In this day and age, we hear about the power and impact women have now more than ever. Women are making a difference worldwide and across different areas from sports to entertainment to writing and more, providing great role models for women and girls of all ages.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we’ve each selected women we look up and highlighted their achievements and qualities that make them admirable.
After starring in the Netflix hit movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before—based on the book of the same name by Jenny Han, Condor quickly rose to fame. Although she’s relatively new to Hollywood as TATBILB was her first starring role, she’s already shown qualities and spoken about issues she’s passionate about that make her someone anyone can admire.
In the many interviews she’s done since TATBILB became one of Netflix’s most successful original movies, she’s mentioned many times that being in a rom-com was one of her dreams as an actress, but she “wrote it off” because she’d never come across anyone who asked for an Asian-American rom-com lead. However, she found the opportunity she’d been looking and hoping for by starring in TATBILB. Since then, she’s used her newfound fame to advocate for representation in Hollywood and the media.
If you follow Condor on Instagram, you know she loves food, which may come as a surprise to some considering she recently revealed that she has a history with eating disorders and body dysmorphia. But if you know she was a classically trained dancer before acting, then it may not be a surprise. She no longer condemns her relationship with food and has chosen to celebrate it, saying “it’s time to give people comfort. You have to eat. You have to stop thinking that a certain body shape is ideal, because it’s not.” In a world that’s trying to promote more body positivity and acceptance of mental illness, it’s great to see Condor be open and honest about her past and encourage others to take care of themselves and not strive to look how others say you should. Now, she’s been on the cover of Cosmopolitan, where she was literally eating pizza. So not only is she commendable for raising awareness about eating disorders, she’s also relatable. And it’s nice to know that the famous people we look up really are just like everyone else.
Abby DePhillips is an up-and-coming theatre producer in New York. The 2014 Miss Teen United States, she originally aspired to be a performer, having attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy before leaving because of health issues. After helping with the first-ever Broadway Princess Party, she realized she no longer desired to be on the stage; she wanted to help create what happened on it. That was four years ago. Now, DePhillips’s dreams are a reality. She has co-created and co-produced the clever, hit concert show Pronoun Showdown, which features Broadway songs and other popular songs with reversed pronouns, at Manhattan’s famous Feinstein’s/54 Below. Most recently, she partook in bringing her favorite musical back, co-producing “54 Sings Legally Blonde”: a show in which various Broadway stars performed a concert version of Legally Blonde: The Musical.
DePhillips is our age, but she’s already making a name for herself in a competitive industry. What’s crazy is she started out similarly to many theatre fans: as a fan. She watched Broadway shows and stage-doored to meet her favorite performers, and now she not only works with many of them, but she happens to be friends with them, too! It’s inspiring to see her succeed so young. Not to mention she’s so affable, determined, kind, and relatable. She preaches kindness, loves doughnuts and Disney, and is a super supportive of her friends. She has even spoken about her past struggle with depression, sharing her story to let others know they are not alone. DePhillips is basically the friend we all want to have, which is the most admirable thing about her.
Christy Harrison is an important name in the eating disorder world, and if you haven’t heard of her, you should learn more about her and her work. She is the host of a fantastic podcast called “Food Psych” in which she interviews different expert guests in the field about eating disorders, intuitive eating, and the concept of health at every size. The show offers a wealth of resources for people who may be struggling in their relationship with food or body image. Harrison is incredibly knowledgeable, well-spoken, and thorough.
View this post on Instagram
I call diet culture The Life Thief because it steals our time, energy, money, health, happiness, and LIFE. Diet culture creates this illusion that there's a "perfect" and "right" way of eating, and that if we all just ate that way, then the rest of our lives would magically fall into place. This is how diet culture keeps us spinning our wheels on matters of food and nutrition instead of attending to all the *truly* important things in our lives. – Here's the truth: The world's not going to end because of what or how much you eat. Barring serious anaphylactic allergies (e.g. peanut allergy), your individual food choices are NOT matters of life and death. This idea of "perfect" eating is just another way our society tries to silence us and get us to conform, to make us gaze at our navels/plates so that we miss the big, important things going on around us. When we give up the fantasy of "perfect" eating leading to a "perfect" life, it gives us the power to take back what is rightfully ours from diet culture. – Quote by @v_solesmith, caption by @chr1styharrison 😄If you want to hear more about HAES, intuitive eating, and body liberation, click the link in my bio to subscribe to Food Psych today! – And if you’re ready for a deeper dive into all things anti-diet, come check out my intuitive eating online course at christyharrison.com/course ❤️ – [Image description: A slice of pizza on a white background with pizza crumbs, with quote by Virginia Sole-Smith from episode 172 of Food Psych® Podcast, reading “There's no perfect eating.”] – #haes #intuitiveeating #edrecovery #antidietproject #antidiet #riotsnotdiets #effyourbeautystandards #losehatenotweight #lifebeyonddieting #thelifethief #selfcarenotselfcontrol #balancednotclean #foodisfuel #prorecovery #bodyposi #bodypositive #bopo #foodpsychpod #foodpsych #feminism #healthateverysize #nourishnotpunish
As an anti-diet dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor, she not only has an abundance of studies, evidence, and anecdotes to back her up, but she also has a lot of first hand experience with helping people recover and truly live a healthy life. Not only does she run the podcast; she also offers an online course and private intuitive eating coaching. She encourages everyone to tune into their innate food wisdom and avoid the horrible, deceptive world of diet culture. I have personally found her podcast extremely helpful in my own recovery, and encourage anyone—whether you struggle with disordered eating—to give it a listen, because as a society, we need to reframe expectations about our bodies and what it means to be healthy.
NBA fans are likely familiar with Cassidy Hubbarth. She is an NBA reporter and host for ESPN who is well-known for her work as a sideline reporter. A native of Evanston, Illinois, she attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (go Illini!) for a year before transferring to Northwestern University to graduate from the Medill School of Journalism.
Working in sports media as a woman is tough and can be discouraging, but, as someone who still aspires to work in sports one day, it’s encouraging to turn on ESPN and not only see a woman working an NBA game but a Filipino-American woman.
Growing up, I was often too caught up in the basketball game itself to notice not only the lack of women in media working but Asians, too. But, when I started dreaming of working in sports media, it was difficult to ignore. I had known Filipinos to be famous for singing or acting but not for being a sports journalist, not for what I wanted to do. So seeing Hubbarth not only make it to one of biggest names in sports media but to succeed (she just agreed to a multi-year extension with ESPN) helps keep my own hopes alive―even if I never aspire to be in front of the camera.
Chances are you’ve never heard or seen this name before unless you watch the CW TV show Riverdale, because Riverdale is her first Hollywood job. Before that, she was a student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Riverdale has definitely blown up in popularity with merchandise at Hot Topic and fan conventions happening all over the U.S., allowing Mendes to use the platform she’s been given even though she was hesitant to use it at first.
Graduating from NYU just a few years ago in 2016, fame is still relatively new to her, so when she realized she had a platform and that people look up to her, she said “there is a tremendous power to do something positive with it.” Now she isn’t afraid to speak her mind on what she’s passionate about and can just be herself on social media and in interviews―her Instagram posts aren’t all perfectly posed or edited. Mendes doesn’t want her career to be just about entertaining people by playing different characters; she wants to do something for the world and contribute something “on a larger scale.” So she speaks up about her past with eating disorders and has partnered with Project Heal to help people recover and get treatment. Last week, she posted on Instagram for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and shared how she’s stopped “obsessing over the details” of what she eats like she did in the past and when she dieted and is instead focusing on more general health things that everybody should think about, like drinking enough water and getting enough sleep.
In addition, she’s proud of who she is and where’s she from (she’s Brazilian-American as both of her parents emigrated from Brazil) and has spoken a lot about being able to play a Latina character on Riverdale, especially when her character, Veronica Lodge, wasn’t Latina in the Archie Comics the show is based on. Riverdale has given her the opportunity to play a strong female character who looks different than who she watched on TV growing up (like Summer on The O.C. or Blair on Gossip Girl) and more representative of who she is and who many other young women are. Mendes not only connects to her roots by the roles she plays but by actually incorporating it into her real life. She speaks Portuguese with her family so she can practice and connect with where she comes from, and it’s important to remember where you came from, no matter what you do or how famous you are.
Chiney Ogwumike is a professional basketball player for the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun and a full-time NBA analyst for ESPN. Drafted out of Stanford University in 2014 as the first pick, she was named Rookie of the Year and is a two-time all-star (2014, 2018). She became a full time NBA analyst last May, meaning she started those responsibilities while in-season with the WNBA. The WNBA season begins in May, lasting throughout the summer when NBA is in its offseason, so there isn’t an overlap between her work most of the time. But what she does is still very admirable, because it takes a lot of work and determination to be an elite professional athlete and to maintain that status, and she does it while dedicating her time to a full-time job. It’s also inspiring for a woman of color to take on such a coveted role.
Sports media is still very male-dominated, so it’s tough for women to make a name for themselves in it―even if you’re a professional WNBA player, because there are some people who don’t respect these women’s athletic abilities and knowledge. So for Ogwumike to dedicate herself to the sport is a level of dedication we should all aspire to.
Alexi Pappas is a popular name in the female running community. She is a Greek-American long distance athlete who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics. representing Greece in the 10K. She currently trains in California and most recently made her marathon debut in Chicago. What makes her so great is not her running accomplishments but rather the positive influence she has had on young female runners everywhere.
View this post on Instagram
instead of telling yourself don’t quit tell yourself keep going . . the past 2 days I’ve had the chance to live & train with @kiefferallie – we got lost in conversations & literally on the trails – my fav things. grateful for this new friendship . tag a bravey who you like to get *lost* with
Pappas is a writer, filmmaker, and inspiring role model that gets her message across most readily through her Instagram. Her constant uplifting poems, quotes, and stories are a continual source of light in a community that can sometimes be torn down by negative body image, overworked athletes, and destructive comparisons. While her training tips are great, what is most enjoyable about her is her bubbly personality and unfiltered glimpse into the world of a well-rounded elite runner. Not only do we get to see her miles on the track but also her close relationship with her husband, her writing efforts, and her fueling and recovery process (her homemade sourdough always looks amazing!). She aspires to be someone that people can look up to and not just another “set of legs.” Pappas is a female role model intent on making a difference, and that is exactly what the sports world needs!
Chances are you’re familiar with the classic Disney film Aladdin. But chances are you’re not familiar with Courtney Reed, Broadway’s original Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin the Musical. Not only is she a Broadway star who’s been in Mamma Mia (the stage musical―not the movie) and Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, but she’s a total girl boss. When chokers became trendy again a few years ago, she and a few of her best friends (Abby DePhillips, Teale Dvornik, and LJ Wright) started Gagged Chokers.
Gagged Chokers, as the name suggests, began as a choker brand to sell unique quality, homemade chokers. It’s grown to sell other kinds of jewelry, like normal necklaces and earrings, as well as super cute apparel. Reed may no longer be on Broadway, but her ability to run a company while maintaining her jobs as a performer (like doing concert shows) makes her a great role model. Reed has shown girls and women (and everyone really) how to be a successful multi-tasker and that being a girl boss and having a side hustle is doable, even if you’re a Broadway performer who has to do eight shows a week.
She’s hard-working, passionate, and creative. Plus, she’s got a super big heart as she has so much love for her nieces, who especially adore some of the princess-themed items from Gagged. In addition, she’s an overall wonderful person and is always so supportive of the people in her life. She often attends her friends’ shows and events and you can see her complimenting and commending her friends in her Instagram stories, like when she congratulated DePhillips on a Legally Blonde the Musical cabaret show last week.
This one goes without saying. J.K Rowling is the most well-known (and most successful!) female author of all time. After writing the famous Harry Potter series, she became the first billionaire author in history, and thus one of the most influential that has ever existed. Her fame, while relevant, is just an aside. It is Rowling’s brilliance, compassion, and desire to do good that truly puts her on this list. Her voice exists well outside the world of magic, and it is a joy to see her continue to advocate for those who don’t have one. In particular, she has been dedicated to ending poverty and improving children’s welfare, as well as fighting against multiple sclerosis (the disease that her mother suffered and eventually died from).
She is continually making people laugh, or rightfully calling them out, on her Twitter account, and also still producing novels. The themes in the Harry Potter series are timeless and very, very important. She has been an been an astounding contribution to children’s literature. Thanks for all you do, Jo!
J.K. Rowling photo credit Dan Hallman/Invision/AP | Cassidy Hubbarth photo credit ESPN | Lana Condor photo credit The Riker Brothers