Saturday, May 9, 2009

Women I Admire

I don't know if I necessarily believe in heroes- at least, not for myself. We are all human, and we all have the ability to be extraordinary at times as well as make giant asses out of ourselves at others. For me, the latter is normally done after an abundance of wine. But I digress.

I do, however, believe that extraordinary people should be commended. In a world where so many are satisfied with being average, with dealing with what they're dealt, and complaining without making a difference or making any effort to change, it's amazing to see the things that some people do. These people have drive. Failure isn't an option for them.

Although we've come a long way and have many opportunities in life that our ancestors never did, I still believe that, in general, women have to work harder. There are still a lot of douche bags out there who don't take women as seriously and, like it or not, our gender still makes less money in the corporate world. That means that a successful woman is the equivelent of two successful men... ok, maybe 1.5. Still, it's hard not to respect a woman who works her way up from nothing and ends up a success story.

It's no secret that I aspire to be such a success story. I want to write novels that people want to read. I want people to look forward to my magazine articles. I want to educate, inform, and inspire. I want to give back. I want to leave the world a better place.

When I think of my personal inspiration- women who have helped make my dreams possible or just women who rock in general- a lot of famous names come to mind. However, as far as living, breathing, current celebrities go, the following women absolutely top the very top of my list. I admire them for different reasons, but it all comes down to one thing: passion. They have a passion and they learned how to make it work for them. They are living their dream- because, after all, they deserve it. Don't we all? They are, without a doubt, the closest thing I have to heroes.

Here are some women I strongly admire and the reasons why:

Oprah Winfrey

I know, I know. The fact that I admire this woman makes me a total statistic and about as unoriginal as it gets. But I can't exclude Oprah from my list. She is the definition of a success story. She was raised by a poor single mother and used to wear dresses made of potato sacks. Now, she's the first African American billionaire and wears dresses made by whoever the hell she wants. She got there by doing what she loves.

Oprah is the most philanthropic African American of all time. Not only does she do those famous giveaways on her show, but she's got more charities than I have pairs of shoes. She also has the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academeny for Girls, a boarding school in South Africa that provides educational and leadership opportunities for academically gifted girls with impoverished backgrounds. Also, have you SEEN her show? If her "Best Life Week" in January didn't inspire you to improve your life, there's something wrong with you. Oprah is an amazing woman and an inspiration to us all.


Ellen Degeneres

Honestly, I don't know how anyone could NOT love Ellen. She's hysterical without being condescending or degrading, she's obviously one of the nicest people alive, and how cute is she when she dances on her show every morning?

I've always considered myself one of those "straight, but not narrow" types. Gay rights are something I'm fiercely passionate about and will argue to the death over. I hope to further educate people on this topic through my writing because, unfortunately, there's still a lot of ignorance out there.

The world was even more ignorant in the '90's, and Ellen changed that in 1997 by coming out- both on her sitcom and in real life. Many brave homosexuals had publicly come out before, but Ellen's was huge. The world saw her as a person first and a lesbian second. It caused a lot of people to think and to realize that, other than what goes on behind closed doors, people like Ellen are no different than others.

Not only is she brave, she's kind. The woman had John McCain on her show during the 2008 campaign, and even when he blatantly told her that he didn't support her lifestyle, she was sweet and respectful. I can only hope that I can hold it together that well one day- because I certainly can't now. Even John McCain was won over by her charms, wishing her and Portia "all the happiness in the world." It's too bad his actions don't back up his words.

Without a doubt, Ellen paved the way for gay people everywhere and inspired millions to stop living a lie. She helped people realize that it was OK for them to be who they really were. For that, she has my highest respect and admiration. I'm proud to share the sign of Aquarius with her. Also, it makes me happy that she has a gorgeous, obviously supportive wife. If that's not a happy ending, I don't know what is.

Jenny McCarthy

I still remember the first time I saw her. She was the new beautiful blond host of MTV's Singled Out. She was tiny, busty, beautiful, and funny. I was 14, chubby, pasty, and had frizzy hair. I'm not going to lie. I totally wanted to BE her.

These days, I still do, but not because of her beauty- although she's still got it, for sure. I admire the fact that, although there's certainly nothing wrong with bombshells, she has proven herself to be so much more. Her first book, "Belly Laughs," has been praised by pregnant women everywhere. She has starred in some seriously hilarious TV shows and movies. Although "Dirty Love" got bad publicity and won her some "Razzle" awards, anyone with a real sense of humor (and a vagina) finds it hilarious. My girlfriends and I can't watch that movie without practically peeing our pants. Her ability to laugh at herself- and at women's issues- astounds me.

Best of all, the woman has done amazing things for Autism awareness. Her son has the disease, and she has made it her top priority to educate women on Autism prevention and raising children with Autism. Check out her organization, The fact that she does so much in hopes that Autism can one day be wiped out all together puts her permenantly on my Awesome list.


Taylor Swift

Nineteen. This girl is nineteen. I have to remind myself of that every time I turn on the radio and hear one of her incredible songs- songs that she wrote herself, probably before she was even legal to vote. I admire a chick who has her shit so together at nineteen. I certainly didn't!

Since her first single, "Tim McGraw," peaked at #6 on the Billboard Country Charts in 2006, the world hasn't been able to get enough Taylor. She was the biggest selling artist of 2008. In February, she became the youngest country singer to appear on SNL as a musical guest. Her concerts sell out like crazy. There's a rumor that the show she's doing in my town- which, thankfully, I will be attending- sold out in fifteen minutes.

The real reason I admire her, though, other than the obvious, is the fact that she's rumored to be incredibly nice and respectful. I read in SELF magazine that when she did her photo shoot for the cover, she remembered names and exchanged email addresses with the crew. You just don't find that kind of down to Earth personality in celebreties- especially young ones! All that fame typically goes to their head, but clearly, not with this girl. When I attend her show next week, I'm going to scream louder than any teeny bopper there. This chick is awesome, and she deserves to know it.

Tina Fey

This woman is the absolute definition of beauty & brains. She has it all- talent, intelligence, self-depreciating humor only she can pull off, and did you see her pictures in Vanity Fair? She cleans up NICE.

Everything that has this woman's name on it, I love. I love Mean Girls, Baby Mama, 30 Rock, and her classic Weekend Updates on SNL. By the way, Tina Fey was the first woman to be a head writer on SNL in 1999. It's a little known fact because she doesn't brag about it- in fact, she downplays it by mentioning that there haven't been that many head writers. While her humble attitude is impressive, it's not necessary. We totally know how incredible she is. She's not fooling anyone. God, I love this woman. I hope she never stops writing.

6) Elizabeth Gilbert (Sorry, I couldn't find a picture. Check out to see her pretty, wise face).

What would you do if you found yourself in the midst of a nasty divorce with a bout of severe depression with your world crumbling around you? Would you become an alcoholic? Turn to drugs? Become one of those miserable people nobody wants to be around?

Elizabeth Gilbert took a year-long emotional and spiritual journey to three different countries, immersed herself in the culture, confronted her demons and healed herself. Then, she wrote a book about it- a book which inspired the hell out of millions, myself included. That book was Eat, Pray, Love, and became somewhat of a Bible for my best friend and me.

Her words are so powerful, her emotion so real, you feel like you're on her journey with her. When it's over, you can finally let out the breath you've been holding and take a good look at your own life to see what needs fixing and what needs nourishing. Then you're disappointed, because you want more. Fortunately, Eat, Pray, Love, is just one of many things this wonderful woman has written.

I admire any woman who can bounce back from tragedy with such a vengence. And as an aspiring writer, I admire her for encouraging people like me to "take on this work like a holy calling." I certainly will. And if I become half the writer that Elizabeth has proven herself to be, I will consider myself a success story.


Sarah Elizabeth said...

Hooray! I can comment on your blogs now! Fantastic post and so true!

I <3 Jenny.

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