THE BLOG
12/11/2013 12:57 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:56 GMT

Cosmopolitan's Ultimate Women of the Year Awards 2013

The sobs happened as we went through the process of finally selecting our real-life award winners. Cosmopolitan's Ultimate Women of the Year Awards are the only awards ceremony that recognise a mixture of famous faces and extraordinary women (and a few amazing men) away from the public eye who have made their mark over the last 12 months.

I have already been reduced to tears by this year's Ultimate Women of the Year Awards. Twice in fact.

Before you ask it wasn't because of a celebrity's ridiculous demands, or the fact I still don't have a clue what I'm going to wear or that I am panicking about organising a huge black tie event at London's Victoria and Albert Museum which is now just a few weeks away, and has been described as "one of the most anticipated magazine awards of the year". (Although having just written the latter has made me feel just a little more stressed.)

No, the sobs happened as we went through the process of finally selecting our real-life award winners. Cosmopolitan's Ultimate Women of the Year Awards are the only awards ceremony that recognise a mixture of famous faces and extraordinary women (and a few amazing men) away from the public eye who have made their mark over the last 12 months. These are the people who give you the proverbial kick-up-the-arse when you look at how they have lived their lives with courage, resolution, passion, dignity and inspiration.

Before our hangovers from last year's awards party had been placated with their first Nurofen of the day we had already got suggested names on file for this year. Work started in earnest over the summer as we asked for reader nominations as well as trawling the entire country for the characters who would leave us humbled.

By the time we had produced the final short list to be presented to our judging panel of Karren Brady, Fearne Cotton, Louise Redknapp, Katie Piper, Dynamo, and The Saturday's Mollie King I had already had a bit of a weep. Some stories just make your jaw drop with admiration for the very best in human nature. Many of our judges are previous winners and totally understand what we are looking for. But, it doesn't make it any easier. How do you champion one woman over another when you feel unworthy compared to all of them?

Another previous winner, Leyla Hussein, received rave reviews earlier this week with her Channel 4 documentary, The Cruel Cut, about her battle to stop Female Genital Mutilation in this country. A victim of the procedure herself she spoke frankly as she collected her Cosmo award three years ago and silenced the room. I feel proud that we have been able to support her work in bringing this barbaric and misogynist practice to people's attention.

This year's worthy winners are also women who have made, and will continue to make, a difference, and I can guarantee that on the night I will not be the only person with a tissue in my hand.

But before then there is so much to do. Working with our sponsors Vauxhall ADAM we have run a competition for the opportunity of designing a limited edition magazine cover that will go out to all our subscribers. Final touches are being made to that and the awards pages as the magazine that features all the winners goes to press this week. All the celebrity winners have been fabulous and with shoots done and copy written, it's just about the big night now.

Which reminds me. What the hell am I going to wear?