Here’s to Strong Women. May we be them, may we know them, may we raise them!
In honour of International Women’s Day, I didn’t just want to share this piece with you, I needed to. Women are the future! I have so many women that I look up to, especially for inspirational quotes. I could have written another ten thousand words on this, ten times over. In the interest of keeping it sweet (sorry, it’s not short by any means), here is a list of the 10 women who are currently inspiring me as a woman. I’ve included an inspirational quote from each person, what the quote means to me, and why each woman deserves to be on my list.
Helen – My Mum!
She always taught me that whatever I am doing, do my own best at it. Don’t compare myself to anyone else, but put your all into the things you care about!
My mum is my rock. She’s my best friend, confidante, boost when I’m down and ego curber when I get carried away. There’s nothing in the world I can’t talk to her about, and she’s probably the only person on the planet on my wavelength. She gets just as upset about the injustices of the world as I do, as well as getting just as excited about a new gin the way I do. We have had to work at our relationship to get to where we are, and will continue to do so. I am so blessed to have such a smart, empowering, funny, kind, hard working, non-judgemental, all round wonderful woman to lead me through life! My mumma loves life quotes as much as I do!
M – My Girlfriend
I am the best at what I do, and I’m proud of it!
Most days, I can’t even find the words to describe her. She is funny, kind, smart, absolutely ridiculously beautiful, hard working, motivational, supportive… I could list 100 more adjectives and it wouldn’t be enough. She runs a million pound business without batting an eyelid. She’s an amazing chef. She’ll give the clothes off her back to see someone else be warm. She’ll run around for 12 hours at work and still come home and hold me whilst I cry. She’s bold, brave and determined. She won’t spout inspirational quotes at me but she’s made me see a future beyond next week. I live every day totally in awe of her.
Sometimes life cuts you down, learn from your mistakes, from the wrongs in the world; absorb that negative energy into you and use it to fuel your next success!
Oprah Winfrey isn’t just a woman, she’s a phenomenon. She rose from birth in a poverty stricken family to being worth over $2billion dollars and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her media prowess is second to none. Her entrepreneurial spirit, grit and determination are awe-inspiring. But the item that has put Oprah into this post is one of the many things she does to progress women in the world – her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. The college came as an idea from her and Nelson Mandela and she ran all the way with it. The school is for girls who come for poor backgrounds but whose minds are rich and ambitions are high. I bet they are taught many strong women quotes too. The first graduating class members have moved onto universities all over the world! Also check out her Super Soul Conversations podcast, it’s just bloody brilliant.
Life is tough. Not everything will turn out gold. But those moments that do, embrace them!
She may look like a sweet southern belle, but don’t let her demeanour lead you to think she is anything less than a beast! With 27 industry awards (and a further 48 nominations) under her belt, she’s taken the world of movies by storm since a young age. She juggles work, husband, religion, and friends, alongside motherhood and its intricacies, growing little humans into fantastic young people. She also founded and runs a clothing and lifestyle brand, Draper James, all of which is affordable and authentic to her personality. She also has her company, Type A Films, which bought us Gone Girl and Wild. Her movies are full of empowering quotes that I doubt she even realised the potential impact of. Reese realised that there are not enough diverse or positive roles for women in the industry, so she founded a production company and decided to make the films and programmes herself. She brought us Big Little Lies, and is offering us the adaptation of Eleanor Oliphant. Her work with the #TimesUp campaign, alongside Save The Children, the Children Defence Fund, and being an Avon ambassador, adds the sparkle to her already shining star!
Talking about change isn’t enough. We must speak up, we must practice what we preach, and we must stand in solidarity against the things that hold us back.
Lena is 2018’s rising star and couldn’t be more deserving. She’s best known for her role in Master of None, winning an Emmy for her writing in the show, the first black woman to do so. She’s also created the new series The Chi which is looking to be the talking point of TV for summer 2018. My reasoning for adding Lena to my list is her sheer determination to succeed and overcome all the adversity stacked against her. Being gay, black and female, there are so many chances for the industry she works in to typecast her to low level roles. She’s smashing through those glass ceilings, speaking her mind and following her dreams. There’s hope for all the young, queer, black girls out there looking for an inspirational woman and she’s their shining light!
As I grow older, I learn from my life and it frees me from my past, letting me move to my future
Alicia Keys has been my musical idol since I got her first album when I was 14. It’s an album that has got me through many tough times. I’ve sung teary through “Caged Bird” more times than I care to remember. All her albums resonate with me in some way. None of her music sounds like anyone else, and she doesn’t care. She makes the music she does because it makes her happy; she is a strong woman and sings the truth of what is her life at the time. Her amazing music, her conquering motherhood with elegance and grace, refusal to wear makeup any longer aside, it’s her Alicia’s philanthropy that speaks to me in this list. She is co-founder and ambassador of the Keep a Child Alive foundation. She’s been passionate about educating people in Africa about Aids & HIV since a young age when she lost a close family friend to the disease. Alicia also actively participates in direct action in protests relating to educational budget cuts, war, racism, indigenous rights and women’s rights alongside her annual Keep a Child Alive ball.
Being a woman is an honour. The ability to produce life, complete the challenges we do, mother, nature, lead, with elegance and gentleness is incomparable.
Clearly I don’t need to explain why mother Maya (as Oprah calls her) is on the list but I feel like she deserves every great word written about her. She is generally defined as poet, singer, writer, and civil rights activist but she is so much more than that. She is a mother to a son, and adoptive mother to many more. She’s been a writer, director and producer. She was a professor at a college. She was a journalist in Ghana. She’s worked with Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jnr on the civil rights movements. She has spoken out for black people too afraid to use their own voice. She has fought back on behalf of all women who have ever been victims of violent or sexual assault. She overcame poverty to grow to wealth. Her writing is basically a catalogue of inspirational sayings. She’s received over 50 honorate doctorate degrees, alongside the Presidential Medal of Freedom. All of this, with the calm, style, grace and power of the Goddess that she is, mother Maya will live on to be an inspiration for centuries!
Being nice to other people really makes a change. Making a person laugh can change the course of their day, their life, and the world.
Everyone knows and loves Ellen, fact. She has evolved with the times. She started with a stand up career in the 80s. Now she’s hosting her own international chat show now. She came out on a TV show in a time where it was not fashionable, cool, or “normal” to be out and actually proud. Another unstoppable entrepreneur, Ellen has gone to grow her several brands, building an empire beyond her published writing, comprising a a production company and a record company. She spearheads AfterEllen.com, a website for the LGBT+ community focusing on queer issues in the society, highlighting all negative and positive portrayals of queer people in the media. She’s won 30 Emmys and 20 People’s choice awards. She is one of the most decorated hosts and producers in the world. She may not be the epitome of women empowerment but for me, Ellen has made it to this list because of the same reason she has made it big – her mouth. Ellen is not afraid to say what she thinks. She may soften the blow of the blunt words behind humour. However, she addresses every topic that needs addressing, loud, proud and without apology.
I am a LOT. I am apologetically loud, opinionated and strong minded. Not everyone can cope with that and that’s their problem, not mine.
For me, the crux of the women’s rights movements, is to empower women. I think that has to start with Self. I spend as much time as every other woman beating myself up. I’m too loud, too tired, too lazy. Too brash, too fat, my skin is bad. I’m not a director, I don’t save the world. But actually, do you know what? I am fucking AWESOME. I am SMART. I am KIND. I am FUNNY. I am HONEST. I work HARD. I LOVE intensely. I deserve to be HAPPY.
I’m not perfect. I never will be. I do spend my days, trying to be good, make the world a better place, make people smile. So it’s taken me a long time (30 years so far) to figure it out. To love myself is the path to loving other people, and love life. It will be a hard path, and I have a lot to work on but, right now, I LOVE ME!
Betty Irene – My Nana
Treat people the way you want to be treated! Respect everyone if you want to be respected. No one person is superior to another!
I was lucky enough as a child to have my nan living with us growing up. She and I had a special bond over musical films and cake. I remember even thinking doing the washing up was fun with her! She survived a divorce in a time it was till taboo, raised 2 kids, 4 grandkids, played football in the garden with my brother in her sixties, whilst waiting for the cake she and I had baked to cool. I try every day to make her proud, and I know if she were still alive, she would just be glad that I’m happy.
Please, please, please, today, do something to recognise your own self worth.
Please comment with any women who inspire you, and why!