Audrey Whitby
February 09, 2015 7:45 pm

As my excessively-long title suggests, I have very strong feelings about positive female influences. As young women growing up, we have so many options when picking out the perfect role model. Potential role models are everywhere, so where should we look? Looking for the right person to idolize is a lot like finding the perfect pair of shoes. They may be hard to find, but they are going to inspire you to get up and go every day! I think that may have been my yearbook quote.

Radical Role Model Quality 1: Relatable

You might not think you and your oh-so-famous and ultra-successful role model have much in common, but picking a role model with the same interests is important, because they have to inspire you to pursue what you love. This is why I idolize strong female co-medians. For example, Tina Fey is the first female head writer for Saturday Night Live. So, not only is her Sarah Palin impression on point, but she also has the intelligence to write smart and funny sketches. She once said, “If you’re an actor and you don’t get cast in stuff a lot, then put together a show or hold play-reading nights at your apartment. Make your own opportunities.” It was that quote that inspired me to write and create my own work, which has been the most fulfilling part of my life thus far. Sketch comedy has always been a big passion of mine. So, when I booked my first job on a sketch show called So Random, my dreams were literally coming true. The words of women like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler helped me while working on the show and in real life.

If you have ever seen my Instagram, you know I agree with Amy on this point. Radical Role Model Quality 2: Positive

When choosing your role model, picking someone who lifts others up is important. I think that my girl Taylor Swift (praise be unto her) explains my point perfectly:

This is one of about a million examples of Taylor being 7,000% correct. It’s easy for us, as girls, to judge one another. We are all wired to compete, but why spend the energy on “tearing each other down” when you can embrace one another and have fun? Seriously, if you don’t have awesome lady-friends (the kind who will you bake Funfetti cupcakes and watch Gossip Girl with you), you’re missing out. The point is, you will always find quali-ties you don’t like in others. However, instead of focusing on the negative, focus on what you value about them. Embrace your differences. I know that sounds like an after-school special, but it’s true.

Radical Role Model Quality 3: Giving

I couldn’t think of a better word for “do-gooder,” but I think Michelle Obama fits the de-scription perfectly. The FLOTUS herself explains, “Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” Our First Lady is the perfect example of someone who is making a difference. She has put so much effort into fighting childhood obesity through her “Lets Move” campaign, and helped millions of military families across the country with the Joining Forces initiative. Also, did I mention that she attended Princeton AND Harvard?

She’s proof that, no matter how high you climb on the ladder of success, the most rewarding thing is always giving back. Her efforts inspire me everyday to better myself and the world around me. I want girls everywhere to be inspired to do the same thing. Radical Role Model Quality 4: Heroic

I know I’ve focused mostly on my famous role models, but it’s important to have women in your real life you can admire. Personal heroes can be mothers, sisters, friends, aunts, or anyone! Being able to talk to and take advice from someone you really look up to is priceless. I have many strong, positive, power women in my life. This includes my terri-fic Grandmother.

Now you know where I get my good looks. My Grandma was actually my inspiration for this whole essay! She raised four children and went back to school to get her degree at forty. Now she stays just as busy teaching tai chi and delivering Meals on Wheels. She has every single quality I’ve listed above and is one of my favorite people in the world. I have learned so much through her example. Sometimes you don’t know it, but the best role-models are sitting right in front of you. To end this essay on all things role models, I will take a note from another one of my role models: Ellen Degeneres. She has buttoned all 1,906 episodes of Ellen with the same five words, “Be kind to one another.” Images via here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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