There’s a reason behind Wonder Woman’s time-tested popularity – and it’s not because of her gorgeous looks or hour-glass figure. Diana Prince succeeds where her male counterparts fail – in her honesty, belief in justice, and general kick-ass abilities.
As the newest Wonder Woman film opened in theatres worldwide to raving reviews and reports of record-breaking domestic box office hit (it raked in US$103.1 million over its opening weekend in the US, beating fellow superhero movies like Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Thor).
We take a look at some real-life wonder women who have made their mark in the world and have become role models for girls and women alike.
Also known as one of the most powerful women in the media industry, her words can influence even the most powerful fashion labels. Since she joined Condé Nast in 1983, she has directed the American Vogue through the often tumultuous waters of fashion journalism and led it to its position as the leading women’s fashion magazine. She also helped the magazine reach that sweet spot of achieving both commercial and editorial success. In early May, she was made Dame Commander by Queen Elizabeth II for her contribution to fashion and journalism. The event was, as we like to imagine it, a meeting of two queens.
Not only is Michelle Obama one of our favourite FLOTUS of all time, she is also a smart, highly educated (she graduated from Princeton and earned her J.D. at Harvard Law School) and independent woman. As first lady, she founded multiple programmes and initiatives that focused on empowering communities, young people and girls to live healthier, richer lives. Her Let’s Move! Campaign has been lauded for combatting childhood obesity; Joining Forces puts the needs of war veterans first; the Reach Higher Initiative encourages young people to complete studies above high school level; and the Let Girls Learn initiative empowers girls to continue their education.
She gained financial and cultural success that no other author had achieved – a widely successful seven-part series, a movie franchise and multiple themed attractions including ones inside Universal Studios. So enchanting was the wickedly engaging world of Harry Potter that it also led to multiple spin-offs that added more depth to the world of wizards. Apart from focusing on the world of witchcraft and wizardry, Rowling found critical success writing mystery novels under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Her sharp, witty and always on-point tweets are also a joy to read.
It's called 'leadership', Donald. The terrorists were dead 8 minutes after police got the call. If we need an alarmist blowhard, we'll call. https://t.co/NUiy9j4fBt— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 4, 2017
When Gianni Versace was murdered by a serial killer in 1997, his equally fabulous sister, Donatella, took over. Despite a rocky start, riddled with rumours of a derailing Donatella and the nearing of an end to an era, the glamorous Donatella powered through and forged the label into a billion-dollar company. Her designs are loud, luxurious and lush. They are also every woman’s dream.
The Versace family story – including the murder of Gianni – is set to be immortalised in American TV in season 3 of American Crime Story (due to come out 2018), where a young Donatella will be played by Penelope Cruz.
The immensely talented Beyoncé (who needs no last name) is more than just a singer. She is also an actor, activist, feminist and pop culture icon. She is the living proof that girl power goes a long way. And if you don’t believe us, maybe you’ll put your trust in former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, who has said she believes Queen Bey is a good role model for her two daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama.
The latest Asian export to the US is Priyanka Chopra, who has charmed the socks off Hollywood with her good looks and even better acting skills. She broke barriers as the first South Asian actor to star in a titular role (in the American crime series Quantico), for which she received the People’s Choice Award – also another first for a South Asian actor. You can still catch her on the big screen, as she is playing the villainous Victoria Leeds in the biggest abs-baring summer movie of the year, Baywatch.
Another recent Asian export to turn heads is Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, who has made waves in Hollywood in her previous roles as Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past. She first rose to fame in the hit TV series My Fair Princess, in which she played Jinsuo. Most recently, she claimed the award for Best Actress at both the 53rd Golden Horse Film Awards and the 11th Asian Film Awards for her role as Li Xuelian in I Am Not Madame Bovary.
Zaha Hadid (1950 – 2016)
Nicknamed the Queen of the Curve for her brilliance in mastering the different angles and strokes that transformed buildings from stoic to soulful, Zaha Hadid has been a trailblazer in the architecture industry. She has been honoured with many awards, including being made a dame by Queen Elizabeth II. She is also the first woman to receive a Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 as well as the Royal Gold Medal for architecture from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2016.
Hadid passed away from a heart attack on March 31, 2016 – but her legacy lives on, not just as architectural feats, but also in lifestyle design. Take for instance, her twist on Bulgari’s B.Zero1, which was launched posthumously. The solid lines are still there, but so are her famous curves. In Asia, her designs take place of pride at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as the Jockey Club Innovation Tower, and in Seoul’s bustling Dongdaemun district as the Dongdaemun Design Park and Plaza.