I have a lot of awesome women who inspire me in my life. Women who are nailing their jobs, hobbies and family life. I take heaps of inspiration from them. Sometimes though, we all need someone or something aspirational to look up to instead. Someone or something that is just out of reach at all times, reminding us to keep on pushing. 

Being a woman is both a blessing and a curse, as with most things in life. You can either wallow in the curse or embrace the blessing. This is something I’ve spent the last six months learning. The women in this post have achieved things not despite their own curses, but because of them. These are five women who inspire me.

1. Ronda Rousey

five badass women

Even if you don’t like boxing, or UFC, you would have to have been living on Mars to not at least recognise the name Ronda Rousey. Rousey is the first and current UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion as well as becoming the first U.S. woman to earn an Olympic medal in Judo at the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008 . She is undefeated in mixed martial arts. She is the epitome of badass. 

Last month she was awarded Best Fighter at the ESPY’s . Not only did she win, she beat (the very much male) Floyd Mayweather. When asked how she felt about it she had this to say;

“I wonder how Floyd feels being beat by a woman for once. I’d like to see him pretend to not know who I am now.”

Ronda is everything I admire in an athlete. She is devoted to such a degree that you can’t help but be inspired by her determination and spirit. She does not let the words of others define who she is as a fighter or a woman. 

Oh, and she also just annihilated Bethe Correia in UFC 190 in a mere 34 seconds. Impressed doesn’t come close. 

2. Misty Copeland

misty copeland badass women

2015 has been quite a year for Misty Copeland. On June 30, 2015, Copeland became the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre’s 75-year history after being named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time the prior month.

Misty is not your average ballerina, mostly because – sadly – of the colour of her skin. However it’s more than that. Her entirely humble upbringing was quite at odds with the usual journey to stardom on the ballet stage. Copeland she was raised in a motel room as one of six children, while her single mum worked many jobs just to keep food on the table.

Misty is clear that ballet found her, and not the other way round. At 13 years old, it was the eagle-eyed teacher at a youth club who noticed her and saw something others did not. Her recent appointment of principal dancer has given her the platform to inspire other young women who do not fit the mold to strive for greatness in ballet, or in fact whatever field they wish to embrace. 

She is, and continues to be, smashing the glass ceiling she once felt crippled by.

3. Amanda de Cadanet

amanda de cadenet

If ever you are in need of a reality check, or a way to escape the overtly masculine world we live in, go to YouTube and search for The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet. She interviews her friends, most of whom are the creme de la creme of Hollywood, including but not limited to Gwyneth Paltrow, Arianna Huffington, Kelly Oxford, to name just a few. 

These interviews are not about the movies they’ve been in, or the jobs they are most famous for, instead Amanda searches into their soul and they talk, just how women do, with honesty and passion, without holding back and with support and love. 

When asked why she does what she does, she said simply;

“I strive to continually make media that challenges perceptions of women.”

She is my hero. She is a woman’s woman. She embraces them, learns from them, champions them. To me, those things are the building blocks of great female friendships.”

4. Mariska Hargitay

Mariska Hargitay

Most likely, you’ll recognise Mariska Hargarity from Law & Order SVU, where she plays no-nonsense, sharp-edged detective Olivia Benson in the NYD who protects those most vulnerable who are raped, trafficked and abused. 

She is so much more than the character she plays. Hargitay is founder and president of the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organisation she established in 2004 to provide support to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse in America. The Joyful Heart Foundation has sent over 10,000 women and children on therapeutic programs in New York, Los Angeles, and Hawaii, which combine yoga, meditation, massage, journaling, and swimming with dolphins.

She turned the work she did everyday on set into a real life way to help those who reached out to her character and so many more who stopped her in the street, who shared their stories for the first time with her.

I have a huge girl crush on Olivia Benson, but I have an even bigger one on Mariska. 

5. Ashley Graham

ashley grahamLast but by no means at all least, is Ashley Graham. She’s a body activist, model, lingerie designer and all-around beautiful human, who whilst being all those things also could give not one fuck about anyone else’s thoughts on her or any other women’s bodies.

I first came across Ashley during her TedTalk where she dispels Plus Sized and makes it Me Sized, something I think whether you are plus size or not, is a much healthier view of yourself. 

“Never let anyone tell you that you can’t.”

This is, without doubt, the most important thing we can tell women of all ages, no matter what the thing is they want. Telling them they can’t will never be anything but damaging. 

She busts a gut in the gym, she wears clothes that she is happy to wear without concerning herself with the opinions of others. She is exactly the kind of woman I work towards being every day. 

They may not be curing cancer, or sending spaceships to far-off lands, but to me they are doing little things every day that have the power to change huge things in our future. To me they are the women who pick up their sword everyday and fight the good fight, for those who cannot, or dare not. 

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

These women, they are the crazy ones. Who’s your inspirational woman?

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