new places. After 12 years [of doing SVU], I thought, 'What are we going to do after 12 years?' It was such an education for me because I had no idea,'" Mariska said in 2016 of her iconic role. "It's very exciting to me… and it still feels utterly fresh."
That's not to say, Olivia's backstory is not without its challenges. The daughter of an alcoholic mother and an abuse victim herself, Olivia can relate to the victims she encounters episode after episode on the NBC drama — but is proof what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Or in the words of Olivia herself, "We’re all branded I guess. By our parents, our childhoods."
We shouldn't be surprised Olivia continues to be our girl crush and daily inspo — there is a reason Taylor Swift named one of her cats after her. Keep scrolling for even more kick-a– Olivia Benson quotes!