You’ve heard it before.
As a celebrity, doesn’t she have an obligation to be a role model?
From Miley to Kim K to Nicki Minaj, there are plenty of female celebrities out there that sometimes take the role in stride, and other times dismiss it for being too much pressure. Miley recently came out and declared that she isn’t a conventional role model – and doesn’t plan on being one, either. Rihanna also rejected the concept of the package deal, and claimed that although she lives her life as she sees fit, she can’t say she’s a role model. And she’s entitled to that.
But, luckily there are some budding role models out there – women like Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, Lorde (she in particular has a pretty realistic take on the whole thing if you ask us), but they are all pretty young and haven’t really stood the test of time in terms of stability. So…what about women who have been in the lime light for quite some time, and who have already stayed committed to being a true role model for young women? There has to be some we can look up to.
At Blush, although we would love to say that most female celebrities out there have the responsibility to be good role models for girls, we as individuals also have the responsibility to find good role models. And with that being said, we think we’ve found a few good eggs.
Here are some inspiring celebrity female role models for women that we think you’ll love. They’ve been around for long enough to leave a trail of empowerment behind them, but still have lots more to accomplish – and we can’t wait.
1. Tina Fey
The sweetheart of 30 Rock. The writing queen of SNL. The creator of our beloved Kimmy Schmidt. Yes, we absolutely love Tina in showbiz, but we also think she’s a pretty great inspiration for many girls off the screen, too. Her autobiographical book Bossypants captured us as she detailed stories of her quirky and nerdy adolescence, her bumpy trail to SNL, the struggle she faced with sexism in the industry, and her freakishly accurate outlook on body image, beauty, intelligence and more. Her character “Liz Lemon” on 30 Rock is essentially a hilarious and awkward portrayal of Fey’s own experiences as the head writer on Saturday Night Live – and we seriously dare you not to fall in love with her.
But aside from her charm on screen, Fey has accomplished quite a bit in the male dominated entertainment industry. So far, she has received eight Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, five Screen Actors Guild Awards, four Writers Guild of America Awards, and was nominated for a Grammy for Bossypants. Un-be-live-a-ble. Did we mention she wrote the screenplay for Mean Girls? THE MOVIE?
She’s not your conventional bombshell movie star, and we could not be more thankful. We have her to thank for proving once and for all, that YES, women ARE funny.
Advice from Tina: “Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”
2. Serena Williams
When Serena Williams was just 11 years old, she was asked which tennis player she wanted to be like most. Instead of rattling off every pro tennis player she had ever admired, she stated, “I’d like other people to be like me.”
And damn was she ever right.
At that point in time, Serena had already been playing tennis for eight years, and would continue to play for at least 22 more. She would also go on to win 21 grand slam titles, 13 with her sister Venus, and become ranked the number 1 female tennis player in the world six separate times by The Women’s Tennis Association. Incredible. But, not only is Ms. Williams an inspiration from her impressive athletic record, she’s also an inspiration to young women everywhere – regardless of their athletic ability.
She’s passionate about health, confidence, and fitness. She is hardly ever afraid of speaking her mind and has been an enthusiastic advocate for women’s equality. She’s a major fashionista, and has had deals with Puma and Nike and has also started her own line with the Home Shopping Network. Her charity, the SW Fund, has helped fund a school in Kenya, donated money to fight AIDS in Africa, give scholarships to underprivileged children, and has helped bring awareness to breast cancer.
Advice from Serena: “Since I don’t look like every other girl, it takes awhile to be okay with that. To be different. But different is good”
3. Michelle Obama
According to Michelle Obama, if you ask her to describe herself, she will instantly say “Malia and Sasha’s mom.” But we have a few other descriptions to bring to the table. First Lady. Lawyer. Writer. Wife. Advocate. Game changer. Hottie (her arms omg).
Obama is originally from the South Side of Chicago. Her father was a pump operator, her mother a stay at home mom. She attended all public schools, and was accepted into Princeton University where she studied sociology. She then went onto Harvard Law, and accepted a job at one of the most prestigious law firms, Sidley Austin, where she met her future husband Barack Obama. This woman has worked hard every single day of her life – and it’s amazing to see how dedication and motivation really pays off.
But aside from incredible work ethic growing up – we also love her for the effort and change she is striving to make now. Since being in the White House in 2008, Obama has launched Let’s Move!, a nation wide campaign to fight childhood obesity, Joining Forces (with Jill Biden), an initiative to support veterans, Reach Higher, a post high school education advocacy campaign, and our personal favorite, Let Girls Learn, a global movement to help girls receive an education at all ages.
Through her advocacy, her compassion, and her spirit, Michelle Obama inspires us every day to keep pushing for more.
Advice from Michelle: “There is no boy cute enough or interesting enough to stop you from getting your education”
4. Ellen Degeneres
We like to tell people that if Blush were a human, she would be a combination between Chrissy Teigen and Ellen Degeneres. And we mean every bit of that.
Ellen is not only one of the first major female comedians – but she is also one of the first lesbian comedians to come out and make it big in the United States. She is an advocate for feminism, the queer community, and for optimism in general. No matter how dire a situation is, Ellen always has a way to convey pure empathy with lightheartedness. We just love her.
She has hosted The Ellen Degeneres Show since 2003, after a four year stunt starring in her own sitcom, Ellen from 1994-1998. Ellen herself supports many various charities, but is especially well known for her activism in animal rights.
In 1997, Ellen came out as a lesbian on the cover of Time Magazine. Following that cover, she sat down with Oprah Winfrey on TV (who played her “psychiatrist). During this interview, JC Penny and Chrysler declined to advertise during the program, and Wendy’s pulled all advertising completely. But Ellen decided to continue speaking her truth, because she said she came out on the show “for the teenagers who contemplate suicide when they realize they’re gay — and for the young, confused girl she once was.” Years later, all three advertisers changed their tune, and now sponsor Ellen whenever possible. Boom.
We thank Ellen for being so brave those years ago, and for continuing to be a role model for girls everywhere!
Advice from Ellen: “Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come.”
5. Sheryl Sandberg
As the COO of Facebook and the author of the best selling Lean In, Sandberg has made a name for herself by becoming one of the top business women in the world, all while encouraging younger women to follow in her footsteps. She promotes feminism in the workplace, and calls upon younger women to “lean in” on their families for support in order to continue momentum in their careers. She has taken it upon herself to ban the word bossy – declaring it a derogatory word made to shame women for taking charge in the workplace, and in the home. Her Lean In community fosters young female entrepreneurs and business leaders to continue breaking the glass ceiling in their communities. Sandberg also advocates for women to choose partners for spouses, so that women can equally participate in child rearing and household duties, while still chasing their career.
Tragically in the summer of 2015, her husband and partner Dave Goldberg passed away while vacationing in Mexico. It was a devastating loss not only for Sandberg and her two kids, but also for the rest of the world. Sandberg has continued working at Facebook in order to resume normalcy for her children. Blush wishes her nothing but the best, and is thankful for her continued efforts for female equality in the workplace.
Advice from Sheryl: “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.”
6. Mindy Kaling
Known for being one of our favorite characters on The Office, Mindy Kaling makes our list for her talent, sass, and comedic honesty. Not only is she the lead actress on her own show The Mindy Project, Kaling is also a writer and a producer. She wrote many episodes of the Office – including Niagara (SO FUNNY) with Greg Daniels that was nominated for an Emmy award – and she also served as executive producer, as well as taking on the character of Kelly Kapoor. She has written two books – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) in 2011, and Why Not Me? in 2015. Yep. She’s one busy girl.
Her resume aside, what we really love about Kaling is her ability to speak on behalf of the everyday girl. She jokes about trying to manage a healthy lifestyle, dating, work, friends, and dealing with society’s expectations of females and women of color. The Mindy Project, now on Hulu (thank GOODNESS), depicts a successful doctor that still loves typical girly things, and is constantly trying to find a balance between her love life, personal life, and career. It’s her way of letting women know, they’re not alone – and we want more of it!
Thank you to Mindy Kaling for making entertainment a bit more female-friendly.
Advice from Mindy: “Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete. Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful, like some babbling old Tennessee Williams character with nothing else going on in her current life. What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair.”
8. Rosario Dawson
We love Rosario Dawson. We love that she’s determined. We love that she’s different. And we love that she speaks her mind. But most of all, we love that she fought for everything she has today.
Raised in New York, New York, Dawson’s mother was only 16 years old when she was born. When Dawson was a baby, her mother moved her family, including Dawson’s half brother and step father, into an abandoned building in Manhattan. They squatted on the property and overtime installed their own plumbing and electrical wiring. Eventually she was discovered at the age of 15 on her front porch by a screenwriter who had the perfect role for her in his upcoming film, Kids. Dawson was a natural, and has since starred in over fifty films.
Dawson, who is of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent, is involved in numerous charities and advocacy groups, including the Lower East Side Girls Club, Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Vote Latino, Amnesty International, and serves on the board of V-day, a global movement to end violence against girls and women. She is also an advocate for equal pay for women and people of color – even going as far to challenge Hollywood pay rates. We appreciate her candor and passion for human rights, women of color, and female inequality. She’s just the best.
Advice from Rosario: “I remember when I was doing ‘Rent’ and I was too thin, and I was doing that on purpose because I’m dying, Im an HIV + drug addict. I remember having to eat raw food and doing all this work to make sure I could stay thin…And I remember everyone asking when I was doing press for the movie, “What did you do to get so thin? You looked great” and I’m like, “I look emaciated”…It’s a form of violence , in the way that we look at women and how we expect them to look and be—for what sake? Not health, not survival not enjoyment of life, but just so you can look pretty. I’m constantly telling girls all the time everything is airbrushed, everything is retouched to the point it’s never even asked. None of us look like that.”
8. Deborah Ann Woll
Starring as Karen Page, the female lead in Netflix’s Daredevil, Deborah Ann Woll portrays legal aide Karen Page who befriends the blind super hero Matt Murdock. But in real life, Woll takes her advocacy for the blind to a whole other level. Her real life boyfriend, EJ Scott, is battling time choroideremia, a rare genetic condition that impairs vision, inevitably causing blindness. Before she landed her most famous role as Jessica Hamby on HBO’s True Blood, Woll met Scott through an online dating the site. The two instantly fell for each other – and together they have spent years advocating and raising money to fight time choroideremia. The couple’s documentary, Running Blind, follows Scott has he runs 12 marathons in 12 months – and he does it all blindfolded for charity.
Woll has used her fame for bringing awareness to such a devastating disease, and has even picked her roles according to her real life passion. And that is what we think makes her a fabulous role model!
Advice from Deborah: “Where you come from is such a huge part of who you are today.”
9. JK Rowling
Considering we are obviously Harry Potter fans, it’s not surprising that the Queen of Hogwarts ended up on our list. But it’s not just her writing that makes this author such a standout role model. It’s her overall attitude and determination.
In 1990, JK Rowling was traveling to Manchester to London by train, and there was a bit of delay. In order to entertain herself, Rowling began formulating the series of Harry Potter. But she didn’t begin writing it then and there – far from, in fact. Over the next seven years Rowling endured the death of her mother, the birth of her first child, a divorce from her first husband, and devastating economic loss. Her life changed in 1997, when Rowling finished the first book in the Harry Potter series. Her net work skyrocketed towards the billions – leaving her impoverished life far behind.
Rowling has since completed the rest of the six books in the Harry Potter series, as well as four books for adults and is now developing future plans to continue in children’s literature.
Earlier this year Rowling made headlines when she stepped in to defend her friend and a fellow Blush role model, Serena Williams. She defended the tennis player’s hot bod, and stood up in the fight against female body shaming. We thank Rowling for her brilliant authorship, her out spoken advocacy for women, and for an incredible story that can motivate us all.
Advice from JK: “It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
10. Chrissy Teigen
Outspoken, controversial, and fun-loving Chrissy Teigen is obviously one of our favorites. She’s bold, she’s smart, and she’s absolutely hilarious. Starting out as a swimsuit model for Sports Illustrated, Teigen catapulted her career into showbiz with a co-host slot on Lip Sync Battle and on the FabLife with Tyra Banks. She also is an avid chef, and is in the works to publish her own cookbook filled with her and her mother’s recipes. Her Instagram is filled with delicious recipes from her own kitchen, and we can’t help but think she is the whole package.
Recently she was bold enough to announce her pregnancy with husband John Legend, as well as detailing their struggles with infertility. Teigen openly discussed undergoing IVF treatment in order to achieve pregnancy – and in doing so, she opened up the channels for communication on this taboo subject everywhere. Thank goodness for a woman who can openly discuss such sensitive topics, letting others follow suit.
Teigen also has an uncanny ability to push boundaries and open herself up via social media. Her twitter account has reached over a million followers, where she routinely posts her private inner thoughts (“I am horrifically ballsy in every way except telling a waiter they got my order wrong”) comments to her haters, (“if you wanna give me unsolicited baby advice on the damn cereal I eat/what I wear u better unlock your profile so I can see your perfection”), and constantly pushes boundaries by posting nude pictures and controversial topics (“No one is ever disgusted by the pig who preys on, photographs and sells pictures of someone naked. Just the celebrity for being naked. Ok.”)
She is an advocate for women of color and for the elimination of body shaming, slut shaming, and pretty much any other shaming that has to do with women. We commend Teigen for using her fame as a vehicle for some social change.
Advice from Chrissy: “For women out there, don’t settle. I think back and say, ‘oh my gosh what if I would have married so-and-so!?’ Sometimes it seems tough but that time comes and that person comes just wait for him. That’s it.”
11. Amy Poehler
Our favorite star of Parks and Recreation as well as the voice behind Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls makes our list because of her dedication to encouraging smart young women to chase their dreams. Her love affair with Tina Fey also doesn’t hurt. She also wrote the ever popular Yes Please that is a must read for any girl. But, her leading role as Leslie Knope on Parks and Rec is one of the reasons why we love her so much. Although Poehler herself wrote four episodes, (one of which was nominated for an Emmy). She brings a charming ambition and unapologetic feminist attitude to the role of Ms. Knope, which was refreshing to see on primetime television.
Amy also has a charitable heart – she traveled to Haiti in 2013 to support the Worldwide Orphans Foundation and even through a “losers party” after the Emmys with Jon Hamm that benefitted the organization. She routinely gives speeches to spread awareness about orphans around the world. Thank you, Ms. Poehler, for being an advocate for tween and teen girls everywhere to follow their dreams.
Advice from Amy: “The earlier you learn that you should focus on what you have, and not obsess about what you don’t have, the happier you will be.”
12. Amal Clooney
Forget George. Amal has taken the spotlight, and we don’t intend to give it back.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon in the middle of the Lebanese Civil War, Amal and her family fled to England when she was only two years old. She attended Oxford University and NYU law, where clerked for Sonia Sotomayor, who is now a Supreme Court Justice. After NYU she clerked at the International Court of Justice followed by Sullivan & Cromwell. Her clients included Enron and Arthur Anderson – nbd.
In 2005 Clooney left Sullivan & Cromwell to join a United Nations tribunal dedicated prosecute those responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri. She returned to Britain in 2010 and continued practicing law specializing in international law, criminal law, human rights advocacy and extradition. She took on clients such as WikiLeak’s Julian Assange, Muammar al-Qaddafi’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, and Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
As well as practicing law, Clooney contributed to the Global Rights Summit that focused on ending sexual violence and defend the rights of women in war zones, as well as acting as a counsel for drone warfare and the crisis in Syria.
In 2014 she became engaged to George Clooney, catapulting her into the public eye and establishing herself as a style icon. But Amal Clooney is way more than movie star’s wife with a good sense of fashion. We commend her for using her intelligence and work ethic for the advocacy of human rights.