I know International’s Women’s Day has passed (March 8th), but I didn’t have time to write this post. I just wanted to share the women that has inspired me and continue to inspire me. These women are those who should be celebrated for their remarkable achievements, never to be undermined. This list represents only the few of the many women that had fought for themselves, for women, and for the rest of the world. These women have made a difference in the world, and personally in my world. I hope they can inspire you too, to know that being a woman is not a disadvantage but instead, an advantage.
- Malala Yousafzai
Do I even have to explain why ? She was 15 when she survived a shot in the head by a Taliban gunman. She was 17 when she won a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting for children’s rights. She’s an advocate for girls’ right for education, while some parts of the world take it for granted. Malala demonstrates that it doesn’t matter where you come from or how old you are. Little changes can grow to bigger changes as long as it starts from you.
2. Reese Wetherspoon
Being an amazing lead to many of my favourite movies, Reese Witherspoon inspires on and off camera. She doesn’t waste the power that she has. Have you heard of the Time’s Up Movement? Yeap, this chick right here. She lead the Time’s Up Movement. Reese and a few of her friend’s started spreading it between them then the rest of the world. She wasn’t ashamed to stand up for herself, she was brave enough to speak the truth. This encouraged other women in the industry too. This exemplary movement and unity is a strong force not only impacting the industry but the rest of the world. We stand together as women, as a force. We are not meant to be objectified, we are not meant to sexualised just because we are women. Time’s up.
Here’s a video of her that inspired me: Ambition is not a dirty word.
3. Ellen Degeneres
Need I say more? Gorgeous at 60, spreads joy and kindness, she glows inside and out. Ellen Degeneres is the modern day Mother Theresa. Reuniting loved ones, and surprising guests and changes lives on a daily. She knows what to do with the money she has. I pray that she never retires – The Ellen Degeneres Show has given me and the rest of the world so much happiness it’s unbelievable. “Money can’t bring happiness” they say. It can if you’re giving it away. It can if you are spending your money how Ellen has spent hers.
4. Amal Clooney
Beauty with Brains. She is known for being George Clooney’s wife – when she is so much more than that. She has made a name for herself even before she was a Clooney. Amal is a Human Rights lawyer, graduated from Oxford University and NYU. In 2016 she and her husband founded the Clooney Foundation for Justice to offer help and support to war victims. This foundation provides support in education for the children and also aims to help the refugee find a place where they could call home. How are women still not ruling the world?
5. Yasmin Ahmad
I went to her gallery last year and her presence was lingered in every corner of the room. For those who don’t know, Yasmin Ahmad was a famous film director in Malaysia (I personally believe to be the best). Malaysia is a pretty conservative country, stuck in their old school ways. And Yasmin made Malaysian Movies that has pushed boundaries; exploring taboo topics such as sex, faith and inter-racial relationships. With her movies she has cracked opened the minds of many Malaysians. She has brought our society forward with just art, and entertainment. Her voice was loud and clear, every message was received. Why we love Yasmin? Every movie of hers, every documentary, and every Raya Advert has touched us. She simply taught us that we shouldn’t be afraid to think what we think. We’re not wrong if others simply don’t agree with us. We’re just different. She was definitely different, and Malaysia wasn’t ready for her.
I don’t even have time to list all her achievements, but let me name a few: her music career, Fenty Beauty, and the fact that she’s a walking goddess. Bad Gal RiRi caught my attention since the first time she was blasted on every TV with her music video Pon the Replay (I think). I remember thinking, ehh she’s the same colour as me. Since then, I have loved everything she’s done.
Let’s start with Fenty Beauty. She dropped the bomb with her 40 shades of foundation. This is such a small move that promoted diversity. It was simply the acknowledgement that women of other colour (other than the basic 6 shade in other make up lines) exist. That they matter and should be included in business demographics and not be listed as ‘others’. This simple acknowledgement was celebrated making it the best make up line of 2017.
Another reason why I Rihanna is on the list: Harvard Humanitarian of the Year 2017. She is involved in 24 charities, and has her own foundation called Clara Lionel Foundation. In dedication to her grandparents (Clara and Lionel). To simplify “you don’t have to be rich to be a philanthropist.” Here’s a video of her speech at Harvard.
7. Meghan Markle
A soon to be princess, an actress, and an activist. I’ll simply show a video of how she inspired me (not only as Rachel Zane).
8. Vivy Yusof
Which Malaysian girl doesn’t look up to Vivy Yusuf? C’mon, co-founder of multimillionaire company, mother of two adorable kids, blogger/vlogger, and many more. She is the walking “goals”. I mean there’s a lot of be inspired by, straight As all her life (she did her SPM and A levels at the same time WHAT), graduated from LSE, owns her own TV show, but what I’m most intrigued by is what she embodies. Vivy goes against the stereotypical Malaysian woman, she’s not a stay at home mom that cooks and cleans for the house. She is an idol to many for a reason – she makes her own money. She made her business FashionValet and Duck known worldwide – her vision was bigger, bigger than Malaysia. Vivy wanted to put Malaysia on the map. Making all Malaysians proud, setting the standard for all the girls out there. Get what you want, don’t wait for someone else to get it for you.
You can read more about her from her own blog : http://www.proudduck.com
9. The women of the real
They’re a breath of fresh air. This TV show talks about the real issues of the world, and the lack of diversity presented in the media. They represent everyone – even asian y’all (You see Ms Jeannie Mai). You know how hard that is? To see an asian lady on TV not in Asia but in America. We all know Hollywood conquers television, which makes it hard for girls like me to relate. Across the world, I grew up watching cartoons that were only about white girls who had blonde hair and blue eyes. I grew up being taught that that was “pretty”. Even in Asia, light skin is admired – people walk in sunlight with an umbrella shielding them from getting tan. Tan skin like mine was not ideal. But now, I have learnt to define my own beauty. Having a show like this is a great step for the industry – so my future daughter won’t grow up wanting to be something she’s not. To love something she already has, and to grow up defining her own “pretty”.
10. My Mom
But who are we all without our mothers? My mom wasn’t the traditional Asian wife. She wasn’t quiet, submissive, or timid. She was unapologetic of who she is. She taught me what it was to be strong; that being strong isn’t just about physical strength. It’s about standing your ground. Don’t ever have anyone walk all over you. To speak your mind, and not to change your values or who you are for others. I remember her best when she was working, she would send me to school, pick me up for lunch bring me back to her office, and we would go home at night time. She demonstrated that working wasn’t just for men, that you can have your own career too. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you have to stay home and cook. Although, she did cook and clean the house too. You can do it all. Women were made to do it all.
I believe that women have always ruled the world. We were just under appreciated, and undermined. As Riri posted on her instagram, International Women’s Day was yesterday, tomorrow, and the day after and the day after. Sorry not sorry. 2018, we will do as we want, and be who we want. There is no limit, and no one to tell you you can’t do it because you’re a girl. Flip your hair, and show them that you can. You define yourself; despite your gender, despite the world.
Happy International Women’s Day!