It’s the last week of Women’s History Month and I wanted to pay homage to all the incredible entertainers that inspire me to keep writing, keep shooting, keep posting, and keep sharing my stories. These 30 musicians, actresses, writers, editors, and activists are all incredible women who make me want to keep following my dreams. The future is female!
1.Nicki Minaj: My all-time favorite musician. I’ve always loved rap music, but Nicki took it to a whole other level for me. She made it relatable and empowering for women. I could be having the worst day, but there is just something about busting out in a hard Nicki verse that makes me feel invincible.
2. Maya Angelou: The first woman poet and the first black poet I was ever exposed to. I’m so thankful that my mom passed down her Maya Angelou poetry books to me at such a young age. Maya inspired my entire career path as a writer. Fun Fact: I’ve wanted to publish a book of poetry since I was in the fourth grade. I made a name for the book and everything.
3. Marilyn Monroe: I love her old movies, photographs, music, everything! I was introduced to Marilyn at a young age because my Aunt Misty loved her. She’s a true O.G. body positive baddie who actually embraced her sexuality and never apologized for her curves. People may criticize her for her relationships or her dramatic personality, but no one can deny that she was a true star. Fun Fact: I have a Marilyn Monroe quote tattooed on my back.
4. Rihanna: A fashion goddess and musical genius! I’ve been a Riri fan since her “Pon De Replay” days. She takes bold fashion risks, she speaks up about her beliefs, and she lives completely unapologetically. Also, she has diversified the beauty industry in a way that we’ve really never seen before.
5. Aaliyah: When I was just a kid I had a CD/DVD set of Aaliyah’s greatest hits and best music videos. I played it everyday. I learned the dances, I drew pictures of her outfits, and I knew all the words to all the songs. When she passed away, I was only seven but I was so sad. I lost one of my first celebrity role models. Even now, at 24, Aaliyah has had a huge impact on my style. Her beautiful soul and talent will always inspire me in different ways.
6. Michelle Obama: Educated, classy, passionate, and stylish. One hell of a first lady and a phenomenal wife and mother. How could anyone not look up to her?!
7. Elaine Welteroth: The former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. At only 29-years-old, Elaine became the youngest editor that Condé Nast has ever had! And she is only the SECOND African American EIC that the company has ever had! Talk about career goals. She’s also a huge activist and has great style (shout out to my ladies rocking the curly hair and glasses)!
8. Ashley Graham: This curvy queen has pretty much paved the way for plus-sized models of this generation. I’ve read her book and followed her career for a while now and I just love and appreciate everything she’s done for the body positivity movement.
9. Meghan Markle: Basically our real life Princess Tiana. From a hard working actress, blogger and activist to being engaged to a British prince, her life is an actual fairytale. She’s so involved with many different charities, she’s spoken a lot about equality for women, and she’s even written essays about being biracial.
10. Gabi Fresh: One of my absolute favorite plus-size bloggers/influencers. She’s such a baddie and she’s always working on new projects. She really shows people that sexiness and style can exist at ANY size.
11. Betsey Johnson: One of my favorite designers. She’s so fun and she never holds back. The prints, colors, and extra-ness are right up my ally! Plus, she still does the splits at 75 years old! #Goals.
12. Eva Chen: One of the first magazine editors that I faithfully followed. She’s a social media influencer, mom of two, and former EIC of Lucky Magazine. She attends all the major fashion shows, rocks the best clothes, and even has her own hashtag on Insta — #EvaChenPose.
13. Zendaya: I love her so much! I think she’s such a talented actress, singer, and dancer, especially for how young she is. I’m obsessed with her style and she’s also huge on activism.
14. Lauren Riihimaki (a.k.a. LaurDIY): The DIY Queen! She’s my favorite YouTuber. I love watching her videos every week. She’s super talented and creative and I think she seems like a really genuine, sweet person.
15. Kylie Jenner: Of course people have a lot of feelings about the Kardashian-Jenner siblings, but I can’t help but admire their hustle. Kylie is only 20 and has already built an insanely successful cosmetics company, she has multiple brand collaborations and fashion lines, and I do really like her style.
16. Audrey Hepburn: Such an icon! She was the epitope of class and elegance. Her style is iconic and I love every old movie I’ve seen her in.
17. Anna Wintour: THE fashion editor. The woman who took Vogue to the next level and oversees the artistic direction of every magazine at Condé Nast. Given the fact that Miranda Priestly was rumored to have been based off of her, I’m sure she’s an intimidating (and somewhat scary) person, but no one could ever deny her genius influence over fashion and journalism.
18. Amanda Lovelace: An author whom I adore. Her poetry books really speak to me, they’re so relevant for any young woman. She reminded me of my love for poetry.
19. Shay Mitchell: Her Instagram feed is basically a whole inspiration board in itself. Not only was Pretty Little Liars one of my favorite shows of all time, but even after the show, Shay has continued to make me love her. She’s gorgeous, fashionable, and she travels all over the world! I would highly recommend checking out her travel videos on YouTube.
20. Beyonce: Queen Bey will always be an icon in music and fashion. I’ve been rocking with her every since the early days of Destiny’s Child. I love and appreciate everything she’s done for black women and women in general. She’s fierce af and Lemonade was one of the best albums of all time in my opinion.
21. Jordyn Woods: Many people know her as Kylie Jenner’s best friend, but Jordyn is also a very successful plus-size model. I love her work. She radiates confidence and she’s definitely someone to be on the lookout for.
22. Bethany Mota: The very first YouTuber I ever watched faithfully. Beth is so sweet and upbeat and her content always makes me smile. She has millions of YouTube followers, a book, an Aeropostale clothing line, and she was even on Dancing With The Stars, all by the age of 22!
23. Mr. Kate: Another YouTuber who makes awesome videos, but hers are focused on interior design. It’s truly amazing how drastically she can transform a room! She gives me so many great ideas and she’s really got me excited about decorating and organizing my living space in ways I never even thought of. She’s also a fantastic artist.
24. Color Me Courtney: A blogger with a very colorful aesthetic. She’s bright and bubbly and I love her feed so much. Her content is very genuine and her style is so unique. Her blog and social media always make me smile.
25. Sophia Amoruso: The original #GirlBoss herself. Not only did she create the fashion brand Nasty Gal out of nothing, but she’s also turned herself ad her values into an empowering brand for kickass females. I own her books #GirlBoss and Nasty Galaxy and I love reading the website GirlBoss.com as well.
26. Michelle Lee: She’s the current EIC of Allure and she’s been doing one amazing job! I’ve never seen a magazine produce so much diversity in such a short amount of time on their covers as I have since she took over. Right now, she’s one of the main people I look up to in my field.
27. Lupita N’yongo: This star is gorgeous, stylish, and a wonderful actress. The fact that she always rocks her natural hair on the red carpet is amazing. And DID YOU SEE HER IN BLACK PANTHER!?
28. Tiffany Haddish: My favorite comedian! No actress has made me laugh like her in a long time. I also went to one of her comedy shows and she’s just as hilarious. She’s also so down to earth and genuine. I’m so happy to see her career continue to blow up.
29. Demi Lovato: There is something about her raw honesty that I just love. I also really enjoy her music and I think she’s so beautiful. Her spunky style and unapologetic attitude scream girl power.
30. Oprah: I mean, she’s Oprah! She’s came up from literally nothing, went through great hardships, and became one of the richest women in the world. She’s constantly giving to those in need and she’s a huge activist. Her work ethic, determination, and grace are incomparable.
Bonus +1: Grace Coddington: Her photoshoots at Vogue were fantastical and breathtaking. She made luxury fashion more fun and she was never afraid to fight for her ideas. A true creative genius.
A Note To MY Girl Gang:
I would be absolutely no where without all of the phenomenal women in my life! These amazing mothers, aunts, cousins, friends, grandmothers, nurses, writers, business women, educators, and bad ass females are all people who have contributed to who I am in one way or another. Every single one of these women pictured below (as well as a few others who I didn’t have pictures with) inspire me every day. I’m so blessed to have so much love and support in my life. So, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU to my GIRL GANG! ❤