When I was growing up, I distinctly remember my mum religiously watching the Oprah Winfrey Show, even writing things down in a notebook to remember for later. I always thought idolising strangers was odd, but now I completely understand the purpose of having strong role models, even if they are strangers.
“I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.” – Michelle Obama
Here’s a collection of my favourite quotes and pieces of life advice from some fierce females, may they guide you well.
1. Use your light positively everyday
If there were ever two people to listen to for life advice, Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou would be at the top. Oprah is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated program in history, helping millions of people globally (including my mum). Oprah is one of the most powerful role models, helping others with her authentic voice and honesty.
On The David Rubenstein Show, Oprah revealed the best piece of advice she ever heard, which was from her friend and mentor Dr. Maya Angelou. Oprah explained to David the importance of creating a legacy and understanding the value of what one leaves behind, “It’s really what you do every day, it’s how you use your light to be a light to somebody else’s”.
2. You’ve got to go out and kick ass
Dr. Maya Angelou is one of the most influential voices of all time, with a beautiful gift with words. She was an American poet, writer, singer, actress, educator and civil rights activist (amongst many other skills and occupations). She was also Hollywood’s first female black director. The full unconventional phrase said by Maya read, “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”
Sadly Maya passed away in 2014, however she has left behind a powerful legacy. Her autobiography and first book I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is studied in schools to this day, which highlights racism and oppression.
The book was also banned in many schools during that time as Maya Angelou’s honesty about having been sexually abused opened a subject matter that had long been taboo in the culture.”Maya Angelou’s Website Biography
3. Have the courage to show up and be seen
Brené Brown is an American researcher, public speaker and social worker. She has spent her working life researching the unconventional topics of vulnerability and shame, helping others to Dare to Lead. I’ve personally seen a lot of her talks on Youtube (Power of Vulnerability is one of the most viewed TED talks in the world) and read some of her incredible books. She’s a brilliantly funny, smart and inspirational human.
Brené’s following quote is powerful, I feel especially for women, to understand the power of shame and use it bravely to say how you feel or do what you want and not be afraid – “Vulnerability is not winning or losing: It’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”
4. Love yourself
Laverne Cox is an American actress, producer and LGBT advocate, whilst also being a badass equal rights advocate and motivational speaker. In a Rookie magazine article in 2014, Laverne said the following, “…We are who we know ourselves to be, and we are what we love. That’s OK.” No matter who you are or what you are going through, love yourself. #TransIsBeautiful
5. You are not someone else’s opinion of yourself
Need I introduce who Michelle Obama is? The previous First Lady of the United States 2009 – 2017 (also the first African-American First Lady), writer, public speaker and activist. Michelle’s new autobiographical book Becoming is an inspirational page-turner, focusing on encouraging others to find their voice. Michelle is a prime example of someone that doesn’t take on other people’s opinions of her, “You are not someone else’s opinion of yourself”.
The world is damn lucky to have a Michelle Obama in it.
6. Always remember the first rule of beauty, which is: who cares?
I feel in a constant cycle of needing to self improve, which is sometimes good, but can also impact negatively. I should love who I am today right now, because I am enough and so are you. Also who actually gives a flying f*ck?
This (no.6) is my favourite piece of advice by Tina Fey, a hilarious actress, comedian, writer and producer, with movies such as Mean Girls on her resume. As a female in the spotlight, she’s been scrutinised intensely, so take it from her – who cares?
7. Focus on the things that excite you
Another piece of Oprah Winfrey’s advice (love you Oprah).
8. You should speak in your own voice
Audience member – “We’ve talked a lot recently about voices, especially female voices, being irritating, or being interrupted, or being too shrill, or how to tone down your voice, or how to be a woman in a profession that’s dominated by men…. Do you have any strategic advice for those of us who are trying to convey our voices?”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg – “You should speak in your own voice.”
TV Interview with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2017
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Notorious R.B.G) is possibly the world’s most badass woman. She became the second female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1930’s and continues to kick butt as the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. She is well known for her refusal to step down on what she believes in (“I dissent”), and her fighting for gender equality and women’s rights.
9. Cherish other people’s goodness
Yoko Ono is a Japanese artist, singer and activist, well known for her thought-provoking art and previously being married to Beatles’ John Lennon. She also happens to be very wise, and commonly posts life advice on her Twitter account –“Be good and cherish other people’s goodness. The world was praising being hip, up to now. But goodness is very important for our survival.” Kindness prevails all.
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