The Year of Me

Year-of-Me

Apologies as I have not posted in a while, life has been crazy and I have moved to this fancy new website! I don’t usually do personal posts but I felt the urge to share recently. I feel like talking about the quality of life and how each individual has the choice of making the most out of life.

This post might lean more towards the cliché so if you aren’t about that, now is your cue to exit. Now you’re asking what can I, a 25 year-old woman, tell you about living and life? Truth is I can’t tell you anything for sure, I’m still figuring it out for myself. But what I can tell you is that the last few years have been hard.

I have struggled with anxiety and insecurity but in this last year I have overcome so many obstacles and proven my strength, to myself and others. I have become healthier, both physically and emotionally and I’m back to my overly optimistic self. My favourite thing to say over the last year has been, “I’m just being Miley”, from the Miley Cyrus song “See You Again” (I’m not even really a fan but the saying somehow suits how I’ve been living for the last year).

Looking back I realize for a period of time I wasn’t myself. Letting people into your life is a risk, a risk we make almost every day. It’s a risk that can change you for better or worse. For about two years after I graduated high school I felt like I needed a boyfriend, I craved that kind of affection. I became obsessed with finding someone to fill the void and I did something very unlike myself; I found someone and became so dependent on them that I forgot who I was.

After taking some time to put that behind me I started to find me again. The clock struck midnight and I have turned back into my confident, independent and wonderfully optimistic self and I could not be happier. So you want to know my trick? I have been single for about a year and a half now, it hasn’t exactly been by choice but I think it has been for the best. Basically, I am writing this to tell you what I have learned in the past year and a bit of being with my true soulmate, me (and maybe my sister).

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The Year of Me

Fierce Females: Nicole

Nicole

What is it that empowers you most?
I love feeling like a capable, independent woman. Sure, I still live at home (I’ve been in university for 5.5 years, and I have 3.5 to go!), but I was raised to take care of myself. It was never my goal to meet a rich man who can also lift heavy things for me! I am instead empowered by my education and future career which will allow me to be independent; I am empowered by my physical strength and endurance; I am empowered by my integrity.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
As someone who has spent most of her life on self-improvement, this is a tough question! However, I guess I can say that is exactly what I do love about myself–I work hard to do well at the things that I love, because I love them.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
This is a tricky question for me, as it is for most women. As someone who struggled for too many years with disordered eating and self-image, I am all too aware of my love-hate relationship with my body. But it is honest of me to say that I feel most beautiful when I am dirty and makeup-less–after a hard run, ideally in a bit of mud too! It is then that I feel physically capable, and valued for it, rather than valued for my body and makeup.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I always struggle with “role model” questions. Not that there aren’t great female role models out there, but I suppose I would simply rather not completely identify myself with someone else. We’re all unique, and we’re also all flawed. Perhaps it would be fairer to say I find role models for individual aspects of my life; for example, when I ran track, my role models were my teammates. Some of them had such a hardworking drive to excel, but also knew when to listen to their bodies and take a break (this is extremely challenging for distance runners!). They had the right perspective about competing amongst school and friends, which was refreshing to be around.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Cleopatra! Margaret George, one of my favourite authors, wrote an amazing autobiography finally depicting Cleopatra as someone more than Rome’s mistress. She is instead described as a woman of fierce integrity and sophistication, a hallmark female in an age of patriarchy.

“You were valued by others long before grades, times or appearances mattered.”

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
This is a toughie! But I think I have to say that if not Cleopatra, Pocahontas (the fictional, Disney version). Who wouldn’t want to run around in the woods singing great songs all day with your pals, with some John Smith action to boot?

What is your biggest life goal?
My life goal is to find ways to incorporate all the loves of my life: music, sports, medicine and, of course, my friends and family. I find that as I am slowly forced out of the pseudo-adulthood I call university, I am being pushed to concentrate my life in one area–my career. But physician burnout is all too real, and I strongly believe I’ll be a better doctor (and better person) if I am able to continue doing other things I love. How can I preach health, yet not be healthy myself?

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Some would say my biggest accomplishment so far is getting into medical school, but I would have to disagree. I think my biggest accomplishments are to be found in running. As a slightly chubby kid, I loved reading, singing and acting–I was the least bit an athlete, especially compared to my superstar siblings. However, in junior high I discovered I loved running and cross country skiing. Although hardly a natural, I worked terribly hard (to the point of several stress fractures, which are not recommended!) to achieve my goals. No, I never won CIS nationals, but I won my own personal championship by pushing myself to reach my potential.

What is your favourite quote?
I guess this isn’t necessarily a real quotation, but I always liked the phrase “don’t limit yourself”. When I was in high school and a competitive cross country skier, my coaches asked us to all find a mantra or phrase to use when we were really bagged mid-race. I chose: “don’t limit yourself”. I find it still applies to my life, as it’s always tempting to self-limit and give up, but I’ve always been amazed by what I have achieved every time I kept going. This also requires getting over the fear of failure, a difficult task for most of us! Who knew I would run that time? Who knew I would be in medical school? Who knew I would still find ways to sing regularly? If I had limited myself back then, I certainly wouldn’t know it either.

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
You were valued by others long before grades, times or appearances mattered. You are still valuable now, to the core, and now it is up to you to value yourself, always, as the dressings of grades, times and appearances will fade away.

What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism means forging your own path towards your ideal destination. Other people can come along for the ride and help you along the way, but they are not to steer you away from your own path.

Fierce Females: Nicole

Fierce Females: Janis

Janis

What is it that empowers you most?
Knowing that my actions make positive change. It’s scary at the same time as empowering to know that I can make our world a better place – it’s something I’m always striving for.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
My choice to be happy. I often let the things going on around me affect my happiness, and often those things are out of my control. I’m choosing to be happy with what I have and what I can control, and it’s so great.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
My confidence. I don’t always feel confident, but when I do I feel strong, vibrant and in that I feel beautiful. Nothing can bring me down when I’m feeling confident.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I have so many inspirational women in my life that I look up to. My grandmother passed away nearly 10 years ago, but what I remember of her is this strong, hilarious, caring, loving, confident woman who didn’t let anything stand in her way. I see this in my mom and my younger sister. These traits are something I look up to and aspire to emulate.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Everyday heroines always inspire me. Women who fight for what they want, for their families, their careers, their beliefs and their rights.

 

“I don’t always feel confident, but when I do I feel strong, vibrant and in that I feel beautiful.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Carrie Bradshaw (obviously!) the shoes, the clothes, the life, the job, the attitude.

Need I say more?

What is your biggest life goal?
Yikes, tough questions. I think my goals are always changing and adapting. As of late, I would say my biggest goal is to have no regrets. I don’t want to look back at any point and say ‘I wish I was there for this friend’ or ‘Why did I do that!?” or “Why didn’t I take that job opportunity” I want to live life as a good wife, friend, sibling, daughter, aunt.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
This answer isn’t going to sit well with many of you, but I don’t care (read what feminism means to me). My biggest accomplishment so far at the ripe old age of 25 is being married to my best friend and husband for four years. I can hear you eyes rolling!

Hear me out – marriage is hard, living with a boy is hard, sharing your life openly and honestly is hard. Getting married at the age of 21 when neither of us had steady employment and both fresh out of college is hard. Growing, learning and exploring life with my husband has stretched me and made me a better person than I was four years ago and I think that’s a great accomplishment!

What is your favourite quote?
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

I find this verse inspirational and confidence building. Being one of the youngest people in my field of work is hard; I constantly have to prove myself. This verse makes me feel empowered.

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
I don’t think I could limit it to just one thing! I want to say something profound like “Don’t put your happiness in other people’s hands” but let’s be real; 12-year-old me wouldn’t have listened or understood how to make that happen! I guess I would say, “Never cut your own bangs!” Maybe I’d listen to that, maybe not!

What does feminism mean to you?
I’m always redefining what feminism means to be, largely because I’m always learning and discovering more. Right now, it means I don’t have to apologize for being a woman. I don’t need to apologize for the choices I make with my career, my marriage, my faith or my future.

I have the power to make my own choices and I’m very grateful for that.

Janis is the Manager of Communications at Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg, Canada.
Connect with Janis: Twitter

Fierce Females: Janis

Fierce Females: Adele

Adele

What is it that empowers you most?
Team work. Working with others towards a common goal. Supporting, encouraging and challenging each other and achieving results.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
My positivity. There isn’t much that can get me down.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Dancing naked around the house.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
At the moment, I’m a big fan of Amy Poehler. She is so eloquent about feminist issues, and she’s also funny as hell.

My mother. I want to be exactly like her when I grow up. She’s selfless, tough, full of energy and no one would ever mess with her.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Joss Whedon. Not a heroine, but a champion of feminist sentiment. He writes the most badass and complex female characters. And when asked why he does this, he answers “Because you keep on asking that question.”

 

“Just keep on doing what you want to do, you will be happiest when you are just being you.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Lesley Knope from the TV show “Parks and Recreation”. She is passionate about what she does, and just keeps on slogging through all the bureaucratic BS of local government to achieve her goals, which are always about making life better for others. And she eats a lot of waffles.

What is your biggest life goal?
To take my future children around the world. To teach them about and also experience other cultures and histories.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Making people laugh.

What is your favourite quote?
“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
Just keep on doing what you want to do, you will be happiest when you are just being you. People who don’t appreciate your individuality aren’t worthy of being part of your life.

What does feminism mean to you?
Freedom.
The beginning.
Striving for equality not just between the genders, but for absolutely every single human being on this planet.

Adele is an independent performing artist and producer in Melbourne, Australia

Fierce Females: Adele

Fierce Females: Natalie

Natalie

What is it that empowers you most?
Those countless evenings, over countless bottles of wine or pitchers of beer, spent with friends, telling our stories. Sharing myself, my thoughts and my struggles with those I make my life with, and receiving the same from them. Nothing empowers me like knowing I’m not in it alone.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
My tenacity. I don’t shy away from a challenge. Inside, I may very well be completely terrified and insecure but I always seem to manage to pull it off. I love that I am prepared to fight for what I believe in and what I know I deserve. Whether it’s been in my professional or personal life, I look back at what I’ve accomplished in 24 years and I even impress myself!

Physically, probably my hair. It’s taken me years to accept my crazy, incredibly thick, already graying hair. I cut all of it off – and I mean all of it – last spring. It took me getting rid of it to really learn to love it! Sometimes I joke that last spring I broke up with my hair and I’ve spent the last year trying to get it back.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Swimming alone. Long swims, shorts swims, whatever. There’s nothing like feeling what you’re body can do to truly appreciate it.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
As you can probably tell by my answers, I have trouble narrowing it down to one answer. I am incredibly lucky to have so many role models in my life, it does a disservice to everyone I admire by picking one.

So here’s to my family who pushes me to be the person they know I can be, but still loves me no matter what kind of naïve life choices I make. Here’s to my partner who doesn’t cease to amaze me with his kindness, silliness and love. Here’s to my intern partners-in-crime who stayed up late, drinking wine and talking shop. Here’s to my roller-derby loving, fucking cool coworker who takes me to emerg and talks gender and identity politics with me. Here’s to my book club, talking literature and feminism over so many bottles of red. Here’s to my friends here, across the country, and across oceans, whether it’s in a pub in Hackney, a run-down flat in Arras, a classroom at Carleton, or in front of a game of Catan, you make me who I am.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Leslie Fucking Knope: Leslie on Parks and Recreation is this tornado of a woman: hyper-competent, strong, and loving. Oh and hilarious. Leslie has already left us with so many legacies! Galentine’s Day anyone?

Liz Fucking Lemon. It doesn’t help that I have hair like Lemon and dance like her too, so I feel a weird sort of kinship with Lemon. I remember watching 30 Rock for the first time and just being floored at how human, how weird, how funny she was. So many jokes about eating night cheese, self-esteem and periods!

And, of course, Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers. I love how strange, funny, and tender she is all at once. She’s not afraid to be herself, with all her zombie loving, horse-girl weirdness.

 

“To look back on my life without too many regrets; to know I lived.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Amy Pond from Doctor Who. She’s so fucking kick-ass and so whole a character. She gets to go on crazy adventures, kick seriously alien ass, love two guys at once, hang out with the Doctor and live in the Tardis. Plus, it also doesn’t hurt she has the best hair.

What is your biggest life goal?
To look back on my life without too many regrets; to know I lived. Oh, and to maybe write a book of poetry.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
In the abstract, having that feeling that I’m becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be.

In a more concrete way, personally, pushing myself through my Masters degree – which I hated. It forced me to learn about my limits, and undergo some very real, very personal discoveries. If anything it was an education in myself as much as an education in Comparative Politics. It still surprises me that I actually finished it. How many people can say they have a Masters’ Degree by 22?

What is your favourite quote?
I tried to narrow it down to one, but I always seem to come back to this excerpt from Einstein’s Ideas and Opinions about our shared existence:

“… without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of others, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”

There’s also nothing like a good one-liner: Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. – Churchill

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
Everything you experience is building you into the person you need to be. So be proud of yourself, be proud of that person, because you are the sum of your lived experiences, and you’re only going to get better, stronger, and fantastic.

What does feminism mean to you?
The beauty of feminism is in its variability. It can mean so many things to so many people. So I’ll tell my story, my feminism. I’ve self-identified as a feminist for years, but since leaving school, leaving my safe bubble of equality and like-minded friends is when I finally had to face what it truly meant to experience that drag of the patriarchy.

This past winter, as part of my internship, we traveled to Ottawa to meet with the usual suspects: politicians, lobbyists, journalists, and the like. So much of that week involved sitting in rooms, filled with privileged (white) men, being talked down to, being told how difficult it is for women in government, being told how nice it was to see women interested in politics – as if interest in politics was some hobby I had.

It’s not as if we hadn’t met with any women during that week – we met with several strong, very successful women. But for the most part, it was the same over again. They didn’t want to talk about being a woman – fair enough – but no one was willing to talk about the elephant in the room: that extra pressure, that insecurity that comes creeping in the back of your mind when you’re sitting at a table surrounded by men. That insidious voice that tells you you don’t know what you’re talking about, that your opinion doesn’t matter, that you don’t belong.

Then we met with Libby Davies, MP for Vancouver East.

I will say, no matter how silly it sounds, she fucking got it. She laid it all out. She gave me words for what I was feeling. That feeling of powerlessness, of self-doubt, of insecurity. She spoke at length of how so many women self-select out of jobs of power. We feel unqualified. Women tend to resist applying for high-powered jobs unless they feel completely qualified. We self-select out. We tell ourselves we’re not good enough to make change. This is when it shifted. In those moments when I feel insecure, unsure of my voice, I think back to that idea, that I am limiting myself, limiting my voice. This is feminism. It is the ability to think, to feel, and to be equal.

I need feminism because at the end of the day, no matter how empowered I feel, no matter how accepted I feel, and no matter how equal I feel, there are moments when I catch myself second-guessing my place in the world, my place at the table, my voice, my power, my presence. Feminism gives me hope, it gives me a place, it is what gives me the power to tell myself “yes you do belong”.

Fierce Females: Natalie

Fierce Females: Ashley


Ashley

What is it that empowers you most?
I feel highly empowered when watching the fruits of your labour come into fruition

What is it that you love most about yourself?
The thing I really love about myself, would have to be my sense of humor…I think I’m really fucking funny.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
I feel most beautiful when I’m dancing.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I don’t really like this question. I mean there are people I admire, and would like to emulate, and learn from. But I don’t have one single person that is my “go to” for a role model. It would be a mixture of Oprah for her insight, Marilyn Monroe for her captivating and intoxicating beauty, Maya Angelou for her wisdom and Kate Moss for the fashion flair muse.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Refer to previous.

 

“Being a dreamer is one of the best thing god has instilled in you.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
If I could be a fictional character it would be Samantha from Bewitched. I love a good witch and plus with a wiggle of the nose, I could have anything I wanted.

What is your biggest life goal?
Biggest life goal. Traveling

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Opening hush hush closet, and getting my driver’s license for the 2nd time

What is your favourite quote?
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch . You have to go out and kick ass.” – Maya Angelou

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
Being a dreamer is one of the best thing god has instilled in you. Keep dreaming and keep believing. And that boys are dumb and they always come back :)

What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism to me means being a badass bitch getting things done for herself, by herself.

Ashley is the owner of Hush Hush Closet in Brooklyn, New York, USA
Connect with Ashley: Website, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram

Fierce Females: Ashley

Fierce Females: Crystal

Crystal

What is it that empowers you most?
I’ve reached a never before seen level of not giving a shit. Some say that makes me careless, aloof or reckless. How I see it is that when I’m feeling stressed or pressured at work, in my personal life, or if I simply miss the land of the jets – I have the superhuman sense to see what’s important to me. Not caring about all the little squabbles gives me more power for the real fights.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I’ll never miss an opportunity to see the humour in some messed up situations. I could quit a job, have a bad break-up or be on my last penny. If by some circumstance someone sets me up for a joke in there I have to run with it, however inappropriate it may be. A lot of stories that are painful now are hilarious later.

Most of the time I only joke about myself or people close to me. Strangers don’t like it when you laugh at their misery.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Cat eyes, a feminine dress, a pair of stomping boots and a leather bomber jacket. It’s just comfortable.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I have anti-role models. I don’t think anyone inspired me to become who I am, and the person I’m still striving to be. But there’s a few people who I never want to become, and others who I know I need to do better than.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Dawna Friesen, a homegrown Winnipeg woman who travelled the world telling stories and now sits at the desk at Global National. Dawna told me about how she pumped gas while in college.

 

“Don’t stall or hesitate, it’s a waste of time.”

 

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Wonder Woman. She’s a warrior with origins in Greek mythology, and yes, she entered the man’s world to fight for peace, justice and love. She deflects bullets and anyone caught in her golden lasso is bound to tell the truth. I’d say there’s a list of people I’d like to catch in that.

Also, I’d love to kick ass and then come home to my other life and say, “My afternoon was uneventful, how was your day honey?”

What is your biggest life goal?
To televise the revolution.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

What is your favourite quote?
There’s a line from the chorus in Aeschylus’s play Agamemnon:

“He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”

The best lessons are the most painful ones. You’ve learned something from whatever it is that hurt you and kept you up at night. I got it tattooed on my torso about four years ago. I’m also sleeping better.

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
Don’t stall or hesitate, it’s a waste of time.

What does feminism mean to you?
I’m still trying to find out. Lately, it’s meant fighting for what I deserve and not being apologetic about it.

I recently had to explain, “I’m sorry but I’m not going to turn into an old white man overnight.” I shouldn’t be sorry for not having that ability.

Crystal is a Radio Reporter, Freelance Videographer, Non-profit Communications, Documentary Filmmaker and waitress in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Connect with Crystal: Twitter

Fierce Females: Crystal

Fierce Females: Danielle

Danielle

What is it that empowers you most?
Being onstage. There’s nothing in the world I love more than running out to a cheering crowd and getting to perform for new people and share our music. I feel the best when I’m singing, like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
When I was in elementary school, people used to make fun of my huge eyes. One kid called me “owl eyes.” It’s funny how something I hated is probably my favorite thing about myself now. My eyes are huge, yeah, but they’re unique and usually the first thing people notice. I’m also extremely persevering– you can tell me “no” or “you’ll never be able to do that,” but if I feel strongly about something, I’ll keep working for it. Life’s too short not to fight every single day for what you want.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Gel eyeliner! I always do the “cat eye” look, and I like to play around and add dots near the wings. It makes me feel very put together and sort of… fierce! For some reason makeup gets a bad reputation– it was created to enhance natural beauty, but it can also be an amazing way to express yourself. As long as you aren’t hiding behind it, and it makes you feel beautiful, then wear it however you want!

Who is your biggest role model and why?
My mama. I’m really lucky that I had extremely supportive parents growing up– they let me move to New York City and study acting in college, knowing I would come out with a performance degree and a whoooole lot of loans, but they wanted me to follow my dreams. My mom has been at every single performance, play, talent show, concert– always there to cheer me on. She has taught me to be patient and to always give people second chances. I have been through a lot of disappointment and heartbreak, but she will listen to me cry to her on the phone for two hours if that’s what I need to do, and then she’ll tell me that I have to keep going, no matter what. She sees the best in everyone and it’s something I hope I can someday pass on to my kids too. If I can be half the woman she is then I will have lived a really good life. I’m blessed to have her.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
I LOVE Stevie Nicks. I think she has an incredible voice, she’s a brilliant songwriter, musician, performer. I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac with my parents– I remember hearing “Landslide” in the car when I was really young and being like mom, her voice is so cool! Stevie has been through some crazy life experiences, but has always emerged stronger. Plus she’s a total badass and has killer style. She’s truly inspiring to me!

 

“I would want to give up because I was so frustrated or heartbroken, but I didn’t.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Hermione Granger. I’m the nerdiest when it comes to Harry Potter (before I was doing music, I worked at the Harry Potter exhibit in Times Square and essentially got to dress up as a witch every day), and I think she is such a crucial part to the story. Harry is awesome, but he wouldn’t be half as successful without Hermione to think everything through beforehand or bail them out when they’re in trouble. She makes being smart cool, and I love that.

What is your biggest life goal?
To win a Grammy, and to have a #1 song on the pop chart.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Probably watching our song being performed on Glee. I grew up a theatre kid, and Lea Michele is a legend in the musical theatre world, so the fact that she was covering our song on national television was such an incredible feeling. We didn’t know if the song was actually going to be in the episode until the day before– they really kept the suspense going! When the episode aired, I remember kind of just staring at the screen thinking, there are millions of people watching this right now, hearing our song. It was so crazy.

What is your favourite quote?
I have two. The first one is an Emily Dickinson quote my mom always says to me, and I ended up getting it tattooed on my leg. “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.” I went through some dark times in college, and she would send me these little cards with that quote written in it. Hope is always alive within us, and it’s easy to lose sight of that sometimes.
The second one is (obviously) from Harry Potter. Dumbledore says it to Harry in the Prisoner of Azkaban. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
To keep going, that the hours I spent every day practicing were worth it. There were so many times when it took me forever to nail a particular chord on the guitar or I didn’t get the role I desperately wanted in the musical, and I would want to give up because I was so frustrated or heartbroken, but I didn’t. I would tell my 6th grade self that someday, it would all pay off.

What does feminism mean to you?
To me, feminism means loving and accepting yourself as a woman. I’m a girl in a boy-dominated industry, and I just lived in a van on tour for six months with dudes, sharing beds with them, hearing their gross jokes, listening to them fart. It was so important to me to go get my nails done or online shop just to remember that even though I’m surrounded by guys, and sometimes I act like a guy, it’s totally okay that I’m a girl. I think feminism is also about supporting other women, finding reasons to love yourself and your body, celebrating who you are, and doing things to make you happy. It has a bad reputation because guys think women just want to kill all the men and take over the world, but to me, feminism is about accepting everyone, regardless of gender, and celebrating why we’re alike, why we’re different, and realizing that no one is better than anyone else.​

Danielle is a vocalist in the band Oh Honey from Brooklyn, New York.
Connect with Danielle: Website, Facebook and Twitter.

Fierce Females: Danielle

Fierce Females: Sirissa

Sirissa

What is it that empowers you most?
My children’s hugs for sure!

What is it that you love most about yourself?
That I’m never afraid to tell it like it is; but also that I’m never afraid to just TRY…

What makes you feel most beautiful?
When I see myself in my children I know I’m beautiful.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
My eldest daughter is my role model. She exudes calm and I honestly one of the kindest 15 year old I know. She actually listens, and she is humble.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Carrie Best. I’ve always been a writer and my first love is Journalism. She was the first black Canadian woman to start a newspaper. She was extremely brave.

 

“When I see myself in my children I know I’m beautiful.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
I would be Fish Mooney of Gotham. She is a take no prisoners type of woman. She is tough but sexy and fair.

What is your biggest life goal?
Own my own TV network.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
My children-bar none

What is your favourite quote?
“This is my face… Deal with it!” – The Women

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
Study!!! Study!!!

What does feminism mean to you?
It means teaching my girls that they are not fighting for equality they are fighting for the right to simply BE…

Sirissa is a Communications Specialist and Magazine Editor for SKNteen Experience in Charlestown, Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Connect with Sirissa
: Facebook and Twitter

Fierce Females: Sirissa

Fierce Females: Melissa

Melissa

What is it that empowers you most?
What empowers me the most is seeing the actions of the people I admire result in success. Observing a true trailblazer is what’s always made a huge impression on me my whole life.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I love the fact that I’m really not like everyone else. When I was younger I thought it was a disadvantage, turns out being authentic is the key to life.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
I love make-up and when I have a good solid look going I not only feel beautiful but feel very strong. Aside from the aesthetics, I feel the most beautiful inside when I’m around my family when they’re happy.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I’ve always looked up to Frida Khalo because of her determination to do everything she wanted to on her terms despite her many obstacles.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
I’ll always love Tura Satana for breaking barriers as a woman in film who played strong roles, she’s a former Miss Japan pin up model. One of biggest hero’s of all time is John Waters, for being himself and shaking up the world while still maintaining humor, intelligence and hard work.

Brody Dalle, she’s a very talented songwriter and musician from Australia who followed her music dream when she was a teenager and has been living them out to this very day. She’s my all time favourite musician.

 

“being authentic is the key to life.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
I’d love to be Jem from Jem and the Holograms. I’ve wanted to be her since I was little, she’s what started the whole make-up thing for me and got me very interested in music at an early age.

What is your biggest life goal?
My biggest goal in life is to not settle for anything but extraordinary, do what I want and be respected.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment so far has been my radio career, I really didn’t think I’d end up where I am today, I really enjoy what I’m doing.

What is your favourite quote?
“Life is nothing if you’re not obsessed” – John Waters

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
I’d tell my 12 year old self to get a grip, everything’s going to work out.

What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism to me means standing up to all forms of female oppression. Having the guts to stand up and say something’s not right and going the distance.

Melissa is a Radio DJ and Program Coordinator at Rhythm 104.7FM in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Connect with Melissa
: Twitter

Fierce Females: Melissa