It was always one of the questions asked at school. “Who is your role model?” or “Tell me about someone who you look up to”. Back then, it pains me to admit I looked purely at the materialistic things. For a short while I thought happiness came part and parcel with money or being ‘pretty’. I’d say something like ‘the Kardashians’ or the edited, picture of unrealistic perfection I had seen on the most popular music video that week- despite being surrounded by real, powerful women 24/7. It’s true when people say you don’t see what is right in front of you and that goes for everything. The women in my family have achieved things many of us could only dream of- from travelling alone across the USA & meeting people they otherwise would never of crossed paths with or devoting their time in helping children going through struggles we usually only hear about sat on our sofa watching Netflix. Now, without a doubt, my role models are the people that have raised me. They are true inspirations and I have some of their DNA- that sets me in good stead, right?
Of course there are some people in the public eye that I find give me the motivation to reach higher when I am finding it hard to stretch. This is usually through their creativity- one of the reasons I have decided to write my own blog. My own form of ‘art’.
OK- so for those who know me, you know what’s coming. LADY GAGA. Forget her unconventional outfits and wacky performances, one of the fabulous things about Gaga is her ability to push societies boundaries to discuss controversial, yet extremely important, topics. We all remember the hit single ‘Born this Way’ which tackled issues of sexism, homophobia, racism and body image. She believes in equality and she preaches it. In the same way, she has touched upon the difficult issue of sexual assault (particularly the rise of Campus Rape in universities in America) within her video ‘Til it happens to you’ and openly admitted her struggles with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “I still suffer with it every day”. She encourages people to be creative and open up about mental health. Simply understanding the effort she puts into helping to spread positivity and help others is inspiring- including the creation of the ‘Born this Way Foundation’ in 2012 to “support the wellness of young people and empower them to create a kinder and braver world”. In the most part she has succeeded. She has most certainly helped me to develop positive methods of expressing my emotions. Also, let’s not forget that she is one of the few artists who actually write their own songs, play some of their own instruments and sing live! She deserves a huge ‘Applause’ (get it?).
Another lady who is an amazing role model to young women is Jodi Picoult. For people who don’t read much, you will probably know her as the writer of ‘My Sisters Keeper’, one of her books that was turned into an award-winning film. To me, Jodi Picoult is more than ‘the one who wrote that film that Cameron Diaz was in’. She has 14 million copies of her books translated into 34 languages worldwide- all of which push boundaries, similar to Gaga, to reach out to a huge audience and make a global change regarding discrimination (My current read is ‘Small Great Things’ tackling past challenges of racism). Picoult wrote her first story at the age of five. FIVE?! Granted, it was about a lobster, but this was the first step to the story of a lifetime.
As well as writing and pursuing her passion she is involved in a lot of charity work. She is: an advocate for ‘Vida: Women in Literary Arts’ focusing on creating transparency around authors including varied races, writers with disabilities and gender non-conforming individuals, a spokesperson for ‘Positive Tracks’ empowering young people to fund-raise through athletics, lead the annual walk for the Children’s Hospital in Dartmouth, was the co-founder of the Trumbull Hall Troupe providing children with a fun, educational theatre experience and this year she has spoke at the New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity in support of the Women’s March. If that doesn’t make you want to up your game- what will?
I hope these 700 words did these wonderful women justice- I could talk about them all day. I’d absolutely love to hear who your role models are and why. If you don’t know yet, that’s OK to, it’s probably someone that makes you smile every day. It’s the little things that count.
Love, Kayleigh Rose x