When it comes to the question ‘who inspires you?’ I truly think there is no definitive answer. I’ve been inspired by so many people throughout this topsy turvy life.
I quite like that we admire different people throughout our life. It shows personal growth as our tastes change and we come to realise that different qualities are important to us. Casting my mind back to my teenage years was a bit of a challenge but I’ve compiled my list and what with International Women’s Day recently passing, I thought I’d carry on the celebrations and pay tribute to the women who I’ve learned a lot from.l
The Spice Girls… For showing me the meaning of girl-power
I’m going to say it loud and proud – The Spice Girls were my all time favourite. I adored this group and loved that there was so much to identify with so young; friendship, girl power and having fun. I think every group of girl friends felt that the Spice Girls were a reflection of them. The only sad thing was the eventual split of the group but despite that, girls around the world managed to draw out the positives, which has stayed with them in some way.
Jackie Collins… For showing me the exciting side of writing
Jackie Collins rocked my teenage years with her sordid stories and her bold, brazen characters. I fell in love with Madison Castelli then was head over heels for Lucky Santangelo. Both fictional characters, but oh my God did I want them to be real people. I miss Jackie Collins tremendously and still feel quite sad that we’ll never see how the Santangelo dynasty continues and how the Castelli’s bridge their family together.
My English teachers… For equipping me with the education I needed
Believe it or not, my English teachers in my secondary school were a huge source of inspiration. If it wasn’t for the collective efforts of Ms Atwood, Ms Athanasi and Ms Taylor, I don’t know what my career would look like now. They made English fun and out of all my subjects at school, it was English I most looked forward to. I loved it so much that Journalism awaited me at university and a place among other writers and journalists in the working world upon graduating. We take them for granted but I’m so thankful for having the teachers and lecturers I had throughout my educational journey.
Angelina Jolie… For being unconventional
I have always loved Angelina Jolie. She’s not the stereotypical Hollywood actress. She takes risks and even to this day navigates through life to the beat of her own drum. I can’t tell you how much I love that. Sure she’s not everyone’s cup of tea – if she was, then she wouldn’t be who she is. Say what you want about her relationships and past, she’s raised a beautiful family while campaigning for worthwhile causes around the world. She’s even been very forthcoming about her health issues, undergoing a preventative double mastectomy and a preventative oophorectomy after learning about her chances of developing both breast and ovarian cancer. I don’t know think I’d be brave enough to even find out whether I carried defective genes in the first place.
Now, as controversial as they are, it wouldn’t be right of me to publish a blog post about the females who have inspired me and not mention *wait for it* the Kardashians. Now before you swiftly exit my page out of sheer shock, let me explain.
Khloe Kardashian… For her sass and discipline
I’m focusing only on Khloe Kardashian and it’s not because of her endorsements or club appearances. It’s more to do with her character. She’s built differently from her sisters. She has such a strong ‘in-your-face’ personality that I absolutely love. I can’t really resonate with her when it comes to the career she has but I admittedly love how outspoken she is and that out of all her sisters, she seems to be able to identify with people easily and is protective of the ones she loves. She’s also very disciplined. Khloe has transformed her body and overall health over the last couple of years – something that takes dedication and strong willpower.
Queen Rania… For her philanthropy
The Duchess of Cambridge may be the most popular Royal at the moment, but at 20, it was all about Queen Rania of Jordan for me. Her work in education, community empowerment and with the youth is incredibly impressive. She’s helped to create opportunities by refurbishing 500 schools in Jordan over a five year period and has created the Queen Rania scholarship programme which partners with a number of universities from around the world. In addition to that she’s probably one of the most graceful women I’ve ever laid my eyes on and so social media savvy! I hope she continues to work for causes she feels strongly about.
Lilly Singh… For her work ethic
Whenever anyone mentions the word ‘hustle’, I think of Lilly Singh. I first watched one of her videos that was posted on Facebook and ended up crying with laughter. The rest they say, was history. I love Lilly’s energy, positivity, her outlook on days that seem bleak and her work ethic. My God, this woman werrrrrrkkssss. You can tell she puts her all into her projects which is why she’s amassed a following over over 8 million subscribers on YouTube and has already gone on a world tour, released a handful of music videos and is now exploring opportunities in Los Angeles. My birthday twin, I always look to her when I feel like I’m slacking. There’s always a video or a reminder of some sort to keep me going.
Deepika Padukone… For her bravery
It was around this age that I started falling head over heels for Deepika Padukone. It had been so long since I had been in awe of a Bollywood actress and I loved that she didn’t hail from a filmy family. She didn’t waltz into Bollywood thanks to a famous actress mother or a producer father. She worked and earned her stripes among the big dogs in Bollywood. However it was her battle with depression that sealed her as an inspiration for me. She openly voiced her struggles – quite an uncommon move for an Indian actress. By talking openly about her depression, she opened the door for discussion on mental health in India, which is a topic that is rarely spoken about.
Taraji P Henson… For her determination to shatter glass ceilings
The more I see of Taraji P Henson, the more I love her. Her portrayal of Cookie Lyon on TV show Empire has won her Best Actress awards and you don’t have to look far to see why. Sassy and fierce both on screen and off, she’s also got such a zest for life, which is something I think we all take for granted. Sure, she’s an actress and is able to enjoy the finer things in life but she’s worked to get to where she is and I can completely appreciate that. Some may not know but she’s been raising her son singlehandedly. Sadly, the father of her son was brutally murdered back in 2003. Taraji continues to climb that ladder and as she succinctly puts it:’For whatever reason, God gave me this life, and I’m not gon’ f–k it up.’
Naga Munchetty… For showing me that it can be done
Finally, I have noticed a surge in Asian faces within the media which is great to see in terms of diversity. One presenter who I’ve grown to love over the last year and is still very much an inspiration is Naga Munchetty. Bright and bubbly, she fronts the BBC Breakfast Show.
I’ve feel like everyone has a mentor or figure that they regard with respect when it comes to their career and for me, Naga is that person. Starting out as a financial journalist, she progressed into broadcasting working as a producer and then moved into presenting and reporting. It’s important to pay attention (and admiration) to people who have achieved the goals and ambitions you’re also working towards. They’ve obviously worked to get to where they are, which makes them the perfect inspiration when you really feel the struggle.
Which ladies have inspired you along the years? Have they changed drastically as time has gone on?