Women That Inspire Us
Happy International Women's Day! This year we reached out to our team and readers and asked them which women inspire them. Some wrote about people in their every day lives, while others wrote about artists, actresses and activists. We've also compiled a playlist full of empowering songs by our favorite female artists.
"Yara Shahidi is most known for her acting, her unique fashion, and of course - her activism. Yara only just turned 18, less than a month ago, but has already launched an entire platform, EighteenX18, which focuses on encouraging our generation to use their voices by speaking out and voting. Yara’s platform is increasingly growing by day, and I look forward to seeing what else she does with it."
-Ramisha Sattar | Dallas, TX
"Brie Larson is so much more than an Oscar winning actress - she has always been a strong activist for women overall. In today’s climate in Hollywood, Brie has stood out by putting those in unequal opportunities voices first. Brie Larson was one of the main founders of the TIMES UP movement, in my opinion one of the most important philanthropic outreaches yet. She has also used her platform on social media to help those in financial need be able to see great films that showcase diversity such as Black Panther and A Wrinkle In Time. It’s incredibly inspiring to see someone use their fame to spotlight those whose voices haven’t been heard. I continue to admire Brie’s talents, but even more so, the person that she is."
-Maya Chandler Barksdale | Dallas, TX
"Emma Gonzalez is an advocate for gun control and a survivor of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. She gave a beautiful speech explaining her views on gun reform and the bizarreness of the lack of change we’ve received. Emma Gonzalez nearly challenges Trump and the NRA to change their mindset on gun reform during her speech."
-Chloe Pope | Lubbock, TX
"One of my biggest role models, since I was very young, is Demi Lovato. She has shown me what it’s like to go to hell and back and still be okay … to have everything, then to lose it all but still come out strong … to come out a survivor. She really has become my definition of a strong and powerful woman."
-Krissy Nunis | Dallas, TX
"Growing up my mother did not allow me to watch Disney princess movies because of their body shaming, sexist, heteronormative messages. At the time I hated this rule, I wanted to be like my friends and didn't see what the big deal was anyway. After all, couldn't Ariel from "The Little Mermaid" just learn Sign Language? However, now I couldn't be more grateful to have such an incredible role model who instilled the power of my voice in me from such a young age. My mom has taught me how to laugh in even the darkest of situations, carry myself with grace through whatever storms I face, and the importance of compassion."
-Shira Strongin | Washington, DC
"On the plane back home, I watched a documentary about Gloria Allred and cried my eyes out— not just because of the amazing things she’s done, but because of her perseverance. She’s a civil rights lawyer who was divorced in her twenties, sexually assaulted and had an abortion BEFORE Roe v. Wade, and still put herself (and her daughter) through law school, empowered minorities before it was popular, defended women in numerous discrimination cases, instigated the investigation into Bill Cosby and defended the victims, helped eliminate the statute of limitations for rape cases in California, and is just a general HBIC! It may be the future lawyer in me talking, but to me, the definition of a phenomenal woman is just like Gloria: the woman who fights for all women— LGBTQ+ women, WOC, trans women, disabled women, etc., and can rock a pantsuit while doing it."
-Calista Ginn | Nashville, TN
Claire Elise Boucher (Grimes)
"I have spent most of my life giving entirely too much of a shit. About just about everything. And with that in mind, it has always been important for me to look toward and up to people who seem to embody everything I want to be - absolutely carefree, dedicated to their own happiness and self as opposed to meaningless crap and whatever other people want. For much of my life, music has been an outlet in so many different respects and finding artists that resonate with me has been such a significant experience. Grimes has consistently been one of those stand - out creatives.
To me, seeing Grimes flourish and continue to do whatever she wants to has always inspired me. Recently, she has been incredibly outspoken via social media about how utterly flawed and hierarchal the music industry has been and remains today, making it especially hard for women, especially those who are independent, to do what they want to with their careers. Her audacity to not only speak out, but also also remain persistent in being true to herself and her desired image of what she wants her craft to be is SO telling. I remember hearing “Oblivion” for the first time and being immediately entranced by her spirit, and that continues to shine through whether she’s dancing around a crowded motocross arena or, like in the video for one of my personal favorite tracks from her latest LP (Art Angels), “Flesh without Blood,” embodying an angelic cowboy prancing around an exquisite mansion.
In many different forms of media, women have been shut out and people have attempted to silence their creativity and vision and yet, Grimes takes the music industry by the reigns unapologetically and that inspires me greatly."
-Erin Christie | Boston, MA
"One of the most inspiring women in my life is My Mami. Ever since she was young, she has motivated numerous people through her positive energy, kindness, and hard work. She's one of the strongest people I know not only because she raises, takes care, and puts my brother and me before herself, but also because she's lived through so much - from living all by herself away from family in a tiny city in Mexico to moving to a different country. Moving to a different country was extremely difficult for her because she didn't speak the language or know anyone, but she was able to gain courage and use it to serve and help others. My aspiration is not only to be as strong and inspiring as she is, but to have the extremely warm, obliging, and caring heart she has."
-Clareth Mota | Dallas, TX
"Patti Smith is easily one of my biggest inspirations, not only because she is a powerful woman in punk music, but because she defies all standards set by society for women in general. For me, as a blossoming female musician, her album Horses was cardinal to my own growth and self realization. Patti Smith was a crucial figure in my formative years, and to me she will continue to define what it means to be a strong woman."
-Brooke Beck | Dallas, TX
"A woman who inspires me everyday is Lupita Nyong’o. Her 2014 Oscar speech after winning Best Supporting Actress in 12 Years a Slave, gave me chills. She speaks up for what she believes is right - such as her Weinstein sexual harassment story. Along with this she believes in using her platform for change - understanding that she has the opportunity to make people listen with the fan base she has. She has worked with many different charities, and spoken out about things that many keep silent about. If you haven’t looked into all the work Lupita has done for both the POC community and feminism you should definitely take the time to look."
-Caitlin Ferguson | Nashville, TN
"Tavi Gevinson has served as a personal inspiration for me as an aspiring journalist since I purchased the first Rookie Yearbook in middle school. Tavi created a foundation in her career when she was only just a teen starting with Rookie and built herself up exponentially each year to present day where she is now a renowned actress and has published several more yearbooks along with Rookie On Love. In addition, Rookie is now an extremely popular widespread publication that influences teens all over the world; I love how it is an outlet for teens to contribute to the publication itself making it relatable and authentic to young girls. Personally Tavi proves to me how journalism is not dead and if you have a vision and work hard towards building and creating that idea you can make it into a successful reality. Tavi is a powerful woman in today’s society and an admirable role model for many girls, because she uses her platform to spread advocacy, and provide advice to curate to the smart, confident, strong, independent minded girls of the future generation. "
-Mica Kendall | Boston, MA