In a world that's dominated by the Kardashians, it's important that young girls have good role models to look up to. The media is full of images of heavily edited celebrities who have undergone extreme diets and wear too much make-up. This has a negative impact on girls, particularly teenagers who are at an impressionable age. Audiences need role models that are relatable and talented, give back to their community, and have realistic body proportions. Here are some of the best female role models:
While many Disney stars have fallen prey to the odd scandal or two, Hilary Duff has managed to keep her squeaky clean image for almost three decades. Not once have I heard anything negative about her, and she has matured from a well-known child star into a successful woman. Hilary may be most famous for starring as the lead in Lizzie McGuire, but she has also appeared in a number of films, including Cheaper By the Dozen and A Cinderella Story, and she has released three albums. Beyond that, Hilary Duff has written a dystopian trilogy for young adults and launched her own perfume collection. In recent years, Hilary has donated some of her earnings to charities that deal with cancer, poverty and disadvantaged youths.
There is so much to love about Jennifer Lawrence; I'm pretty sure I could fill up a whole book! She's classy, intelligent and down-to-earth. Sure, she has made a few silly comments, but hasn't everyone? Jennifer is best known for her role as the feisty and fearless Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games films, and she has also played the leading female characters in Joy, Winter's Bone and Silver Linings Playbook. Another thing I like about Jennifer is that she isn't afraid to make fun of herself. She acknowledges that she makes mistakes, just like the rest of us. Jennifer also understands that girls will look up to Katniss and refused to lose weight for the part as she knew the audience would copy her.
Whether you love her or hate her, you've got to admit that what Zoe Sugg, a.k.a. Zoella, has achieved is pretty amazing. It's like Zoe has her own mini empire, with her YouTube channel, books and beauty range. Zoe's success in the vlogging world has encouraged more and more young girls to follow their dreams and not give up. People seem to think that vlogging is easy and can't be considered 'real work', but it actually requires a lot of time, patience and dedication. Having a vlog isn't something just anyone can do, and I admire Zoe for continuing to be a total girl boss despite her anxiety and all the criticism she has received over the years.
J. K. Rowling
J. K. Rowling is without a doubt one of the most inspirational women out there. She went from living on benefits to being hugely successful in just a small amount of time - what's not to admire about that? J. K. Rowling created an alternative universe in the form of the Harry Potter books, which were made into films and inspired thousands of stories on FanFiction. Rowling is adored by adults and children around the world and has encouraged more people to take an interest in reading. She is also a feminist and believes that women should be able to make their own choices. As with some of the other women on this list, J. K. Rowling has helped a number of charities, including Comic Relief, Book Aid International and Make A Child Smile Appeal.
I have admired Julie Andrews ever since I first saw her as Maria in The Sound of Music when I was about five or six. She is an amazing actress and has a beautiful singing voice. I also thought that Julie Andrews was fantastic in Mary Poppins and The Princess Diaries, which are two of my favourite films. Julie is well-spoken and genuine. She's never been involved in any drama (as far as I'm aware) and it's amazing that she is still acting in her 80s.
I had to include one of the main girls from Pretty Little Liars, and Lucy Hale seemed like the obvious choice. Her character Aria is my favourite on the show (with Shay Mitchell's Emily following closely behind). So why do I consider Lucy a role model? Well, for starters Lucy has a lovely personality and will stop to take photos with her fans, which is a rare thing for a celebrity to do. She also keeps her private life private, so it's not often that you hear about her in the media - most articles that mention Lucy Hale are focused on Pretty Little Liars. Not many people will know this, but Lucy can sing too. She has a country-style album entitled 'Road Between', which unfortunately didn't get the recognition it deserved.
It's hard not to fall in love with Taylor Swift. She has a great personality and she's the kind of girl that everyone wants to be besties with. Taylor is fashionable and cares about her fans, unlike a lot of other celebrities. Girls can easily relate to the lyrics in her songs; Taylor normally sings about breakups and relationships. Whenever I'm having a bad day, I stick on one of Taylor's albums and I instantly feel much better.
Shailene Woodley has come a long way since the days of The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She has played the lead in a number of big films, such as The Fault in Our Stars, The Descendants and Divergent. She won awards for her performances in all three films, including Best Young Actress for The Descendants. Shailene is quite different to other Hollywood stars since she is an avid environmentalist and is passionate about protecting the world for future generations. She prefers to make her own beauty products, using natural ingredients like clay and coconut oil. If Shailene wasn't an actress, she'd probably "be a herbalist, or [maybe I would] open a fruit stand on a Hawaiian island."
9. Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie was named one of the world's most admired women back in 2015, and it's not surprising. She's incredibly wealthy and talented - Angelina is an Oscar-winning actress as well as a filmmaker. She also has to look after several children and has a charitable heart. Angelina became a Goodwill Ambassador in 2001 and has visited refugees in a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Cambodia and Kenya. Together with her ex-husband Brad Pitt, Angelina set up the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, which aimed to help people who live in extreme poverty.
10. Demi Lovato
Although I've been aware of Demi Lovato since she starred in Camp Rock almost a decade ago, it's only recently that she has become one of my role models. She oozes confidence and didn't let her bulimia and other health issues stop her from becoming one of the most likeable and talented young stars. From singing to dancing to acting, there isn't anything that Demi Lovato can't do. Like Lucy Hale and Taylor Swift, Demi puts her fans first and she reminds teenagers that they are not alone and should "never be afraid to ask for help."
11. Emma Watson
Harry Potter star Emma Watson has been considered one of the most inspirational women in the world ever since she first appeared on our screens back in 2001, and it's easy to see why. Emma is still relatively young but she is worth millions and set to become the most wealthy woman in the world, overtaking Jennifer Lawrence. She is also a major name in feminism and believes that "it is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals." In other words, people should be treated the same, regardless of whether they are male or female. Emma was recently criticised for posing in a revealing outfit on a recent cover of Vanity Fair but came back with a witty response: "Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It's about freedom. It's about liberation. It's about equality. I really don't know what my tits have to do with it." Emma Watson, I salute you.
12. Anne Frank
Okay, so she may not have been alive for decades, but I think Anne Frank is someone all young girls should look up to. She was so brave and managed to stay positive, despite the horror that was happening in the world at the time. Anne was also a normal person, not a celebrity like most of the other women on this list. The Diary of Anne Frank is one of my favourite books of all time and I urge you to read it if you haven't already.