18 Women Who Inspired Us in 2018

...and what we're taking from them in to 2019.

2018 was nothing if not transformative; it was filled with growing pains and historic change. Hope came out of times of absolute hopelessness, with groundbreaking women at the forefront of it.

Women inspired us in all areas of life: politics, entertainment, sports, and media — just to name a few. While way more than these 18 women influenced us this year, these were particularly notable — they’re fearless, change-provoking, and quite simply, badass.

We loved watching them in 2018, and can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for them.

 

1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ocasio-Cortez took the midterms by storm by becoming the youngest woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives at age 29 — she started 2018 as a bartender in New York.

During a year that was completely unconventional politics-wise, Ocasio-Cortez was the face that reminded us that a record-breaking number of women won seats in Congress, and that change can happen. She’s using her voice to advocate for what she believes in, and we’re all ears.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

Never being afraid to stand up for what we believe in — or to dance.

 

 

2. Emma González

After the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School that devastated the country earlier in the year, González became the face of advocating for gun control — despite hate from those who disagree with her. She also cofounded the gun-control group Never Again MSD.

González showed us that no matter how young you are, your voice can matter, and can be used to change people’s minds. Her bravery and persistence will bring even more change in 2019.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

That you’re never too young to make a difference.

 

 

3. Serena Williams

Serena has a permanent spot on the definitive list of the most badass women of all time, but 2018 brought a new set of defining moments for her.

In September, during a heated dispute with an umpire who believed she was receiving coaching from the sidelines, she said, “You owe me an apology. I’ve never cheated in my life. … I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose.” This hit us with the ultimate question: whether or not the ref would be treating her the same way if she was a man.

She stirred up more conversation when her catsuit — which was created to help prevent blood clots — was banned from the French open.

Oh, and she also has a 15-month-old baby.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

Always standing up for ourselves.

 

 

4. Meghan Markle

Source: Max Mumbly

Meghan Markle is (rightfully) always in the spotlight for her incredible style, but her activism earns her even more praise — and it dates back far before her days in the spotlight. She protested against sexism in a commercial when she was just 11. 

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

Always staying true to ourselves.

 

 

5. Judge Rosemary Aquilina

Judge Aquilina was the judge in the Larry Nassar’s trial and received praise for giving a voice to every woman who testified against him. By creating a safe space for the victims to share their stories in the courtroom, she ensured no one went silent and all were all able to share the severity of the impact Larry Nassar had on their lives.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

Using our power to help those who don’t have any.

 

 

6. The Survivors of the Larry Nassar Trial

In the same breath, all of the survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse were a beacon of bravery during his trial. By standing up and and sharing their stories in the courtroom, in the presence of their assaulter, they showed us the power of courage.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

That our voice matters, and we should always have the courage to use it.

 

 

7. Constance Wu

Source: Parade

Fresh Off the Boat actress Constance Wu starred in the groundbreaking Crazy Rich Asians and gave a voice to Asian-Americans in Hollywood last summer. The movie was the first Hollywood blockbuster with an all-Asian cast in over 25 years. According to Wu, the film “is more than a movie, it’s a movement.” (This little girl embodies the importance of the film perfectly.)

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

Being proud of who we are and where we come from.

 

 

8. Emily Weiss

Source: Vogue

God knows none of us can live without our Cloud Paint, and we have Emily Weiss to thank for it. In less than three years, she went from a beauty blogger to the CEO of one of beauty’s most groundbreaking companies. Her story is one of determination and perseverance, and we can’t wait to see what she does in the future.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

Keep working hard, so we can become the boss we’re meant to be.

 

9. Christine Blasey Ford

Source: Reuters

In another tale of pure bravery, Christine Blasey-Ford risked everything to give her testimony against Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh. She encouraged sexual assault survivors to come forward with their stories, and regardless of the outcome of the trial, came out of 2018 as a hero.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

Speaking our truths, no matter how many people aren’t going to like what we have to say.

 

 

10. Beyoncé

Source: Ezra Shaw

Can a list of badass women be complete without Beyoncé? I think not. Beyoncé defined 2018 with her Coachella performance, and reminded us why she will always be the queen. All hail.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

Confidence, confidence, and more confidence.

 

11. Stacey Abrams

Source: UM News

America has never had a Black female governor. In 2018, Stacey Abrams set out to change that — and made history when she received the Democratic party’s nomination for governor of Georgia. Although she didn’t win the seat, the Yale graduate’s campaign showed us the importance of advocating for what you believe in, and we can’t wait to see what she does in the future.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

When we don’t like what we see, we can start the change.

 

 

12. Michelle Obama

Source: Face2Face

Former First Lady Michelle Obama finished 2018 with a best-selling book, Becoming, and continued to be the epitome of poise and class (and finished the year in the most incredible pair of boots we’ve ever laid our eyes on). With a quiet confidence, she’s continuing to make her mark on the world.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

Always chasing our dreams, no matter how far-fetched they may be.

 

 

13. The Women of Time’s Up

Last January, the Time’s Up movement was started by 400 fearless women in the entertainment industry who were ready to see a change — and see change they did. The anti-harassment movement has taken down Hollywood elite — over 200 of them — who had been abusing women for years, and has begun to spread to a wide range of industries. It served as  a catalyst for women everywhere to say “Time’s Up” too.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

No matter how bad things may be, we can be the reason things begin to turn around.

 

 

14. Kamala Harris

Source: The Hill

Junior California Senator Kamala Harris is an outspoken voice fighting for immigration rights and environmental issues. She gained media attention after grilling Jeff Sessions in his June Senate trial, and has continued to garner public support ever since.

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

Never backing down.

 

 

15. Julie Castle

Julie Castle, the CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, is fighting to make America a no-kill-animal-shelter nation by 2025. She’s fighting for what she believes in, and saving animals’ lives along the way — which is something we all can stand for.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

Standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves — and considering adopting, not shopping.

 

 

16. Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande had a crazy year — she got engaged, experienced the loss of her ex-boyfriend, got un-engaged, released an album, and dropped arguably the best music video we’ve ever seen. She reminded us why we love her while receiving Billboard’s Woman of the Year award, when she gave a refreshingly real, tear-filled speech about how the worst year for her personally was the best for her career. We hope 2019 is filled with just as much of her as 2018 was.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

Remembering that even if it looks like somebody has it all, they can still be struggling. Our lives will never be perfect, and that’s okay!

 

 

17. Man Kaur

Source: NPR

At age 101, Man Kaur is a world champion runner, who holds world records in the over-100 categories for a variety events — oh, and she wakes up at 4am every day and does an hour of sprinting practice. She started running in 2009 when her son urged her to take up track and field, when she was already in her 90s.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

That it’s never too late to chase our dreams.

 

 

18. Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Source: The Ryder

RBG is arguably one of the most important people of our time — as the second female Supreme Court justice, she’s been a pioneer for women’s rights for the entirety of her 85 years. Her importance continues to be obvious as she is a voice for women and minorities, and is back at work after broken ribs and cancer surgery quicker than we are after a cold. Her biopic, On the Basis of Sex, is currently in theaters, and we can’t think of a better way to start 2019 than with seeing it.

 

What We’re Taking in to 2019

 

Knowing our value, and having the ambition to do what people say we can’t.

 

 

Who inspired you in 2018? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Amanda

    This is a nice list, but I want to point out that the ‘Me too’ movement was started by Tarana Burke long before the hashtag began trending on Twitter in 2017. Let’s not forget about her founding and attribute the success only to actors that got involved only last year. You can read more about it here. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/15/arts/tarana-burke-metoo-anniversary.html

  • Angie

    I was inspired by lots of prominent women in politics this past year, but they didn’t make this list. Some of my favorites include Nikki Haley, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway…all of whom stand up for themselves and their beliefs (while raising families at the same time!).

    • If you are inspired by people like Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway you need to take a good long look at yourself, honey.

      • Hana Dae

        Says you Lena. Half the population of the US would disagree with your snarky comment.

      • D300

        Such a snide comment from someone who belongs to the party of “tolerance.”

  • D300

    90% of your picks show your liberal bias. I don’t consider women like AOC, Gonzalez and Ford to be remotely inspiring with their lack of facts and truths. Not a single conservative woman chosen. Do you realize you’re alienating half your audience?

  • Shae

    Eva Shockey and Olivia Opre are amazing women who are the perfect mix of badass and loving family members and outdoors women. They are doing incredible things to help conserve wildlife and they love animals! Their priorities are straight and they stand firm on what they believe. They experience Mother Nature through her most difficult techniques and thrive when most men would quit. In the meantime, they raise awareness for the need of wildlife conservation and help save our public lands and our right to experience such beautiful creatures.