Womenfolk. There’s a lot expected of us.
We strive to be mega-blends of Martha Stewart + Pam Anderson + Sheryl Sandberg. And tackle cultural labels of “what a woman should be” AND deal with a myriad of gender gap & social issues.
In the thick of it, I think us women forget how remarkable and extraordinary we truly are.
How strong, resilient and beautiful we really are.
There might be a million voices that tell you who you should be; but YOU get to decide who you want to be. And how you want to live. And what you want to do. YOU get to choose. Decide. Say. Think. Feel and express yourself, as you are. Isn’t that what freedom is, after all: being able to find and carve your own answers?
Here are 25 beautiful, amazing, extraordinary women who’ve done just that. These ladies got serious Mojo & inspire us to go find ours.
If I could tell every woman in the world just one thing, it would be this: You are extraordinary and amazing. Don’t let anyone tell you or make you feel otherwise.
ROSA PARKS, AKA The Brave One. Civil Rights activist, who simply wanted to get home.
“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.”
J.K. ROWLING, AKA The Magical One. One does not simply create Harry Potter (while being a single mum on welfare) & then not make it on this list.
“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”
OPRAH WINFREY, AKA The ‘She’s-pretty-close-to-God’. Legendary talk show host, philanthropist, businesswoman & billionaire.
“Go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground”
ANNE FRANK, AKA The Wise One. 14 year old author of ‘Diary of Anne Frank’, her personal diary while in hiding during the Holocaust.
“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”
AMELIA EARHEART, AKA The Fearless Flyer. Aviator, one of the first to fly across the Atlantic.
“Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.”
JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBERG – RBG, AKA Champion of Women’s Rights. Supreme Court Justice.
“Feminism … I think the simplest explanation, and one that captures the idea, is a song that Marlo Thomas sang, ‘Free to be You and Me.’ Free to be, if you were a girl—doctor, lawyer, Indian chief. Anything you want to be. And if you’re a boy, and you like teaching, you like nursing, you would like to have a doll, that’s OK too. That notion that we should each be free to develop our own talents, whatever they may be, and not be held back by artificial barriers—manmade barriers, certainly not heaven sent.”
PRINCESS DIANA, AKA Queen of Hearts. Defied the royal rulebook to just be herself.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve.”
MAYA ANGELOU, AKA Lyrical Empress. Lived through a tumultuous childhood, extreme poverty, racism, abuse and went on to become one of the world’s most celebrated poets.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
MALALA YOUSAFZAI, AKA The Coolest 17 year old. Nobel Peace Prize winner, took a bullet to the head from the Taliban, for insisting she wanted to go to school.
“If he [the Talib] comes, what would you do Malala? …If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there will be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others…with cruelty…you must fight others but through peace, through dialogue and through education…then I’ll tell him [the Talib] how important education is and that I even want education for your children as well… that’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.” –In a Daily Show interview. Yousafzai’s comments left Jon Stewart speechless, and prompted him to ask if he could adopt her.”
ANGELINA JOLIE, AKA The Boss. Humanitarian, Director, who could’ve have had an easy life as Hollywood elite, but chose to be more than that.
“I’m looking very much forward to growing older. I want to be an exhausted older woman but with a very full life behind me and one still going.”
HEDY LAMARR, AKA The Inventor & Reason for saying “yo, what’s your Wi-Fi password?”. Girlfriend here patented the design which went on to be used to create WiFi & Bluetooth technology. Oh, and she did the Hollywood thing too, just for kicks.
“Because you don’t live near a bakery doesn’t mean you have to go without cheesecake.”
TINA FEY, AKA The Keep It Real Dudette. Brainchilds include “Mean Girls”, 30 Rock, SNL weekend updates & that Sara Palin impression.
“You can’t be that kid at the top of the water slide, overthinking it. You gotta go down the chute.”
BEYONCE, AKA The Flawless One. Worshipped by members of the “Bey-hive”, rightfully, as Queen Bey. Have you seen the “Formation” video yet? Ohh….bey-have! #fierce
”When you love and accept yourself, when you know who really cares about you, and when you learn from your mistakes, then you stop caring about what people who don’t know you think.”
SHERYL SANDBERG, AKA Silicon Valley C-Suite Elite. Lean In Pioneer & the reason for turning around Facebook’s revenue stream.
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
MARIE CURIE, AKA The Science Wiz. The first person to win a nobel prize in both physics & chemistry. You know what chicks wore back in the 18th century? Corsets & an unnecessary amount of layers, while being raised to be high-society “proper” ladies. Meanwhile, girlfriend here discovered radium, polonium & radioactivity. Having the smarts & the courage to pursue them and help the world through science: THAT’s a proper lady, thank you very much.
“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”
SUNITA WILLIAMS AKA The First Space Marathoner (for real. Ran a marathon…in Space). Record holder of most spacewalks (7) & longest spacewalk time by a woman (>50 mins). Coolness level: well, out of this world.
“You want to make sure that when you leave, you feel at peace with everything.”
LISA LING, AKA Journalist extraordinaire. Lisa interviews folks caught in the crossfire (drug wars, civil wars, human rights violations), from Columbia, Ghana, North Korea. You see a face, a person who is like your family or friends, behind those conflicts… and realize, maybe you’re not so different after all. How would you go through life, if you were born in another part of the world?
“Refrain from being so judgmental. You’ll often be surprised on what people have to offer”
SUSHMITA SEN, AKA The ‘Sen’sation. (feeling very proud of this pun, hehe). Former Miss Universe and “#IDGAF traditional Indian society, I will live my best life” Queen. Proud single mother of 2 adopted daughters.
“Things happen to people who believe. If you believe something long enough, it becomes fact.”
RHONDA ROUSEY, AKA Professional Ass-Kicker. You do not want to mess with her.
“Most people focus on the wrong thing: They focus on the result, not the process. The process is the sacrifice; it’s all the hard parts–the sweat, the pain, the tears, the losses. You make the sacrifices anyway. You learn to enjoy them, or at least embrace them. In the end, it is the sacrifices that must fulfill you.”
GLAMAZON ENTERPRENEURS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST. Life as a woman in the middle east can be challenging, in some of these countries women do not have the right to drive, vote and in general, express themselves. So imagine the kind of chutzpah it takes to express your individuality, point of view, be competitive & channel fierce in the world of fashion. These Arab fashionistas are as brave & inspiring, as they are beautiful.
JANE GOODALL AKA Animal Rights Activist & UN Messenger of Peace. Seriously, that’s a title. Listen, she’s got street cred with chimpanzees…and they can be a tough crowd!
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
AMY SCHUMER, AKA Flawless-er than Beyonce. No Amy, I didn’t mean you are any less flawless. Oh dear, I’m going to stop now. This woman can make you laugh till you cry…and make you laugh even when you’re crying.
“Nothing good ever happens in a blackout. I’ve never woken up and been like, ‘What is this Pilates mat doing out?”
Hermione Granger, Katniss Everdeen, Matilda, Nancy Drew and every other butt-kicking children’s book heroines. Because bad-ass comes in all flavors.
“Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.” – Hermione Granger, insisting on saying Voldemort vs. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
KACY CATANZARO, American Ninja Warrior. Trust me, watch the video.
“I did it!”
OUR MOMS & GRANDMOMS. For all the amazing things that Moms & grandmas are! Don’t know how you did it all, but you inspire us everyday.
“Don’t forget what I told you!”
Who Inspires You?
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Also published on Medium.