Girl Power! We can’t wait to share with you some of the most empowering female leaders of this day and age. Their work, and impact on the world, is some motivational stuff indeed. Scroll down to read on!
1. Lady Gaga
By 2008, safe to say the pop music scene was no longer what it was before - fans had become increasingly infatuated with reality show culture, and this completely stripped pop music of its essence.
Lady Gaga’s debut was not only refreshing for its time - with her visually-enticing performances, fusing strong electronic tunes with iconic melodies and often controversial lyrics about celebrity culture, Lady Gaga has been a true revolutionary even until today. She treats pop music like an art form; many have claimed that Lady Gaga made pop music “pop” again, and she is a true artist in every right - her refusal to conform with the norm in every way has inspired many. Top it all off with extraordinary fashion sense, Lady Gaga quickly became loved by fans (self-professed “Little Monsters”) far and wide.
Lady Gaga is widely praised for her advocacy on various pressing social causes. She has never been afraid to address the rampant inequalities in society, particularly when it came to support for the LGBTQ community, and indeed this has been continually reflected in her music. Her charitable work has earned her further accolades - she even set up her own foundation, “The Born This Way Foundation”, with a sole mission to tackle bullying and abandonment amongst young people around the world.
Fast-tracking to present day - her iconic work in “A Star Is Born” has gained her even greater recognition, in both capacities as an actress and a musician. She has also, successfully, grown her musical style into one that better portrays her personality.
Lady Gaga’s massive influence on music and pop culture will continue to echo through time, as many before her did - joining the ranks of Madonna, Britney Spears and Beyonce.
2. Dame Helen Mirren
A truly legendary actress, Dame Helen Mirren needs very little introduction. With a career in theatre, film and television spanning decades, she has won numerous awards and has starred in many movies, including Caligula, Excalibur, Calendar Girls and The Last Station.
Needless to say, beyond being just an amazing actress - she is effortlessly elegant and down-to-earth; in this day and age of overly flamboyant celebrities overcrowding the industry, Mirren is inspiring for downplaying her celebrity status and being not the slightest bit condescending - she has even been spotted on the New York Subway by fans!
At the age of 74, she is not slowing down the slightest bit with her career either; and is one of the very few stars who continue to maintain such an energetic, driven outlook.
Mirren was invested as a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (otherwise, a DBE) in 2003 for her services to drama, recognising her influence on theatre, television and film. She earned critical acclaim for her lead role in the series Prime Suspect and she's portrayed Queen Elizabeth I and II, winning an Oscar for the latter role.
She is one of very few actresses to win an Oscar, 3 Golden Globes, 4 Emmy’s, 4 BAFTA’s, 2 Critics’ Choice Award and 5 SAG Awards, amongst many others. Such an extraordinary array of achievements and awards aptly reflect her talent and finesse in acting.
3. Abby Zhang and Shan Shan
Next up is an entrepreneur-duo who have positively disrupted the fashion rental industry in Hong Kong! Abby Zhang and Shan Shan are Co-Founders of YEECHOO, a Hong Kong startup with its core being a rent-a-designer concept for women who don’t wish to clutter their wardrobes, or fork out huge sums to wear designer clothing. YEECHOO’s name itself is a clever wordplay - meaning “wardrobe” in Mandarin Chinese, and “You Choose” in English!
YEECHOO is a rapidly-growing platform that allows you to rent and wear designer fashion once, without the hefty price tag, or taking up your precious closet space.
Both Abby and Shan are ex-bankers turned entrepreneurs. Recognising their work, Abby was also featured in Forbes’s 30 under 30. This duo is said to completely change the way we shop - YEECHOO offers unlimited designer collections with items from casual dresses all the way to bridalwear. YEECHOO is a true game-changer for the fashion industry in Hong Kong, revolutionising the designer rental business. We can’t wait to see what’s next for YEECHOO! We fully support their ideas for retail experience and you can even rent some of our iconic pieces with them.
4. Halima Aden
Halima Aden was the first ever model to wear a hijab and a burkini to compete in the Minnesota USA pageant in 2016. During such divisive times, Aden’s courage and confidence to stay true and stand up for herself is admirable and encouraging!
Aden came from very humble beginnings: being born in a refugee camp, she was able to truly break through stereotypes, and self-professes that she is “now living the American dream.”
Her goal is clear: to empower younger girls, women of colour, especially Muslim girls. She has a few words of advice for women around the world: not to conform to the norms imposed by society, but to live out your true self. Instead, earn respect from your peers by being kind to everyone around you, and not be afraid to show your authentic side to others. Aden also said that we should all play a part in making the world more inclusive - we couldn’t agree more!
In her first 1.5 years of modelling, she appeared on 9 magazine covers: her message now received by young women far and wide and successfully reshaping the future of fashion modelling and the fashion industry itself.
5. JK Rowling
World-renowned author JK Rowling has become a household name in the recent two decades, with her Harry Potter series being some of the highest-grossing books and films of the century. Being so famous for creating a magical, wizarding empire, fans seldom realise that Rowling went through some extremely difficult times before her career took off.
Before her literary success, Rowling was a single-mum, fighting depression alongside almost becoming penniless, working multiple jobs to support her children. However, she never gave up - and instead channelled her difficult times into writing the Harry Potter series. The rest is history.
Equally successful in her business and writing, critics have come to admire her philanthropic work even more. She has set up multiple charitable foundations in her name, and contributed to many causes too. Throughout her career, Rowling once contributed so much of her earnings to charity that she was no longer a billionaire. By 2011, she donated 16% of her total net worth, equalling $160 million. In 2018 alone, her charities donated more than £8 million to various pressing causes around the world.
Rowling simply cannot be faulted for being such a kind soul and an extraordinary woman in general!
If you’re ever feeling down, maybe a little bit lost, just know that you’re never alone - as our inspiring women have done it, so can you! Echoing the words of Maya Angelou:
“I am a Woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal Woman, that’s me.”