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Inspiring Women

So I've been sitting on this post for a while but seemed particularly apt considering International Women's Day the other week. So I thought I would post my list of the ten women who really inspire me. All of these women are confident and courageous. They work hard. They are passionate. They wear their heart on their sleeve. They don't pretend to be anyone they're not to get where they are. They embrace their strengths and their weaknesses. They make people sit up and listen. They work with integrity and make smart choices. They're not afraid to fail and they succeed because of that.

Jessie J



I'm always nostalgic for the days when singers would really perform. I look back on videos of Shirley Bassey in her heyday and wish we could have some of that - so it really was exciting when Jessie J came onto the scene. She has roots in musical theatre and that translates into her performances - she sells the songs by telling the story. She is expressive and not afraid to make herself look ugly. She has a confidence where she is not afraid to take risks with vocals or performance style, and also with her appearance and stage outfits. I also admire her for her healthy lifestyle, and for getting through difficult health issues. She was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat when she was 11 and then suffered a minor stroke when she was 18. She doesn't drink, smoke or do drugs. In an age of celebrities such as Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan etc - there is finally a worthy role model for young girls. I also love the fact she's an Essex girl from a humble background who has fought for her career.

Adele



"Mum I done good!" - says it all really. A beautiful voice but the most down to earth girl with a cackle of a laugh to rival my own! Also watch this interview and be prepared to laugh a lot.

Abi Morgan



Abi Morgan is an English playwright and screenwriter. She very suddenly appeared to be everywhere and looking at her work you can see how hardworking and how talented this woman is. She has written: Brick Lane, The Iron Lady, Shame, Birdsong and Frantic Assembly's Love song, to name just a few.

Ruby Wax



To be honest I never used to think much of her when I would see her on telly. It was only really when I saw her show 'Losing It' that she really came onto my radar. The show addressed the difficulties of life - how there is no manual and how we can feel like we are failing a lot of the time but we have to pretend otherwise. The show also addressed mental illness and the stigma behind it. The show was funny but at the same time incredibly moving. She was inspiring in her theatrical style but also in her completely honest depiction of what she went through. There was an interval and after that a question and answer session, where a room full of fifty people suddenly felt comfortable talking about their own experiences with mental illness. That experience gave me this desire to help eradicate the stigma around mental health and that turned out to be through talking about my own experiences. Firstly I wrote about the show and my own thoughts on stigma about a year ago. Then after making notes over a couple of months I finally got the courage to write and post an article about the details of my experience with depression and anxiety. The response to that post has been overwhelming, and I really don't think I would have written it without seeing that show. Ruby has since gone onto create a support website, Black Dog Tribe, where fellow sufferers can find and subsequently help eachother online.

Karen Finley



Without studying a 'Performing the Body' course at the University of Sussex I never would have known of this woman's existence. Karen Finley is an American performance artist who shocks and as such has struggled with losing funding because of her subject matters and style of presentation. Her subject is the unspeakable and her style is one that I had not seen before. If you can get a copy of 'Shut Up & Love Me' on dvd - do. She tells the story, it is almost poetic, she is naked and rolling around in honey but she is not sexy, she froths at the mouth like a dog and barks and then becomes composed again in one minute. It is bizarre and it is powerful.

Kate Winslet



There's a few film actors whose careers I follow: if there is a film and they're in it I will probably want to see it. Not just because Kate is an incredible actor but because she has made good choices throughout her career. She also comes across as a lovely person, obviously no way of knowing that for sure but nice all the same! Her appearance in Extras also showed she doesn't take herself too seriously.

Natalie Portman



Same as Kate Winslet, another actress whose career I follow. Also it's nice to see her progressing with roles: often cast in the cute and quirky roles, seeing her in Black Swan was a shock but a good one. Not only does she have a strong acting career behind her, she also has a psychology degree from Harvard University and she works with charity FINCA to help young women in developing countries.

Kristin Chenoweth



A perfect example of being a determined career woman while still being yourself and being `sweet. To get ahead in your career you do not have be steely eyed and completely serious: you can work hard but be yourself, and for Kristin that is being a 4'11 blonde from Oklahoma, a devoted Christian and a devoted lover of fast food. She is a musical theatre star with training in opera and chat show hosts love her for her endearing nature. She takes her work seriously but she doesn't take herself too seriously.

Sara Ramirez



This is what I mean by a risk taking performer. She commits completely to what she is doing and is hilarious because of it.

Elizabeth LeCompte



Artist director of the Wooster Group, Elizabeth LeCompte creates visually stunning and complicated but seamless productions which incorporate technology alongside incredible performances. She brings her ambitious vision to life.

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