19 people on women who have influenced them

To celebrate international women’s week, we asked 19 people to tell us one woman who has influenced them the most and how.

D. Male

“My older sister. She read a lot and it influenced me to read more. The books that were available to me were the books she was reading, so from a young age, I was reading books people my age probably weren’t, at the time”

S. Male

“Beyoncé helped me appreciate women through her music at a young age. Listening to her helped me think differently from people around me who tended to lean towards talking down on, and looking at women as subordinates”

T. Female

“Rihanna helped me appreciate my forehead. Before she came into the limelight, my forehead was one of the features I was most conscious about. People made jokes about it a lot and it made me even more conscious. Seeing Rihanna appreciate herself made feel a little less insecure about it”

C. Male

“Genevive Nnaji. She famous and acting at a time when dark skin wasn’t exactly appreciated, and she seemed to appreciate herself and did not let society’s standards get in the way of her career”

A. Male

“The lady I am currently seeing is the one I can say has influenced me the most in recent years. She basically showed that you can transform and grow as a human being if you put your mind to it”

K. Female

“When I was about eight, my best friend’s family moved into a flat above an apartment where a couple of girls lived. That was my first experience with women who lived for themselves. They didn’t seem apologetic at all, and it impacted me more than I realized. At the time, I remember wondering what people would say about them living in an apartment by themselves and stuff, but those thoughts wore off as I spent time with them. I went from quietly judging them without even knowing anything about their lives, like everyone else, to genuinely enjoying watching them just live, and I think I’ve carried that with me since”

L. Female

“Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation. She encouraged April [another character form the show] to stop being a bum and actually apply herself because she knew she had actual potential. Also a great friend. MY president”

D. Male

“My Grandmother. She likes tea and now I do”

D. Female

“Beyonce, she helped me look in the mirror and realize who the fuck I am #QueenMother”

S. Male

“Watching SZA’s journey since her first album, all the label woes in-between, coupled with her personal stories that played out in front of the world, taught me timing is everything”

A. Female

“The first and only girl I’ve kissed. She influenced my sexuality. Made me believe I might be bisexual”

D. Male

“Alexis Franklin influenced me as an artist, her work encouraged me to explore more brushes for my work”

I. Male

“My dad got me a book about Eileen Soper when I was in uni, she illustrated a lot of the books I read as a child and from reading about her, I realised I could pursue illustration as a career. Her work and her life were a source of huge inspiration to me then. I still carry her book around with me”

C. Male

“Wonder Woman. I hadn’t seen women be strong like that…ever and I was really young. It was mostly just sweet women, seductive or evil. Never really powerful ones. I guess it counteracted many of the other views of women that I was seeing and getting from the world”

D. Male

“Oprah’s excellent interviewing style inspired my passion for journalism”

A. Female

“My aunt. she was the most confident woman I had to look up to. She didn’t let anyone dictate anything to her and I admired her”

T. Male

“Tina Fey taught me that looking inebriated all the time is an aesthetic”

K. Female

“Adrienne Rich was the first person to help me understand the complex relationship between my mother and I”

M. Female

“Afeni Shakur. She dedicated her life to the cause she believed in & raised a revolutionary son”

“Tomiwa is figuring it out…” Tweet at her @fauxxbella

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