A Recap of the First Democratic Debates

A Recap of the First Democratic Debates

Image: Democratic Presidential Candidates Participate In First Debate Of 2020 Election Over Two Nights

{ image via Getty Images/NBC }

Last week, the first of the 2020 presidential debates took place for the Democratic nominees. According to Ballotpedia, there are currently twenty-five Democratic presidential candidates. However, only the twenty with the highest polling numbers and donor contributions made it on to the debate stage. The candidates were split into two groups of ten that debated over two nights on NBC/MSNBC. (One thing that I appreciated about these debates is that the candidates were chosen at random for each night, meaning presidential hopefuls polling at higher and lower ends of the spectrum ended up on the stage each night. This was a contrast to 2016’s Republican debates, which featured higher-tiered and lower-tiered debates. You can guess which of those debates got more viewers.) The debates were moderated by Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, and Jose Diaz-Balart, with an additional panel comprised of Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow.

So, how did the debates go, you ask? Let me break it down for you.

*All of my opinions below are based solely on debate performance, not on whether or not I agree with a candidate’s ideology and policy proposals.*

Night One

Candidates: Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill De Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Elizabeth Warren

I was most impressed with: Julián Castro

I was least impressed with: Beto O’Rourke

Politics is often akin to a circus, and it was not long before the circus began during the first debate. During the answer to his very first question, Beto O’Rourke began speaking Spanish (not very good Spanish, I might add). Not to be outdone, Cory Booker later did the exact same thing…after he stared at Beto in complete shock, becoming an Internet meme forever. Amidst all of this bilingual chaos, Elizabeth Warren established herself as the debate’s front-runner in the first half. She gave clear, direct answers and had a ready-to-explain plan for every issue. She showed true leadership when other candidates seemed to be floundering.

One of the biggest talking-points of the 2020 campaign is, of course, healthcare. When asked who was ready to immediately abolish private insurance and move to Medicare-for-all, only Warren and De Blasio said yes. Booker and Gabbard do support Medicare-for-all, but aren’t quite so ready to jump in. O’Rourke and Delaney said no. Perhaps Amy Klobuchar put it best when she said that although everyone has different plans and paths to get there, all of the candidates are in favor of universal healthcare.

Klobuchar and Gabbard were certainly the more moderate candidates of the night. I found myself liking both of them, although neither had a huge night. Unfortunately, Delaney, Inslee, and Ryan remain the mysterious candidates that we know little about. While Warren was a standout in the beginning, she could not keep her momentum going long enough to stop Castro from becoming the night’s breakout star. His comprehensive immigration plan was impressive, as was his experience serving in the Obama administration. He certainly made a name for himself. But someone who didn’t? O’Rourke, who did not live up to the excitement his campaign has generated. His answers and ideas were, honestly, lackluster.

Night Two

Candidates: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang

I was most impressed with: Kamala Harris

I was least impressed with: Joe Biden

Night two’s circus-factor came from the lack of civility on stage. Unlike night one, when everyone was fairly courteous, the second debate featured candidates yelling over each other, trying to answer questions that weren’t directed at them, and calling out each other and President Trump. Adding to the circus even more (and in a much more entertaining fashion) was candidate/spiritual leader/author Marianne Williamson, who has become the Internet’s new favorite person. At one point, she said her first act as president would be to call New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who said her country would be the greatest place to live, and tell her, “Girlfriend, you are so on.”

Bernie, of course, continued his “Democratic Socialist” spiel, prompting Hickenlooper to insist that the party needs to stay as far away from socialism as possible. Bernie and Harris were the only two candidates to agree to abolishing private insurance this night (although Harris seemed to possibly recant that statement in a later interview). Joe Biden had a huge target on his back the entire night, taking heat from Swalwell who claimed to have witnessed Biden give a speech about passing the torch to the next generation of leaders – when Swalwell was just six years old. He also faced strong criticism from Harris over his past stance on busing and segregation in what was surely the most memorable moment of the night. To add insult to injury, Biden had no response when Diaz-Balart brought up the Obama administration’s deportations of illegal immigrants when Biden criticized the current administration for doing the same.

One interesting part of the second debate was the more obscure candidates’ ability to stand out and get time. I think I can actually identify Bennet, Hickenlooper, Swalwell, and Yang now. However, between her takedown of Biden and several other good moments, it was clear that the night belonged to Harris. She truly seemed presidential and ready to take on anything. Biden, on the other hand, did not. I honestly believe he thought he could get through the debate with nothing but rehearsed responses. It did not bode well for him.

We are already seeing some early polls showing effects from the debate, but what will its real aftermath be? Only time will tell.

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The End of the Line

The End of the Line

Avengers

{ image via Marvel/The Wrap }

*Warning: Avengers: Endgame spoilers ahead.*

22 movies. 11 years. And it all came down to this.

“Part of the journey is the end.”

– Tony Stark

If you are not yet privy to the international phenomena known as Avengers: Endgame, allow me to enlighten you. It is somewhat of an ending to a twenty-two film journey that has spanned multiple characters, storylines, and planets. All of it has been based on the comic books made by Marvel, and it has come to be known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

I have never read a comic book in my life. I don’t think that makes me any less of a fan. I have just experienced these stories through a different medium.

The first movie I ever watched within the Marvel Cinematic Universe was The Avengers. It was 2012, the summer before I started middle school. I heard about this very hyped up movie, and I wanted to see it. I am fairly certain that I had never actually seen a superhero movie before in my life, but something about this one intrigued me. So, I went to see it with my dad. And that’s when things changed. I left the theater fascinated by these superheroes. There was a guy who loved America even more than me? And some guy from another planet whose brother kept causing problems? And a guy who was really good at archery? And, most surprising to me, a woman? It certainly wasn’t that I didn’t think a woman could be a superhero. (I had heard of DC’s Wonder Woman and Supergirl.) I had just never seen one before. So, in that way, Black Widow opened up a new, exciting door for me.

After that, it became my mission to watch every MCU film that had been released. Poor, young, tasteless Mary-Faith had some interesting opinions about which films were best. Thankfully, times have changed. But one thing never has – from the very first time I saw him, Captain America has been my favorite superhero. He has embodied the idea of a hero to me. I have loved Steve Rogers as much as I have loved Cap, and I loved him just as much pre-serum, when he was a little guy ready to fight a big bully.

Needless to say, I have seen all 22 films by now. Some have been better than others. (Personally, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Black Panther, and Thor: Ragnarok are the three I consider to be absolutely perfect.) But none of them have been just movies. Some have deeply affected me, like Black Panther, which started a new conversation about representation in film, and Captain Marvel, which was Marvel’s first female-led film. Some say fantasy is escapist, and maybe it is. But these characters have given me strength. If they can do that, then maybe I can do this.

If Wanda Maximoff can lose everyone she loves and fight those who have hurt her…

If Tony Stark can completely change who he is to become a better person…

If Carol Danvers can find her own power after being manipulated for years…

If Natasha Romanoff can accept her past and move on to find a better future with her new family…

If Steve Rogers can consistently choose honor and integrity, no matter what…

Avengers: Endgame was not the end of the road, but for some characters, it was. Watching this movie was a deeply emotional experience for me, as it was for millions of fans (and all of the people sitting around me in the theater who cried with me…shoutout to you guys). It’s been said that this movie is a gift to fans, and I agree with that. But it seems strange that Marvel would thank us when we should be thanking them.

For 22 films. For a new world. For laughs and smiles and tears. For characters to identify with and be inspired by. For stories that will never get old. For Natasha, who taught me to forgive. For Tony, who taught me to grow. For Steve, who taught me to love. Thank you.

“I used to be embarassed because I was just a comic book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.”

– Stan Lee, Former Vice President of Marvel Comics

My Migraine Journey

My Migraine Journey

mighty with migraine

{ #mightywithmigraine started on Instagram by @mindfulmigraine and @the_migraine_life }

June is Migraine Awareness Month. As someone whose life has been affected by chronic migraines in the worst way, migraine awareness is important to me year-round. But, I thought now would be a good time to share my own journey with migraines. Reading the stories of others who have experienced similar things often helps me, so I hope that maybe this can help you.

I had my first migraine when I was twelve. I had been sick with a bad viral illness, and my doctor thought that my migraine was perhaps caused by that. If only that had been the case. Instead, the migraines kept coming. I went to see a neurologist who diagnosed me and began treating me. That was the problem, though. I couldn’t really be treated. None of the medications he prescribed helped me. Or, in some cases, they caused such bad side effects that I was unable to continue taking them.

A few years after my initial migraine diagnosis, my neurologist noticed that my heart rate was a bit high. He decided to take orthostatic blood pressure readings, meaning I would have my blood pressure taken while lying down and then several times while standing up, with about ten minutes between each pressure. This showed that my heart rate increased upon standing, and even more the longer I stood up. He began talking to me about dysautonomia, and I later saw a cardiologist who diagnosed me with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).

According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition that affects circulation (blood flow). It involves the autonomic nervous system (which automatically controls and regulates vital bodily functions) and sympathetic nervous system (which activates the fight or flight response).”

POTS and migraines often go hand-in-hand. Many POTS patients report having migraines as well. As I’ve gotten older, my POTS symptoms have worsened. Simultaneously, my migraines have gotten worse as well.

Now, I have a constant headache. About two or three times a week, this headache intensifies to a full-blown migraine. Sometimes one of my migraines will last for a day or two, sometimes longer. I once had a continuous migraine that lasted for over a month. When a migraine goes on for more than seventy-two hours, my neurologist typically tries to treat it with steroids. If that doesn’t work, I go to the hospital for an IV infusion of multiple medications. This tends to provide some relief after a day or so.

I am not currently on effective treatment for my migraines. I am not exaggerating when I say I have tried every medication typically used for migraines. None of them have helped me. My abortive medicine that I take when I feel one coming on does not help. I have tried Botox, dry needling, and acupuncture to no avail. Recently, the FDA approved several new medications that all work in a similar way and are administered via injection once a month. They are the first true migraine medications (whereas other medicine used in migraine treatment is often anti-seizure, anti-depressant, etc.). I tried the first of the approved medications, Aimovig, for nine months. I only noticed minimal improvement during month two. Other than that, I experienced flu-like symptoms for a few days after the injection, among other side effects.

I think when people hear the word “migraine” they just think it’s a typical headache. They don’t think it’s a big deal. But chronic migraines have taken over my life. I spend most of my time in a dark room. A lot of time in bed. It can be hard to look at a screen or read sometimes, but I do it anyways, because if I stopped doing everything when I had a migraine, I would never do anything. If you talk to me on any given day, no matter how I look, I’m probably experiencing some kind of head pain.

I feel proud of myself for all that I do in spite of my migraines. I’ve gotten a college degree and I’m working on another. I’ve found things that I love to do that I can do when I’m not feeling great. I’ve found things that inspire me and help me keep going, even when it’s hard. I haven’t let migraines stop me, no matter how hard they try. I truly am mighty with migraine.

Celebrities Speaking Out About Mental Health, Pt. 2

Celebrities Speaking Out About Mental Health, Pt. 2

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health awareness is a cause that’s close to my heart. I truly believe that speaking up about the reality of mental illness is one of the best way to break the stigma surrounding it. So, who better to speak up than those with some of the most influence in our society? Last year I wrote about seven celebrities who have spoken up about their struggles with their own mental health. This year I decided to do it again, with a specific focus on stars whose stories have helped and inspired me personally. Here are six celebrities who have chosen to be open about their own mental illnesses:

Chris Evans

chris evans

Chris Evans is not only one of my favorite actors, but someone who I have really come to admire as a person. His openness about his struggle with anxiety has definitely played a part in this. Evans, who is best known for playing Captain America, has shared that his high-profile job has contributed to his anxiety. He initially even turned down the role of Captain America, and began going to therapy after beginning the Marvel role. In a video for Motivation Madness, he gave simple yet profound advice about how to quiet “brain noise” – just tell your mind “shh.”

Bebe Rexha

bebe rexha

Singer Bebe Rexha has never been silent about her struggles with mental illness. It’s a topic she addressed in her hit single “I’m A Mess,” with lyrics like, “It’s gonna be a good, good life / That’s what my therapist say” and “I’m obsessed, I’m embarrassed / I don’t trust no one around us.” She also recently shared that she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder on Twitter, writing, “I’m not ashamed anymore….I love you all very much. And I hope you accept me as I am.”

Carson Daly

carson daly

Carson Daly is the host of The Voice, one of the co-hosts of the Today Show, and recently finished hosting his own late-night talk show, Last Call with Carson Daly. One might assume that his busy schedule means everything is well in Daly’s life, but he has revealed he has generalized anxiety disorder. He says that it helps him to take time to focus on his breathing throughout the day. But his main focus? “I wake up, the alarm goes off, and I just thank God I’ve got another day to get it right and I just worry about today.”

Ariana Grande

ariana grande

Ariana Grande has cemented her status as a pop superstar, but she hasn’t been without her struggles. In 2017, there was a terrorist bombing at her concert in Manchester. The attack deeply affected Grande, who recently shared she has PTSD in a big way – she shared images of her brain scans in her Instagram Story in a side-by-side comparison with scans from a “healthy brain,” all to prove that PTSD is, as she put it, “not a joke.” Grande later said she didn’t want to concern her fans, but wanted to share something she felt was important. And it most certainly is.

Niall Horan

niall horan

Niall Horan was a member of the now permanently on-hiatus boyband One Direction. In the last few years, he has cultivated a relatively successful solo career. However, a lot has changed now that he’s no longer on stage with his four bandmates. Horan has said that he once didn’t even fully believe anxiety was real, but he now struggles with feeling anxious before performing or going on TV. He also has “mild” obsessive compulsive disorder, and “feel[s] like [he] has to do things in a certain way.”

Lady Gagalady gaga

Singer-turned-actress Lady Gaga has never been silent about her mental health. She has had a huge year following the success of her movie, A Star is Born, and she has used her increased fame to shine an even bigger light on bringing awareness to the plight of mental illness. During a speech at the Patron of the Artists Awards, Lady Gaga referenced her diagnoses of dissociation, PTSD, and panic attacks. “We need to share our stories so that global mental health no longer resides and festers in darkness,” she said, referencing the consequences of leaving a taboo surrounding the discussion of mental health. Lady Gaga is one celebrity who is truly leading the way in the fight for better mental health awareness.

{sources: The Mighty | Genius | Health | Today | CNN | Teen Vogue | Teen Vogue | USA Today }
{ image credits: Film Magic/Biography | Getty Images/Elle | Carson Daly on Facebook | One Love Benefit/E! | BBC | Getty Images/Vanity Fair }
My Winter 2019 Favorites

My Winter 2019 Favorites

winter favs.jpg

It’s that time again. Winter is an undeniably long season, but most recently it was not a good one for me. So, I feel like this list is a bit shorter than usual. Regardless, here are a few of my favorite things from winter 2019…

Movies & TV //

Mary Poppins Returns – “Now my heart is so light / That I think I just might / Start feeding the birds / And go fly a kite!” This movie was simply magical. It filled me with joy, made me cry, and made me want to start singing along during my first watch. Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda were perfectly cast. I cannot recommend this enough.

Captain Marvel – O Captain! My Captain! Marvel really can’t stop being the best, can they? They had a lot to live up to with their first female-led film, and they did a fantastic job. Brie Larson was the perfect Captain Marvel, and I can’t wait to see how she fits into the rest of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). This was girl power that wasn’t over-the -top and annoying, and just a really fun story. Also, young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is kind of the best.

Lost – One day I was just scrolling through Hulu, looking for something new to watch, and I thought, “Why not watch this weird sci-fi show about plane crash survivors?” Even though this show can get a little far out sometimes, it had me hooked from the very first episode. There are so many twists and turns that leave you shocked and wondering if you’ll ever know the truth, and just enough flashbacks to get you invested in the characters’ stories. I may be fifteen years late, but I’m glad I’m finally giving this a try.

Beauty //

Bath & Body Works In The Stars lotion – I promise I am not sponsored by Bath & Body Works. (But I am open to that…) I mean, how can I not try a lot of their products when they have the best coupons ever? Anyways, this scent has become my new favorite from B&BW. It’s warm and felt perfect for the colder months, but I have no doubt that I’ll continue using it in the spring. It also lasts longer than any of their other scents. If you weren’t convinced that I love this, I’ve already used half of the bottle, and I can pretty much never get through those things.

Maybelline Shine Compulsion lipsticks – These are lipsticks with a glossy finish (as the name suggests). While I may still be holding on tight to my matte lip products, I do really like these. The formula is great, and I feel like they have pretty good staying power for a shine finish. My personal favorite shade is “Baddest Beige.”

Makeup Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer – This isn’t my favorite concealer ever, but it’s definitely a good one (and I’m very picky). The formula is nice, the shade range is pretty good, and I love the applicator. I really love all of these emerging drugstore brands that aren’t some of the “big names” – they’re releasing some good stuff.

Books //

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Screenplay by J.K. Rowling – This is the script of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which means it’s basically like reading a play. I’m not the biggest fan of reading plays because I really like details, so I was a bit hesitant about reading this. But I really loved it! The story is so lovely that it makes up for anything the book may have been missing. If you enjoyed the movie, I’d definitely recommend this.

Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush – I love the Bush twins and I’ve wanted to pick up this book since it was first released. It did not disappoint. The stories Jenna and Barbara told about their family, their upbringing, and their father and grandfather’s presidencies were entertaining and endearing. I enjoyed getting to know more about both of them and getting a behind-the-scenes look at their lives.

Quotes & Scriptures //

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23

“Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can.” – Unknown

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5

“Without your past, you could never have arrived – so wondrously and brutally, by design or some violent, exquisite happenstance…here.” – Taylor Swift

Songs //

  • “Light On” by Maggie Rogers
  • “Kingdom” by Carrie Underwood
  • “Rich (Radio Edit)” by Maren Morris
  • “Invisible Ink (Rebecca’s Demo)” by Mandy Moore
  • “Die From A Broken Heart” by Maddie & Tae
  • “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” by Taylor Swift
  • “Last Night’s Mascara” by Brynn Cartelli
  • “One Man Band” by Old Dominion
  • “The Cure” by Little Mix
  • “Defender” by Francesca Battistelli ft. Steffany Gretzinger
  • “Make It Sweet” by Old Dominion
  • “Bridges” by Johnnyswim
The Best Fashion from Awards Season 2019

The Best Fashion from Awards Season 2019

I feel like I’ve used my blog as an opportunity to write about a lot of things I love. There is, however, one topic I have not touched on: fashion. Ever since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated by the world of fashion. I even had my own distinctive style as a child (only dresses, lost of pink, and always a hair bow). Some may see fashion as fickle, but I find it interesting. What’s better than knowing that every day you can express yourself through the clothes you choose to wear? So, it’s not surprising that I’ve come to pay attention to celebrity style and trends. I love watching awards shows, but I love the red carpet specials just as much. I wanted to showcase three women and men (because men’s fashion is much more than penguin suits) who I feel showed exemplary choices with their style during the recent 2019 awards season. From elegant to over-the-top, these are looks that I loved, and I doubt I will soon forget.

Lady Gaga

gaga

gaga 2

Did Lady Gaga ever wear a bad look on the red carpet this season? (The answer is no.) The singer and actress, who received multiple nominations for her role in A Star is Born, seemed to touch on all of the facets of fashion. There were more simple choices, like the Calvin Klein dress she wore to the Critics’ Choice Awards; the extravagant Valentino gown for the Golden Globes that was a nod to one of Judy Garland’s looks in her version of A Star is Born; and her elegant Academy Awards choice, an Alexander McQueen tribute to Audrey Hepburn’s iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s style, complete with a giant Tiffany & Co. diamond necklace. Gone are the meat dresses of the past. A fashion star has been born.

Timothée Chalamet

timothee

I don’t think that menswear has to be boring, relegated to black tuxedos and black bowties. Timothée Chalamet apparently agrees with me. Nominated at several awards shows for his role in Beautiful Boy, Timothée went with an eye-catching pattern at the BAFTAs. His Golden Globes look was more subdued, but still featured intricate detailing. For the SAG Awards, it almost looked as if he picked several different pieces from his closet and put them together – but in a good way. Timothée’s future in acting may be bright, but his fashion star is rising as well.

Emma Stone

emma

Emma Stone made the awards show rounds for her role in The Favourite, often clad in Louis Vuitton, for whom she is a brand ambassador. My personal favorite look of hers was the feminine dress she wore to the Golden Globes; she was, in my opinion, definitely one of the best dressed of the night. I also loved her structured pants look for the SAG Awards, and her colorful gown for the Producers’ Guild Awards was a bright spot when many stars tend to shy away from bright color. Just as Emma’s acting career is on the rise, so is her status as a fashion maven.

Chadwick Boseman

chad

Wakanda forever! Chadwick Boseman is a star who’s style I’m always watching; he is anything but boring. He’s known for sporting the occasional long coat, like he did at the Academy Awards. His patterned jacket at the SAG Awards was paired perfectly with an otherwise all-black look. But it was his white Versace suit at the Golden Globes that, quite literally, sparkled. Chadwick is well-known for his role in Black Panther, the first superhero film ever nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, but I feel he will soon be known for his style too.

Julia Roberts

julia

Julia Roberts was not nominated for any awards this season, but that’s no matter – she’s so famous she gets invited to all of the shows anyways. To me, Julia is one of those people who never really looks bad. (Is it even possible?) This year, she showed off her love for pants, something I definitely support. Her Golden Globes look from one of my favorite designers, Stella McCartney, was absolutely stunning, and is by far one of my highlights of the entire 2019 awards season. She wore another lovely look with pants to the Critics’ Choice Awards, designed by Louis Vuitton. For the Academy Awards, she went with an Elie Saab gown that packed a punch in a bright pink color. Definitely a gorgeous year for Ms. Roberts.

Rami Malek

rami

Rami Malek’s popularity exploded this year after his starring role in Bohemian Rhapsody, which he won several awards for. Although, for the most part, he stuck with traditional tuxedo styles on the red carpet, he never shied away from a splash of color. At the Critics’ Choice Awards he went with a light grey option from Givenchy. His choice for the SAG Awards was a sleek all-black look from Dior Men. But his brightest choice was a red Berluti suit for the LA Film Critics Association Awards. After Rami’s warm reception from both critics and audiences, I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him, meaning there’s only more exciting red carpet looks to come.

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”

– Rachel Zoe

{ images & designer information via Hello | ABC | Elle | PeoplePeople | Standard | Vanity Fair | Harper’s Bazaar | Harper’s Bazaar | Popsugar | Popsugar | Yahoo | Popsugar | CBS | The Cut | The Hollywood Reporter | People | People | E! News }
18 Women Who Inspired Me in 2018

18 Women Who Inspired Me in 2018

Last year, one of my favorite posts that I wrote was 17 Women Who Inspired Me in 2017. I decided to keep the trend going this year. Once again, I listed only women who were publicly known for some reason. I also made things harder for myself by not including any women from last year’s list (I’m sorry, Nikki Haley). The 18 women listed below inspired and encouraged me last year, and continue to do so.

  1. Meghan Markle

meghan 2

Let me be clear: I do not find Meghan Markle inspiring because she married a prince and had the greatest wedding ever. The Duchess of Sussex has inspired me because she has used her influence, both as an actress before her wedding, and now with her new status as a princess, to make a difference. She has spoken out about worthy causes, she has joined Prince Harry and his family in their charitable work, and she has broken royal protocol by wearing dark nail polish. That is what makes someone a true princess.

“Women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness.”

  1. Lauren Daigle

lauren

I don’t know if you all noticed, but Lauren took over the music industry last year. She had an album that reached the top of the iTunes charts, and a song that came very close to doing the same. She has performed on multiple television shows, including The Tonight Show and Dancing with the Stars. Her music has been praised by everyone from Keith Urban to Selena Gomez. Oh, and she’s a Christian music artist. Yes, Lauren Daigle has been successful and won awards, but she’s done it while singing songs about her faith and keeping none of the glory for herself. She is, in my opinion, one of the best examples we could have in today’s world.

“I think the second we start drawing lines around which people are supposed to be approached and which aren’t, we’ve already completely missed the heart of God.”

  1. Aly Raisman

ally

Ally was one of multiple gymnasts abused by former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar. She has not only been vocal in her condemnation of Nassar, but she has also spoken out against USAG and has become a strong advocate for survivors of sexual assault. Ally has inspired so many through her athletic abilities and strong representation of her country in competitions. Now she is taking on a new role, and people everywhere are taking notice.

“You can’t always be the best. You have to remember that everyone makes mistakes sometimes.”

  1. Keala Settle

keala

If you have not seen The Greatest Showman…your life must be really sad…just kidding. But, if you haven’t, then you probably don’t know that Keala played Lettie, the bearded lady, and sang the film’s breakout song, “This Is Me.” Keala has lifted so many through this song, all while fighting a dangerous neurological condition that almost ruined her Oscars performance. But, true to form, she fought through it. This song, and, by extension, Keala, have truly encouraged me.

“I love people that go the distance. I hate things that are lukewarm. They’ve got to be one way or the other and go all the way.”

  1. Abby Sams

abby

Abby was part of one of Aerie’s #AerieReal modeling campaigns, which put young women with disabilities in the spotlight. Among other medical conditions, Abby has POTS, which I have as well. Seeing someone like me model? That was a huge moment for me (that possibly involved some tears). I am forever grateful to both Aerie and Abby for showing the world that disabilities can’t stop you.

“We are made for change. Face it boldly and bravely. You’ve got this and God’s got you. There is nothing to fear in that.”

  1. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

rbg

“You can’t spell truth without Ruth.” I’ve been an admirer of RBG’s for a while now, but in 2018 I became a full-on fangirl (of a SCOTUS justice, yes) when I wrote a paper on the Lily Ledbetter case and the resulting Fair Pay Act, all of which Justice Ginsburg had a hand in. Throw in an amazing documentary, and I had a new hero. Quite simply, Ruth was fighting for my rights decades before I was born, and this country would be lightyears behind where it is today without her tireless fight for gender equality.

“When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough women on the Supreme Court?’ and I say when there are nine, people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”

  1. Carrie Underwood

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I mean, Carrie Underwood is kind of a queen, if you hadn’t noticed. Last year, she opened up about her concerns about her ability to have more children as she got older, only to later reveal the fantastic news that she was pregnant again. Her vulnerability and honesty were remarkable. If that wasn’t enough, she released a new album, Cry Pretty, featuring the songs “Love Wins” and “The Bullet,” offering a sobering reminder to both sides of the aisle for the need for change and compassion.

“If I can convince [people] that there is a God and that they need to know Him, then I have done my job.”

  1. Michelle Obama

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I can’t explain it, I just love Mrs. Obama. Her rawness and honesty have been refreshing. She has brought humor and levity during a time when we are in desperate need of it. I was particularly inspired by her rejection of the concept of “leaning in” – that, in her opinion, it is simply not possible to have it all, all at once. She may be a former first lady, but I think she may just be one of us too.

“There is no magic to achievement. It’s really about hard work, choices, and persistence.”

9 & 10. Savannah Guthrie & Hoda Kotb

savannah hoda

Okay, this might technically be cheating, since I’m including two women together, but anyone who has seen the Today Show recently can’t deny that Savannah and Hoda are a packaged deal. After the firing of Matt Lauer, Hoda began filling in as co-anchor alongside Savannah, and it was clear they were the perfect team. So, NBC decided to make things permanent, making the Today Show the first morning show to be anchored by two women. Savannah and Hoda are fun, witty, and have a great connection that endears them to viewers. Yes, women definitely can win at broadcast journalism.

“I would never put my job before my family.” – Savannah

“If we all helped one person, wouldn’t the world be an unbelievable place?” – Hoda

  1. Taylor Swift

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Look what you made her do. I’ve been a fan of Taylor since I was, like…seven. Those are some pretty deep ties right there. But something about her latest album, reputation, just spoke to me. It was powerful. It was game-changing. It was a fifteen-song package of everything I needed to hear. In addition to her music, Taylor has continued to show that she is closely connected to her fans. She also released the greatest concert film of all time that had me screaming lyrics at the top of my lungs in my living room.

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

  1. Tori Foles

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Tori is married to former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. Tori also has POTS. Since the Eagles’ Super Bowl win, she and her husband have spoken at several events to spread awareness for POTS. Nick has also been involved in raising money for Dysautonomia International. Seeing someone live with the same illness I have and work to help more people understand it has truly inspired me.

“I love that my body is unique and unlike any other. God made all of us as one of a kind and that is pretty cool.”

  1. Jenna Bush Hager

Build Presents Jenna Bush Hager & Barbara Pierce Bush Discussing Their Book "Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life"

I have loved watching Jenna on the Today Show for several years now, but in 2018 she truly took center stage as her job forced her to work as somewhat of a media liaison for her family after the passing of both of her grandparents. Jenna showed grace and strength in the face of both of these tragedies, both as a public personality, and as a granddaughter. I continue to admire her and many members of her family.

“I hope to focus on what I’m passionate about because I think I’d do the best job on them – education, urban education, women and children’s issues and literacy.”

  1. Ava DuVernay

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Ava DuVernay is a director. And she’s kind of a big deal. In 2018, she directed the film adaption of A Wrinkle in Time. This film, along with Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler, gave the box office its first weekend with films by African American directors holding the top two spots. She also created the OWN series Queen Sugar, which has been completely directed by women. Aside from these huge accomplishments, Ava has shared nuggets of wisdom (and political opinions) across social media. She is certainly leading the charge for women, in more ways than one.

“If your dream is only about you, it’s too small.”

  1. Annie F. Downs

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Annie is a Christian writer and speaker. In 2018, I completed her 100 Days to Brave devotional. It had a huge impact on me, and affected me much more than I expected. Annie’s writing is beautiful and relatable, and she is a joy to follow on social media. I’m so glad that I let her be a part of my journey in 2018.

“Something about today is worth noticing and celebrating, because it won’t last forever. I hope you find it.”

  1. Hallie Jackson

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Hallie Jackson is NBC’s chief White House correspondent. Basically, she’s the one who stands near the White House reporting on the day’s events on the Nightly News. She’s also the one who shouts questions at the president during press briefings, and she doesn’t shy away from tough ones. (For example, she asked President Trump why his cabinet members were set to receive a raise while other federal government employees were still not being paid due to the recent government shutdown.) Although I may be interested in print journalism, I love Hallie and her reporting style, and she has certainly helped shape my opinions on journalism.

“Yes, I know I talk too fast.”

  1. Kacey Musgraves

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Kacey Musgraves is a country singer-songwriter. In 2018, she released her critically-acclaimed album Golden Hour, which ended up on many best-of-the-year lists (including my mental one, which is basically as important as NPR’s). She received a CMA Award for Album of the Year, as well as multiple Grammy wins, including for the competitive Album of the Year category. Golden Hour is, in my opinion, one of the most exciting country music albums to be released in quite some time, and shows that Kacey truly is unique in the best way.

“Just do something that makes you stand out. Even if not everyone likes it, just do it.”

  1. Jacinda Ardern

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Jacinda Ardern is the current Prime Minister of New Zealand. As if being a female world leader wasn’t enough, last year she became only the second sitting major world leader to give birth while in office. She has chosen to continue working, meaning the baby will stay at home with her daddy, who is happy to allow Prime Minister Ardern to continue running the world – or at least part of it.

“I never, ever grew up as a young woman believing that my gender would stand in the way of doing anything I wanted.”

{ quotes via UN Women on Instagram | Facebook | GoogleBrainyquote | Abby Sams on Instagram | Bret Baier on Instagram | Whiskey Riff | Google | Brainyquote | Brainyquote | Google | The Strong Movement |Google | Brainyqoute | Annie F. Downs on Instagram | Hallie Jackson on Twitter | Google | Brainyquote }
{ images via Time| Pinterest | Alexandra Raisman on Instsgram | Style Bistro | Abby Sams on Twitter | Elle | Pinterest | Refinery 29 | Parade | Pinterest | The Strong Movement | Time | Ava DuVernay on Instagram | Goodreads | Duke | NY Times | Pinterest | Forbes }