Our kids could use a good role model and icon -- especially our girls. These days you don’t want your kids watching television or listening to the news because of all the drama, mass shootings, and political mayhem aired on a daily basis. But there are still some celebrities who remind us that there's still hope and maybe even a positive role model -- or two -- for our kids to admire. Take a look at our list of AMAZING female role models.
Image: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com
Taylor Swift is one of the most famous country music stars to set foot into the pop/country music industries. A Grammy-award-winning singer and songwriter, who is not only a music icon, but a young philanthropist, Taylor avidly supports art, music education, and various charities: Cancer Research Institute, Children in Need, ALS Association, PETA, and Red Cross. In fact, she even has her own philanthropic organization -- the Taylor Swift Foundation. Yeah, she's also been through some pretty interesting public relationships (cue her songs: Back to December and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together), but fans continue to love her talent, hit songs, and willingness to help others.
Image: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com
Though many people know her as Kelly Kapoor in the NBC comedy sitcom The Office (from 2005-2014), there's so much more to Mindy than just her sense of humor. She's a director, comedy writer, mother, and author, and her real name is Vera Mindy Chokalingam. Fans can't get enough of her witty comebacks and sassy attitude. She's all about making people see the funny side of life and loving yourself the way you are. She's also speaks strongly against body-shamers/trolls on social media and exemplifies the idea that women of color are multi-talented and multi-dimensional. Mindy inspires all women to celebrate their talents, and her book, Why Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) is a hilarious must-read.
Image: Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com
Emma Watson started her acting career in a huge way -- stealing hearts as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movie series. Can you believe she had only acted in school plays before landing this huge role? Amazing! When she completed the J.K. Rowling series in 2011 -- with the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 -- Emma went on to become the U.N.'s Goodwill Ambassador for the HeForShe Campaign. She uses this campaign to enforce positive world change -- standing up for gender equality, social awareness, and environmental wellness.
Image: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
Veronica Roth is an American author who penned the Divergent trilogy science fiction novels -- at the age of 22. Her young adult trilogy is a collection of dystonian novels set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago with inhabitants who are divided into socio-economic fractions. It was Veronica's brilliance that created the novels and inspired the movies, and it was her determination and bravery that motivated her to go to a writer's conference and boldly submit her manuscript for the Divergent series... The rest is history.
Image: Krista Kennell / Shutterstock.com
Practically a household name (depending on the house), Oprah Winfrey is so inspirational that when she delivered a rousing speech at the 2018 Golden Globes, the auditorium rose to their feet in applause. "I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon." Her universal call to action had people talking about the possibility of her running for President of the United States in the 2020 Election. And why not... Oprah dominated the talk show circuit for decades, founded her own network and production studio (OWN), acted in brilliant films like The Color Purple, wrote numerous inspirational self-help books, and is known as the brand ambassador for Weight Watchers. Is there anything this woman can't do?
Image: JStone / Shutterstock.com
OK so we sort of mentioned her when we spoke about Emma Watson, but J.K. Rowling deserves her own section as well. Before she was an iconic writer authoring the magical Harry Potter series, the author was a single mom struggling to provide for her daughter. She even received government assistance for some years and went through many rejections before her books were finally accepted. Her resilience in spite of hardships motivated her to stay strong long enough to better her life. She went on to become the president of the Gingerbread -- a 100-year-old organization that aids single parents and their children.
J.K. was certainly no stranger to adversity. When she was 15, her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; and died a decade later. Unfortunately, she got the chance to see her daughter achieve her dream of becoming a published author. So, J.K. founded the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at the University of Edinburgh in her honor. She also gave the organization $16 million to get started and help as many people as possible. Rowling is also known for her advocation of equal rights, standing against racism, and promoting the rise of the disadvantaged. When casting for her play"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child", she cast a black actress for the role of Hermoine Granger. The decision brought her a lot of criticism from her fans, but she stood by her decision tweeting: "brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione."
Image: Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com
Mrs. Obama is the 44th First Lady of the United States and is married to Barack Obama. She is also the first African-American First Lady of the United States. She is also a lawyer, writer, university administrator, and proud mom to two teen daughters, Sasha and Malia. Michelle was more than a First Lady, she was her husband's partner. Fans of the Obamas always felt like they were seeing a couple truly in love, and their union is one that inspires Black communities. Michelle is also known for her elegance, classy fashion sense and regal demeanor. Yet, she was very down-to-earth when it came to speaking during interviews and meeting with the public. She always seems to be concerned with the welfare of the people. She volunteered often and worked beside Obama to reach the American public on important issues. She even launched a successful exercise campaign called "Let's Move" to get kids active and devoted to being health-conscious.
Image: iStock / PAN Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com
When people hear the name Angelina Jolie, they may still think of her affair with Brad Pitt while he was married to Jennifer Aniston. But when they stayed together for seven years and then got married with six children (had three children and adopted three intentional children) -- people started to warm up to Angelina again. During her Pre-Brad years, she was known as one of the most beautiful actresses in Hollywood. Her popularity went down after the Brad-Jennifer divorce but boiled over once people her enjoying married/mom life and going out of her way to help others. In fact, Angelina is perhaps more well-known now for her extensive humanitarian efforts than her acting career. She is always donating millions and traveling globally to fight for children and women's rights. She is a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Ambassador (UNHCRA)-- using her celebrity platform to meaningfully influence positive change for immigrants and refugees worldwide.
As if all that wasn't enough, in 2013, Angelina also took on cancer -- choosing to have a preventative double mastectomy in order to decrease her 87% chance of developing breast cancer due to a BRCA1 gene. She later had reconstructive surgery to replace removed breast tissue. Angelina is as fierce as the characters she plays and a wonderful mom to her kids.
Ellen DeGeneres was out and gay in the early '80s which is way before it was accepted and supported by the general public. She appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show admitting she was a lesbian in 1997 and has been an avid supporter of LGBT and human rights ever since. Many people said her career would be over for taking such a personal risk with such a controversial issue at that time, but Ellen refused to let that discourage her from living her truth. She's an actress, writer, producer, and television host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show which first aired in 2003. She started her successful career with her own sitcom Ellen which ran from 1994-1998. She then went on to make us laugh hysterically in , <emEdTV, and <emPixar animated films Finding Nemo (2003) and Finding Dory(2016).
When she's not ruling the syndicated television world, she's spending time with her wife, Portia de Rossi or generously donating her time and funds to organizations UNICEF, PETA, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, St, Jude Children's Hospital, Habitat for Humanity -- to name a few. She also launched the Small Change Campaign with actor Ben Affleck to benefit Feeding America. Ellen's most recent projects include her gorilla sanctuary in Rwanda, her game show -- Ellen's Game of Games, and her own home decor line -- ED Ellen DeGeneres Home Collections. There's nothing this woman can't do.
Image: DFree / Shutterstock.com
Amanda Stenberg blew us away in Hunger Games alongside acting powerhouse Jennifer Lawrence. When her character, the youngest and one of the only African-American characters in the movie series was murdered, it struck a cord with audiences everywhere -- especially within the Black community. It was a reminder of the senseless deaths that often plague the African-American communities, and from then on, when Amanda spoke people listened. Her acting skills continued to resonate with her audience as she moved on to socially relevant films like The Hate You Give and Where Hands Touch.
Amanda is also an advocate for women and children's rights, LGBT empowerment, and the BlackLivesMatter movement. She also encourages girls to pursue STEM classes while in school in order to increase the number of women in fields like engineering, technology, and science. In 2016, she came out as a gay woman, so Amanda promotes women (especially black women) to embrace their identity and individuality. Many fans and film critics refer to her as the voice of our generation.
Image: Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock.com
In the early's 80s, Alyssa Milano was America's sweetheart, portraying Sam (the daughter of Tony Danza) on the hit show, "Who's the Boss." She was a talented child actor who grew into adulthood on TV, often playing sex symbols and empowered women kicking butt and taking names. In 1998, she took on the role of Phoebe Halliwell on the show Charmed: a show about three sisters who are also witches who battle monsters and demons to save innocents; and never looked back. The show ended in 2006, and though Alyssa still took some acting projects here and there, she mostly decided to take time off to be with her family.
In 2017, inspired by a previous effort to influence change and promote awareness about women's rights and sexual abuse, Alyssa took to Twitter with this powerful message: "If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” The response was instant and all-encompassing. What it ignited was the MeToo Movement as we know it. Though it had previously been organized in Alabama by activist Tarana Burke, Americans were unaware and so it wasn't important to them at the time. Alyssa changed that and received worldwide support from other women who had been sexually assaulted or harassed.
It was a defining moment that pushed Alyssa further in political and social activism. Since she has also championed for immigration rights (visiting the immigrants and children savagely locked away at the Texas-Mexico border). She was front and center at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings for Supreme Court Justice, visited Parkland to fight against current gun laws that seem to perpetuate ongoing school shootings and mass killings in America, and she proposed a "sex strike" to fight restrictive abortion laws. Time Magazine named her as one of “The Silence Breakers,” She is truly a voice influencing positive change in the world.
At age 15, Malala Yousafzai's life was forever changed by the Taliban. On October 9, 2012, she was shot in the head by terrorists hoping to silence her and prevent her advocation for women's and children's rights. Miraculously, she survived extensive brain surgery which revitalized her sight and her ability to move her arms and legs. From that day on, she dedicated her life to challenging everyone to fight for independence and equality; especially the education and progression of the women and children in her native home, Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwav.
Months after the Taliban's assassination attempt, Malala gave a call-to-action speech at the United Nations on her 16th birthday. She urged them to act against poverty, terrorism, and illiteracy. She also encouraged a change in restrictive policies regarding education and women's rights. In 2014, she received the Nobel Peace Prize and is known as the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. One of her most inspirational quotes is "One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world." Her book, "I Am Malala," is an international bestseller.
Beyonce -- This uber-famous music artist is an entertainer, actress, mother, and philanthropist. When she's not getting people off their feet with her chart-topping music, she's supporting humanitarian efforts, women'sights, and the LGBT community. She donated $7 million to a Houston charity to provide "shelter, counseling, food, and health care for the homeless.
She's also founded various organizations to incite change including: the Survivor Foundation, (which she co-founded with her mother, sister, and cousin - Tina, Solange Knowles, and Kelly Rowland) to help victims of Hurricane Katrina; Chime for Change: a global campaign to raise money and promote awareness for girls and women around the world, and the BeyGOOD initiative which established a scholarship program called the Formation Scholars awards and it supports young women pursuing studies in literature, black studies, arts, and music at Black colleges. Beyonce also worked with her husband, Jay Z, to create the Shawn Carter Foundation, to provide higher education opportunities for underprivileged youth.
Marsai Martin is a name American audiences are hearing more and more of lately. After amazing glam shots, her parents decided to help her pursue a professional acting career. She landed her first commercial at age 5. Her big break came from her role, Diane Johnson in the ABC comedy series Black-ish where she starred as one of the twins to TV parents, Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross. She received three NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, Young Artist Award, a Shorty Award: Phenom Award in Entertainment, and Kidscreen Award for Best Acting.
At the age of 13, she recently starred in her first studio film with Universal Pictures -- Little. She is the youngest film executive producer in all of Hollywood history and is just getting started with other upcoming projects including 'Amari and the Night Brothers.' Not too shabby.
Image: lev radin / Shutterstock.com
Would you believe, AOC was actually a waitress and a bartender before she was an elected Congressional official? Talk about a success story! At only 29, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress. She is a renowned politician and activist who serves as the U.S. Democratic Representative for the New York's 14th congressional district. Alexandria represents the Bronx and Queens boroughs and has a huge social media presence which she uses to advocate for gun and immigration reform, Medicare for all, free public college, and a new economic stimulus package.
She delightfully upset the Congressional expectations when she defeated Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent during the 2018 election primaries and went on to also defeat Republican opponent Anthony Pappas in the general election. She is one of the most outspoken members of the U.S. Congress and is also one of the brightest.
Image: Jimmie48 Photography / Shutterstock.com
When Serena Williams and Venus Williams came into the tennis game as a powerhouse duo, the world marveled at their skills and mastery of the sport. Since she ventured on her own, we get to see her for the unstoppable champion that she is. She turned the game on its head -- forcing her fans and nay-sayers to understand that any dream was possible as long as discipline and drive were front-and-center. Serena received numerous endorsements and Olympic accomplishments that only fueled her unbeatable drive and discipline. The Women's Tennis Association ranked her world No. 1 in singles between from 2002-2017. She has been #1 for 319 weeks altogether, and is ranked at third in the Open Era tournaments (allows amateurs and professionals to compete with each other).
Serena is also a mom and wife, and after she had her baby was determined to get back in shape and take over the court again. She also founded a venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, which provides financial assistance to lucrative startups. In 2019, Forbes magazine reported that Serena is one of the richest self-made millionaires in the sports industry. She has an astonishing wealth of $250 million in addition to ongoing endorsements and contracts with big-wig companies like Nike.
Image: Sky Cinema / Shutterstock.com
Kylie Jenner, the youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, has been named one of the youngest self-made billionaire according to Forbes magazine -- with $170 million coming from her Kylie Cosmetics line and distribution deal with retailer Ulta alone. When she was 17, Kylie began her makeup conglomerate with 250,000 earned from brand sponsorships; and used the money to launch her own Kylie lip kits. She became a makeup mogul, a reality-TV star, entrepreneur and a mom, and shows no signs of slowing down. Her sisters are fashion icons and she is the wealthiest entrepreneur in the Kardashian clan. Success and money run in this family. Here's to hoping they'll adopt us.
Rihanna has rocked our world ever since the first time we heard her sing on her debut album, Music from the Sun. Her music career skyrocketed after hip-hop mogul Jay-Z handpicked the Bajan-beauty to sing for his label, Def Jam Recordings. Like a chameleon, Rihanna has mastered numerous roles. Rihanna is a multi-Grammy-award-winning singer, an actress, a fashion designer, a make-up spokesperson for her cosmetics line - Fenty, and worldwide icon. She has amassed fashion and music empires -- recently designing her own lingerie line, Savage X Fenty.
She has also been recognized by many organizations as a philanthropist; specifically Harvard University who gifted her with the Humanitarian of the Year Award (2017) for her contributions including the state-of-the-art center she built for oncology and nuclear medicine to treat breast cancer in Barbados; her support for the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, and her development of the Clara Lionel Foundation scholarship program for Caribbean students to attend U.S. colleges.
Many people know Zendaya as MJ, Peter Parker's love interest in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019) or as the lead female singer in The Greatest Showman (2017). But Zendaya began her celebrity career as a model and backup dancer, and landed her first big acting gig as Rocky Blue in the Disney Channel's . She also signed with Hollywood Records in 2012, and released multiple singles and a self-entitled album that got her music on the Billboard charts. She is a force to be reckoned with appearing in ongoing acting projects and serving as the ambassador/face of various designer brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Lancome, and X-Out, (Madonna's clothing line).
Zendaya is also making her voice count in Hollywood and socially as well through her activism against gender inequality, body shaming, and LGBT discrimination. She is also very active when it comes to philanthropy -- serving as an ambassador for Convoy of Hope and raising $50,000 to help people in need of food and shelter. Fans are calling for her to receive an Emmy for her recent role in HBO's Euphoria as Rue Bennett, a 17-year-old recovering drug addict.
Issa Rae took her vision and hilarious sense of humor to YouTube and developed an innovative web series, Awkward Black Girl, that caught the attention of HBO. They quickly offered her her own series with full autonomy of writing, producing, and starring in her groundbreaking comedy, Insecure. The show follows the experiences of modern-day Black women and men navigating their 30s and living in California. Issa received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress Television Series Musical or Comedy and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Needless to say, Issa Rae is a very successful Hollywood actress taking on new projects and working on her In 2019, she also received the Emerging Entrepreneur Award.