I was travelling to Geneva on the 21st, so did not take part in any marches, but my Facebook and Instagram feeds were flooded with pictures of all the women and men who took to the streets to protest, and it was incredible to see so many people and inspiring placards photographed all over the world.
Female solidarity has been on my mind a lot lately, and one question I’ve pondered quite a bit is which women (outside of my own family and friends) I particularly admire and look up to as role models. I decided to narrow the list down to women who are alive today, and so here are my final Top 10 Female Role Models.
The epitome of grace and effortless Parisian style, Ines de la Fressange reminds me that true beauty is ageless. At 59, Ines continues to inspire with her flair for easy-to-wear, yet elegant clothing. Her collaborations with Uniqlo are wildly successful, proving she keeps her finger firmly on the sartorial pulse.
Queen of TV writing and producing, Shonda Rhimes is responsible for hugely successful shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder. Her book, Year of Yes, is one of the most inspiring I have read. In it, Shonda details how she overcame her fear of public speaking, lost over 100 pounds, juggles life as a single mother, as well as why she never wants to get married and how she got to dominating Thursday night prime time TV in the USA. If you are looking for a woman to remind you that anything is possible, as long as you work hard and stay true to who you are, then Shonda Rhimes is your girl.
The fitness guru reminds me to keep my own health a priority, and her exercise routines always make me feel stronger, both in body and in mind. I love that Tracy Anderson celebrates and nurtures female solidarity, and her fans carry out her message by offering supportive communities in person and on social media (just check out the #tamily hashtag on Instagram to see what I mean). Although a trainer to a seemingly endless list of celebrities, Tracy never forgets the ordinary woman, and regularly features a member of the #tamily crew in her newsletters.
The former (already greatly missed) First Lady is the embodiment of her own quote: ‘when they go low, we go high.’ Michelle Obama has shown the world how to handle the spotlight with grace and humility. An equal partner to her remarkable husband, she has become a role model for women everywhere.
It’s hard to imagine a story more like a modern day fairy tale than the Harry Potter author’s rise from an out-of-work single mum to the creator of the best-selling book series in history. If I’m having a bad day, I like to listen to her Harvard commencement speech and remind myself not to be so fearful of failure. Unsurprisingly, Rowling always has a gift for finding the right words, making her (in my opinion), the Queen of twitter, and a brilliant example of how to use social media to further your message.
Watching Ina Garten’s food show is akin to receiving a warm hug and always cheers me up whenever I have a bad cold or am feeling a bit miserable. Along with millions of others, I love Ina’s warm, sparkling personality and the way she always manages to make life feel a bit more fun (as well as delicious). Also, her marriage with Jeffrey is my ultimate #relationshipgoals. They are the sweetest couple, and their mutual respect, love and support of each other is abundantly clear.
Beyond appreciating Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as a brilliant writer, it is also her TED talks on the danger of a single story and on feminism that I return to again and again for their wisdom, humanity and truth. These incredible speeches push me to be a better person, to see the wider perspective and to take pride in being a woman, and a feminist.
Despite the recent bad news, the Nasty Gal founder’s autobiography continues to inspire me to be my own #girlboss. Sophia Amoruso’s story in initially building her brand shows how dedication, drive and trusting your gut are all qualities that will help you on the road to success.
Gretchen Rubin’s fantastic books and podcast help me both to understand myself better and to expect more from myself. The happiness and habits expert has led me to realise that I work best in the morning, that I should always strive to ‘be Miranda’ and that every individual has the capacity for transformation and growth, should they wish for it.
As the star of the American series Quantico, Priyanka Chopra is the first actress from India to play the role of a main lead character on US television. A hugely famous personality in her home country, Priyanka has an incredible number of strings to her bow: Bollywood actress, Miss India and Miss World winner, singer, film producer, philanthropist, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, gender-equality campaigner – oh, and did I mention she’s only 34? It’s women like Priyanka Chopra who remind me to dream big, work hard and seize opportunity.
I’m curious: which present-day women inspire you the most?