I interrupt this brief blogging silence to bring you this listicle.
Last year for my birthday, I shared 23 life lessons I had learnt from my short time on this earth so far. This year, I’m turning the heat off myself for a second and sharing with you 24 amazing women who’ve all had a part in inspiring me in some way or another.
Quick disclaimer: this list is not exhaustive, and certainly not in any order. Let’s just hope I live til 100 so I can include so many more on this list.
Also, fun game to play as you read along: drink every time you see the word ‘talented’.
1. Laura Jane Williams
Come on, are you really surprised? Anyone who’s followed me for a little while will inevitably know my love for LJW. Every since I came across her Instagram over a couple of years ago, it’s been a hell of a ride. Laura is one of the most honest and talented writers that I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, and I feel so lucky and honoured that I not only attended two of her workshops, but also got invited to the launch of her second book, Ice Cream for Breakfast. Laura is a powerhouse; she’s creative, sincere, and goes balls to the wall on life. She inspires me so damn much and I love her.
2. Grace Latter
There is no ‘almost’ about it, Grace is totally amazing. In fact, when I grow up, I wanna be just like Grace. Which is weird to say, considering we’re the same age (our birthdays are only eight days apart, so sing her a HB next week, y’all). When I first encountered Grace earlier this year, I knew immediately that she was a person I needed in my life. We’re yet to meet IRL, but when we do, boy oh boy am I going to give her the BIGGEST squeeze. She is all kinds of strong, lovely, wholesome, clever, talented and brave, and I just wish I could shrink her and carry her in my pocket so that I can carry around her sunny disposition 24-7. Also, I am mad jealous of her bookcase. LOVE YA, GURL.
3. Evelyn Ngugi
Evelyn is Funny. As. HELL. Her YouTube and Instagram Stories are endlessly hilarious, this girl seriously doesn’t have an off button. The work she does for Naturally Curly is fabulous and I love hearing her perspectives on her American-Kenyan heritage, and can get honest as hell about real life problems and insecurities, à la this video.
4. Lucy Smith-Jones
My best friend, my soul mate, my vanilla bear, my sister. Lucy came into my life during my last year of uni, just when I needed her the most, and honestly I have never found a faster friend. She is the original hipster, endlessly supportive, encouraging, insanely talented and hilarious. If you need any more proof of just how close we are, I am currently living with her mother – so how’s that for a friend for life.
5. Carrie Anne Roberts – Mere Soeur
I’ve been following Carrie on Instagram for a little over a year and honestly, she is the coolest person. How she juggles being a boss ass businesswoman with being a single mama to a toddler is aweinspiring. I love everything about her, from her look, to her business mindset and her adorable Welsh accent.
6. Viola Davis
I fell in love with Viola Davis after watching The Help, but honestly? I’m in love with everything she does. How one woman can have such range, be so diverse and give her absolute all in every single performance is beyond me. She is magically talented and WE DO NOT DESERVE HER. She’s an inspiration to not just black women, but women everywhere.
7. Bianca Bass
I don’t really follow many ‘career’ blogs but Bianca’s is one I come back to on the regs. She is so wise and driven and it honestly blows my mind just how determined and clever she is. If she bottled up her knowledge, I’m sure she could sell it for a fortune. And she is also super nice, as I found out when I met her in person at Laura’s book launch.
8. Corinne Fisher & 9. Krystyna Hutchinson
I realise that Corinne and Krystyna are two separate people, but it just made sense to write about them together. Their podcast, Guys We Fucked, is a revelation, and has opened my eyes to things that have never even crossed my radar. What started off talking to guys they previously boned, turned into this huge feminist hit, where they made women talking about sex less of a taboo, and gave a voice to those who don’t usually get to speak up. I make a conscious effort to tune in every week because it never disappoints, and believe me when I say that these women a funny and clever as hell.
10. Dodie Clark
Dodie is such a sweet little soul. The music she produces with just a ukelele and harmonies is super lovely, and I love following her on Instagram where she shares her thoughts and stories in almost every photo. It’s no wonder she got herself a book deal from it, she is a wonderful wordsmith.
11. Megan Jayne Crabbe
What Megan does with her Instagram, bodyposipanda, is amazing. Her story is truly awe-inspiring and she is such a beam of light. She does so much for the body positivity movement and is smashing down stigmas left, right and centre. There are a lot of awesome babes in the bopo community, but Megan stands out because of how positive she is. I can’t WAIT to read her book when it comes out.
12. Lucky Hell
Lucky has had such an incredible life, and I love following her adventures on Instagram. From sword swallowing, to walking the streets of Helsinki, Poland and partying in Ibiza, Lucky shows the world that it doesn’t matter where you come from, it where you’re going.
13. Akilah Hughes
Akilah is another hilarious YouTube lady. Her sketches are witty and informative, and I love her take on political matters. She writes for the likes of HelloGiggles, Refinery 29 and Femsplain, and she’s doing some incredible things at the moment.
14. Emma Gannon
I think Emma is making some serious waves right now, and rightly so. She interviews so many talented people on her podcast, Ctrl Alt Delete, and her interview style is great because it doesn’t feel like an interview at all; it’s like you’re listening in on two people chatting and having a genuinely great time together. I loved her book, named the same as her podcast, where she talks about growing up online because it is so #relatable.
15. Carrie Hope Fletcher
I’ve been following Carrie’s journey on YouTube since she started off doing simple covers. Her vlogs now are so interesting, I love watching the behind the scenes of the shows she works on, and she’s just a happy and positive force to reckon with. We are similarly aged, but it’s been such a pleasure watching her grow. I love that no matter what, she tries to see the good in everything, and we could all do with being a bit more like Carrie.
16. Sarra Manning
Ah, the Queen of Teen. Sarra’s Diary of a Crush trilogy got me so hooked when I was a teenager, and I always wondered how she managed to nail the mind of a teenage girl so well. She is a champion of teenage girls and knows the magic they all possess. Her adult books are pretty fab, as well, After the Last Dance in particular.
17. Lauren Graham
Lauren Graham didn’t exactly create Gilmore Girls, but she definitely made Lorelai Gilmore into the icon that she is today. Reading her memoir last year, I‘m Talking As Fast As I Can, was a really eye-opening experience into how she became the woman is today. Funnily enough, not that far off from Lorelai herself! On top of being a hardworking actress, she is a very talented writer and an inspiration for us all.
18. Carrie Fisher
Like the rest of the world, I am greatly saddened by losing the bright star that is Carrie Fisher. I was actually in the midst of reading The Princess Diarist when news broke out about her heart attack, and I felt weirdly responsible for her death (yes, I told you it was weird). Her last book is so raw and poignant and you could tell that maybe she knew her time was coming, that she needed to get these words out. She was a trailblazer, spoke so openly about her mental health, and demanded respect from everyone she met. I can only dream of being so bold.
19. June Eric-Udorie
I honestly cannot believe that June is only 19 because the knowledge she possesses is INSANE. Not to mention her career trajectory, and she hasn’t even been to uni yet! She is, as the young people say, very ‘woke’, unafraid to speak up about race and feminism, and honestly, she makes me insanely jealous because I was an idiot at 19. Having people like June in the world gives me so much hope for the future.
20. Emily Coxhead
Emily is such a ray of sunshine, and an absolute hoot to follow on Instagram. The Happy Newspaper is truly a work of genius, and you can tell just how hard she works to build her little empire of happiness. If I could have a sliver of her resilience, I would be a very happy bunny.
21. Megan Gilbride
Megan is fashion, beauty, and well… everything goals. I’m always blown her way whenever she has a new blog post up, because first of all, the photography is always amazing, her clothes always on point, and most importantly, always writes from the heart. I love how she’s speaking up about her mental health struggles as of late, because believe me, it takes real guts to take such an open and honest stance on such a difficult subject.
22. Alex Elle
Alex is someone I’ve only really been following recently but DAMN, I’m glad I found her when I did. She’s another one of these raw, wholesome, talented writers who gives so much of themselves to their community. I love her poetry and have really been enjoying following her pregnancy and watching her little, beautiful family grow.
23. Marina Diamandis
Marina and the Diamonds’ music has gotten me through some hard times. Her concept album, Electra Heart, was such a bolder and inspired project than her first album, and honestly, it’s what put her on the radar for me. Her third album, FROOT, explores so many aspects of human nature, is so deep and yet she still makes it so poppy and fun and auditorily pleasing? I think what she does for music is so wonderful and I do not understand why she’s not on like, GaGa levels of fame.
24. My mother
How can I not end this list with the absolute OG that is my mother? Were it not for her, I wouldn’t be on this earth, after all.
I’ve said this often, but honestly, I can’t say it enough. My mother taught me everything that it is to be strong, honest, and stand by your values. She got it hard-wired into me from a young age that nothing in life comes easy, but also to try to not let the world make you hard. That kindness cost nothing. She lets me be exactly who I want to be, and I can’t thank her enough for that.
So, thank you. To my mother, and all the other fabulous ladies on this list who continue to help shape me into who I am, everyday.