Most inspiring women in film and TV
Celebrating International Women’s Day by recognising the industry’s pioneers, radicals and role models
This week we're celebrating International Women’s Day by recognising inspiring female role models across the arts world. Here we look at women in the film and television industries – who stands out and why they deserve recognition as we approach IWD 2015.
The world is having a love affair with Jennifer Lawrence at the moment, and frankly, who can blame it? The Oscar-winning actress is known for her candid humour (see her post-Academy Awards interview), she refuses to lose weight for a part because she ‘doesn’t want little girls to be like, 'Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I'm going to skip dinner!', and when asked about her response to those who judge others based on appearance, she gave a succinct, yet perfect answer: ‘Well, screw them’.
Actress, comedian, writer, producer: it’s hard to pin down just one of the areas Tina Fey succeeds in. She has won eight Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, five Screen Actors Guild Awards, four Writers Guild Awards, and is responsible for the highly successful Mean Girls. She is a hero for aspiring actresses and comedians, and her attitude to fellow females perfectly reflects something her 30 Rock character Liz Lemon once said: ‘I support women, I’m like a human bra’.
Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler is a multi-talented (and multi-award winning) actress, comedian, voice artist, director, producer and writer. She won the hearts of women all over the world with her critically acclaimed and pro-feminist book of nonfiction essays, Yes Please, and for the past two years has done an exceptional job of hosting the Golden Globes with the equally excellent Tina Fey. She also established the #AskHerMore movement, which encouraged the media to ask female award attendees more than just ‘who are you wearing’. Now let’s just sit back and enjoy some of her best Golden Globes gags.
Let’s start with that Oscar acceptance speech, shall we? Having won the Best Supporting Actress award for her role in Boyhood, she used her time on stage to talk about the need for wage equality for women. After the Haiti earthquake in 2010, she formed GiveLove with a childhood friend, a non-profit organization supporting ecological sanitation and community development projects in the area, and she has been campaigning to raise awareness of breast cancer ever since her mother died of it in 1997.
The actress, comedian, writer, and producer shot to fame on The Office, where she played gossip-loving Kelly Kapoor. She was also a co-executive producer, director, and writer on the show. She later wrote and produced the critically acclaimed series, The Mindy Project, in which she plays Mindly Lahiri, a gynecologist with all kinds of relationship drama. She is quoted as saying ‘My dream of course, as a writer and a person who's an entertainer, is: Grow up to be Mindy Kaling, don't grow up to be Mindy Lahiri’, inspiring women the world over to be proud of who they are.
As if being Hermione Granger wasn’t inspiring enough, Emma Watson has gone on to become a UN ambassador, which saw her become the face of #HeforShe: a campaign which extended an invitation to men to participate in the conversation about gender equality. She was named Celebrity Feminist of the Year in 2014 by the Ms. Foundation For Women, and recently she addressed the rumours that she was dating Prince Harry with an on-point retort: a link to Alfonso Cuaron’s Little Princess, accompanied by the comment, ‘marrying a Prince not a prerequisite for being a Princess’.
Actress, musician, producer? Check. As well as having hugely successful roles in films such as (500) Days of Summer, and TV shows such as New Girl, of which she's also a producer, Zooey Deschanel is the co-founder of lifestyle blogging site Hello Giggles. The site is geared towards women, has an intelligent, feminist slant, and has a strict ‘no gossip’ policy, which adds to its perception as a positive online community. She is also a multi-instrumentalist, and half of successful indie group She & Him.
The actress and film director holds a Master’s Degree in acting from Yale, and won an Oscar for her first feature film role in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. She is also known for a moving speech she delivered on ideas of beauty, which won the hearts of women the world over, and in 2014, Glamour magazine named her ‘Woman of the Year’.
Diablo Cody (also known as Brook Busey-Maurio)
The multi-award winning screenwriter, producer and director became known for her blog The Pussy Ranch, which chronicled her year as a stripper. She then went on to write the scripts for Juno, Jennifer’s Body and Young Adult, and has recently been charged with penning Sony's new Barbie film (which will hopefully make it watchable).