Women to watch
Updated: Mar 5, 2021
With International Women's Day on Monday March 8th we want to celebrate some of the rising stars. It isn't hard to find incredible women so this is just a select list of people who are making waves in their respective fields.
Margaret Zhang, 27: Margaret is an Australian Chinese photographer, filmmaker, stylist and writer that has also recently been named Editor in Chief of Vogue China. Margaret first rose to fame as a fashion blogger but has since directed films, styled Vogue covers, modelled, and cofounded 'Background' a consultancy company that has worked with a range of brands from Airbnb to Mulberry. Margaret will be the youngest ever Editor in Chief of Vogue.
Amanda Gorman, 22: The poet that stole the show at Biden's inauguration (youngest in US history). She then became the first ever poet to perform at The Super Bowl. It is no wonder that she then made the cover of Time Magazine. Gorman has also amassed 3.6M instagram followers, is the #1 new release in young adult and teen fiction on Amazon, and has three upcoming books with Penguin Random House.
Whitney Wolfe Herd, 31: The world's youngest self-made female billionaire. Originally she helped found Tinder, amid growing tensions with other company executives Herd left the company and later filed a sexual harassment case against the company. She then went on to start Bumble, which she founded 7 years ago. Bumble is a dating app where (in heterosexual relationships) women start the conversation first. It was with Bumble that Herd also became the youngest woman to take a company public.
Grace Tame, 26: Australian of the year who created the #letherspeak campaign which prevented sexual assault survivors from speaking about their experiences. The campaign was successful in overturning the archaic law which still existed in Tasmania and NT. The award came ten years after Grace was sexually assaulted by her highschool teacher.
Taylah Gray, 24: In a week that has been incredibly disheartening for the legal system in Australia we have a brighter future in people like Taylah Gray. Gray is a Wiradjuri woman who went viral on social media with a post last week where she explained her own struggle in the education system and how she rose above it; "Don’t let anybody or any system destroy your dreams. Walk with purpose and speak your truth.” While completing her law degree, in July last year, she won a Supreme Court case overturning a decision by NSW Police to ban a Black Lives Matter protest in Newcastle’s CBD. She says her focus is now on Native Title and will now be completing her PhD that will explore economic theories which help Indigenous people generate income from positive determinations.
Ellie Cole, 29: With 15 Paralympic medals, Ellie is one of Australia's most accomplished Paralympians. Ellie lost her leg at a young age due to a life-threatening sarcoma cancer. 8 weeks after the operation, to help with recovery, her mum enrolled her in swimming lessons. Ellie has since attended four Paralympic games and is currently training for Tokyo 2021.
Jari Jones, 30: Jari is a Black American transgender model, writer, actor, filmmaker and LGBQTI+ activist. She has appeared in a range of TV series and short films and was the first Black Trans woman producer of a film competing in Cannes Film Festival. Jari has also modelled for some of the world’s biggest brands – Fenty, Calvin Klein, Teen vogue and Ivy Park.
“My journey as a model and as a professional came from wanting to see people like myself. I think representation is so, so important as it informs our society and many of the characters that I saw being portrayed in film and TV .... were just wrong or they were sending out the wrong messages or they were portraying maybe just one part of our journey. So I decided to jump in and do it myself.”– Jari Jones on representation.
Chloe Zhao, 38: Recently Zhao became the first woman of colour to win best director at the Golden Globes. She won it for the film Nomadland (featuring honourable mention Frances McDormand). She is currently shooting a historical Western biopic about the first black U.S Deputy Marshall and a Marvel film to be released in November called Eternals.
Bruna Papandrea, 49: One of the most powerful Aussies in Hollywood. Bruna is the founder of Made Up stories production company which works to champion women on and off screen. Made Up Stories is responsible for the production of 'The Dry' based on the book by Jane Harper, 'The Undoing' featuring Nicole Kidman, and 'Penguin Bloom'.
Dr Izzy Smith is an Australian Endocrinology Doctor who is passionate about educating people on all things health. She uses her Instagram platform to debunk health myths and dangerous fads whilst also providing easy to digest advice on exercises and medicine.
Dr Izzy is also an advocate for mental health and is an ambassador and keynote speaker for Movember and Puka Up organisations. She also co-hosts the ‘Behind The Uniform’ podcast with captain Hugo Toovey as they interview guests about their experiences with Mental Health.
AJ Clementine, 24: AJ is an Australian transgender model, content creator, LGBTQI+ activist and influencer. She is passionate about sharing her transition journey on TikTok & YouTube to help others whilst also sharing lifestyle and beauty content. She's recently been collaborating with brands like Bonds on their latest Pride campaign and Australis to launch an eye shadow palette.
Alyce Tran is the co-founder of personalised leather goods company The Daily Edited (TDE). She started her career as a corporate lawyer in Sydney and developed the brand in 2015 with a friend and former co-worker Tanya Liu after hours. Now TDE has stores across Australia and the US.
Amani Haydar is a lawyer turned artist and advocate. Amani lost her mum Salwa to domestic violence in 2015 and to cope with her loss, she turned to art, Amani said - “I became quite committed to the idea of creating a sense of healing and also creating a safe space for those stories to happen and for women to discuss what they'd been through."
She's also been raising awareness about gender-based violence, law, policy and the effects of structural inequality on women.
Amani was a finalist in the 2018 Archibald Prize and was selected as a finalist for the NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year Award.
Alison Rice is an award-winning publisher, career coach and host who started her career in journalism before leading and launching U.S. media brands POPSUGAR, Who What Wear, Byrdie and MyDomaine in Australia. She is also the host of the podcast 'Offline' - a podcast exploring the concept of True Self by interviewing guests to understand what life is like on the other side of their Instagrams, followings and job titles.
Erika Geraerts, 31: was one of the founders of coffee scrub brand Frank Body. Since then she's been focusing her energy on her latest brand FLUFF - a beauty brand created with Gen Z's in mind. Erika felt Australia was missing a brand that spoke to the younger generations, had natural products, beautiful packaging and showed that beauty was more than just make-up. Fluff products are cruelty-free, vegan, refillable and good for the planet.
Chantelle Otten: Sexual health and wellbeing expert who provides support and information to individuals, couples and communities. As a Psycho-Sexologist she wants to empower and educate people to feel confident about sexual health. Chantelle is the host of podcast Sexy Stories where she reads out erotic literature.
Sinéad Burke, 31: The Irish writer, educator, activist and academic who became known to many for her Ted Talk on 'Why Design Should Include Everyone'. She was born with Achondroplasia and while she trained as a primary school teacher she started writing and speaking publicly about the lack of inclusive design both in the fashion industry and throughout society. In 2019 she became the first little person to attend the met gala and the first to be on the cover of British Vogue.
Lidia Thorpe, 48: A Senator for Victoria representing The Australian Greens, and the first Aboriginal Senator from Victoria. A Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman, Lidia made headlines when in September of last year she entered Parliament for the first time draped in a possum cloak, fist raised in a Black Power salute. She also held in her hand a stick that had been engraved with 441 stripes representing the number of Indigenous people to die in custody since a landmark Royal Commission in 1991.
Jessica Nguyen: is a recipe developer, content creator and home cook whose Instagram grew to popularity last year. Jess previously worked in Marketing and PR but was made redundant in March 2020 just as COVID hit Australia and took the chance to follow her food passion. Her page is full of easy to follow recipes that she hopes inspire people to cook for themselves and loved ones. Jess has worked with a range of brands such as David Jones, Dan Murphy's and The Iconic and even created her own brand of Chilli Oil.
(/writer/cultural commentator and artist): Ayishat Akanbi, 30: Having already styled celebrities including Dizee Rascal and Labrinth, worked on campaigns for Nike, Reebok and Adidas as well as collaborating with the Tate Modern, the Design Museum, the Barbican and the Victoria & Albert Museum, her styling is only one part of what makes Akanbi special. She is a social commentator, who's main platform has been Twitter up until this year where she will release her book "The Awokening". In her own words the book looks at "reimagining the phenomena of 'wokeness'" as she hopes it will "provide an alternative to our culture of public shaming and moral purity".
Maria Bakalova, 24: This Borat 2 actress who gave an amazing performance became the first Bulgarian actor to be nominated for a Golden Globe, and the first Eastern European to be nominated since the 60s. A hopeful step forward for representation for an often overlooked part of the world in mainstream entertainment. Due to the nature of the real world Borat film's Maria made international news with one scene in particular. Although Maria didn't win on the day, she got a mention in Rosamund Pike's acceptance speech “In my movie, I had to swim up from a sinking car,” Pike began. “I think I still would rather do that than be in a room with Rudy Giuliani. So, Maria, I salute your brilliance and your bravery.”
Elena Rose, 25: year old Venezuelan-American singer and songwriter. Elena has written for artists like Becky G, Daddy Yankee and recently Selena Gomez' spanish single 'De Una Vez'. Last year Elena made her debut as a singer and released four singles.
Sylvia Jahn and Zara Cooper