Taylor Swift, Hillary Clinton, Kim Kardashian West, Julianne Moore, Emma Watson, Diane von Furstenberg, Reese Witherspoon, Laverne Cox, Amy Schumer, Malala Yousafzai, and Ina Garten.
No, it’s not a guest list to the greatest women empowerment luncheon ever. It’s just a few of the inspirational women honored on this year’s Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People!
Although there is (always) a strong presence of men on the list every year, this year’s series of women leaves a thread of inspiration throughout, especially when it comes to encouraging gender equality and advocating for women’s rights.
Taylor Swift was a sure-thing for this list. She switched over from country to pop and nailed the transition with her album "1989." Of the songs, “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space” topped the charts for weeks in a row. Mariska Hartigay who stars as Olivia Benson in Law and Order: SVU and Swift's cat is named after, wrote about Taylor. "Taylor Swift: megawatt talent, an extraordinary spirit, an impossibly charming blend of impishness, poise and radiance to spare. All of it combines to rock me back on my heels every time I see her. Both literally and figuratively, she’s a woman who writes her own songs. That makes for music that’s personal, of the moment, and impossible to resist."
Hillary Clinton, the possible first woman leader of the United States of America, announced her run for presidency last weekend. Also, she’s a first-time grandma thanks to daughter Chelsea who welcomed a daughter in September. But it’s Clinton’s fiercely attentiveness for women’s rights and her Democratic demeanor which has her on this year’s list. Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and chair of Emerson Collective wrote: "Her decades in our public life must not blind us to the fact that she represents new realities and possibilities. Indeed, those same decades have conferred upon her what newness usually lacks: judgment, and even wisdom."
Laverne Cox, star of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, grew up transgender and is on this year’s list of Pioneers. Jazz Jennings, a 14-year-old author and advocate, wrote: "Not all trans kids are so lucky. And for them, having someone as visible and strong as Laverne Cox to look up to is inspiring. She’s done so many amazing things – not just acting on Orange Is The New Black but also loving herself enough to share her story with the world."
Amy Schumer, who just hosted the MTV Movie Awards this past Sunday, is "The honesty bomb." She stars in the upcoming film Trainwreck, which she also wrote and chose Judd Apatow to direct. Known as one of the funniest women of the decade, the 33-year-old is described by actress Tilda Swinton as "the girl you knew at your fantasy school – yeah, her at the back with the quick, dangerous eyes. When you wished the funny ones were also kind, when you wondered why none of the clever ones had real guts, when you wanted sexy to look like something properly glamorous and more interesting than an action figure, it was Amy you were dreaming up."
Eternal hostess Ina Garten, New York native and creator of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, is now reaching the younger crowd. Even Taylor Swift has cracked open a Garten cookbook or turned on her show. "As soon as I started watching Ina’s show, I realized why so many people adore her. Her goal is to make things easier for us. She shows us how to create memories that we’ll treasure for years to come."
Reese Witherspoon showed how southern charm can go far past Hollywood. With two big films leading in the box office this year (Gone Girl as producer and Wild as producer and actress), the mother of three is one of Time’s Pioneers. Mindy Kaling, particularly, took Witherspoon’s performance of Cheryl Strayed to heart. "She is an icon," wrote Kaling. "Yes, she is beautiful, and I would buy any lipstick or bottled water she is selling. Hell, I would buy cigarettes if her picture were on the pack. Reese is an artist, but she is also a hustler, a quality I recognized in her the first time I met her." She continued, "She’s impatient that Hollywood won’t generate the kind of quality roles by creating quality movies. That resourcefulness is what makes her someone I not only admire, but someone who inspires me. And that is influence."
Malala Yousafzai is an advocate for the rights of women and education in Pakistan and has since become the youngest-ever Nobel Prize winner. A 16-year-old from Syria wrote on behalf of Malala’s growing influence in education and human rights. "I know no matter what I go through today, it will make me a stronger person for tomorrow. Rather than giving up, my friends and I will continue to think positively and try to make our community better. Girls need to learn to take care of themselves, because if they don’t, nobody will."
Julianne Moore, star of the Oscar-winning performance for Still Alice, was listed as one of the most influential artists for this year. Designer Tom Ford describes her as "fearless." He wrote, "Julianne’s character off set is just as magnetic as her onscreen presence. She has an inner beauty that will never fade. She is down to earth and real." Ford added, "Julianne is one of the greatest actresses working today, but she’s also a wonderful human being. I am honored to call her my friend."
Emma Watson, former Harry Potter star, was appointed as UN Goodwill Ambassador this year and assisted in the launch of the UN Women campaign HeForShe, which encourages men to fight for gender equality and women’s rights. Former executive editor of the New York Times Jill Abramson shared her "vigorous embrace of feminism." Ambramson elaborated, "And apparently she lives by it. Although she is one of the world’s highest-paid actresses, she has spoken out about the paucity of female directors in Hollywood."
Diane von Furstenberg, a Time Magazine "Icon" stepped into the fashion industry decades ago with her creation and introduction of the wrap dress. Her E! show House of DVF premiered at the end of last year, bringing in even more interest to the ageless designs of the former German princess. An avid wearer of Furstenberg, Jessica Alba wrote "As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, Diane understands that changing the way women see themselves can also change the world. With the DVF Awards and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, she acknowledges the extraordinary strength that women use to shape their communities for the better every day, everywhere across the globe." Alba concluded, "her constant inspiration reminds us that nothing looks better on a woman than the clarity, courage and conviction of vision."
And finally, the all American girl with a famous face and nearly as famous rear – Kim Kardashian West. This year she broke the internet, married her third husband Kanye West, and opened up her personal life for the 10th season of the groundbreaking reality series Keeping Up With The Kardashians on E! She welcomed daughter North West in 2013 and has since been traveling the world with her famous tot. Dubbed as reality royalty, Martha Stewart chimed in and wrote, "Beautiful in an exotic, totally exaggerated way, Kim exudes energy, sexuality, drama, determination, impetuousness and happiness." Stewart added, "But she and her famous, entrepreneurial siblings – shepherded by a savvy, tireless matriarch – have also expanded the very definition of family."