25 Quotes From Inspiring Ladies Who Ignite Our Feminist Spirit 25 Quotes From Inspiring Ladies Who Ignite Our Feminist Spirit Women empowering women is what SWAAY is all about. This month centered around celebrating ladies and their successes, and we are doing that by compiling a list of some of the amazing women we have had the honor to feature. From astronauts and actresses to authors and activists, we have them all. Throughout our conversations with them, there have been many words of wisdom that resonate, and we’ve rounded up some of the best for our favorite day of the year. Jasika Nicole, Actress“My hope is that one day someone would look at me on screen and say ‘I look like her’ or ‘I’m queer like her.’ That’s representation. That’s what I didn’t have when I was growing up. I didn’t have a mirror to see myself in the world. I’m hoping to do more good.” Ann Shoket, Author of The Big Life“This generation of young women is made up of game-changing rockstar pioneers rewriting the rules of work and life and love for everyone yet they get hung up on some very old ideas of the way things should go. People still say that 30 is the deadline by which they should have the big job and the partner and the baby plan all sorted out. Though they are making great strides in changing the way work works, they feel less empowered in their personal lives to make those same changes.” Natalie Egan, Founder of Translator“I thought my life couldn’t get any worse and that’s actually when I figured out that my deep dark secret that I was a cross dresser, was actually much more, and that I was transgender. All of a sudden I realized, I was actually a woman inside and it scared the shit out of me. It was not a welcomed realization. I thought if I come out it becomes everybody’s burden – my kids, my family, all the professionals around me who had invested in Nathan. I thought I have to be Nathan.” Sophia Bush, Actress and Activist“Literally the way we solve every crisis in the world is by empowering women and creating parity.” Alysia Reiner, Actress and Activist“I think the biggest thing I learned [filming Orange is The New Black] is how many women are wrongfully imprisoned; how many women have drugs in their bags because their drug dealer boyfriends put them there, or are beaten and finally fight back and are put in prison.” Autumn de Forest, teenage artistic prodigy“A lot of my paintings come from ideas that I think would look good on canvas. I will look at an artist for inspiration and then mix it with a problem of today to create a piece that not only appeals to the artwork but also to people in need. I want to make it more powerful than a pretty picture.” Alejandra “Ali” Campoverdi, politician and healthcare activist“When I got the job at the White House I worked from the Oval Office for those first couple of years, and it was the full circle moment for a lot of dreams in my family. My Mom was in her late teens when she emigrated from Mexico and the day I got to walk her into the Oval Office and introduce her to President Obama was a day I will never forget.” Vivien Lászlóffy, CEO of Aeron“I always look at experience and not education, because if I look at myself or a lot of amazing people around me, it was the journey that defined us. Every time I meet someone I know right away if I throw her into ice cold water she will survive and thrive from it. Above it all, I think that’s the most important thing.” Iman, supermodel and Founder of Iman Cosmetics“Back in the mid-70’s when I started my career as a model, ‘ethnic’ and ‘women of color’ meant one thing: Black. True, it later evolved to include Latina or Asian. But from an early age I began seeing more similarities than differences among different ethnic groups. Let’s face it: women of every race, nationality and background want the same thing – to look radiant and feel beautiful in their own skin.” Jillian Wright, Founder of Indie Beauty Expo“Why don’t we [indie brands] have a platform? Why don’t we have somewhere to go?... Out of frustration, I said, ‘I’m going to start my own expo.’” Floris White Bull, DAPL protestor and star of Awake, a Dream from Standing Rock“It was an amazing convergence of all these different aspects of community. It created a space for all of us to come together... Different religions, different races, it was truly beyond more than any of us could have ever asked for.” Cindy Barshop, former Real Housewife of New York and Founder of VSPOT“There are so many young women out there that don’t have orgasms, or can’t orgasm – it’s part of their life. If this was a man, you would be able to get this treatment out of an ATM Machine!” Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global“Don’t hire brilliant jerks… The no dumb jerks rule is easy, the harder rule is no brilliant jerks. Often you come across people who are brilliant who you know are going to be great, but you know they are going to be toxic for the culture.” Mirtha Michelle, actress and author“Be assertive and have genuine conviction. In a world in which people lack authenticity, stand up for the things you believe in and be proud of who you are, where you come from, and where you want to go.” Taylor Frankel, Co-Founder of Nudestix“We want people to be able to say – these girls, they’re your girls next door, if they can do it, so can we.” Suzan Johnson Cook, former presidential advisor“Scream really loud, in private. We all have those days when our stress level is through the roof and nothing is going right. I had many of those days working in politics. It might not seem ‘lady-like’ or be good manners to go off in public, but when you get home and are all alone, scream at the top of your lungs and get your aggressions out. It feels good to release the tension.” Laura Geller, Founder of Laura Geller Cosmetics“My inspiration has always been the customer. I always say it’s not just good enough to create a product. The product has to not just touch her, but she has to have a way to connect with you. She has to feel like there’s somebody behind this brand. If it’s not the founder, it has to be somebody who cares.” Carolyn Rodz, Founder of The Circular Board“The traditional startup world tends to be very competitive, and women are shying away because they felt they weren’t ready. Even though we are performing at the same level, women are more risk averse. We think about the opportunity for failure and we don’t oversell. But once we get past the hurdle of raising capital, women are fantastic leaders. We are empathetic, collaborative, and great at taking input from others.” Sylvia Vaquer, Founder of SocioFabrica“In general in the Valley, there are two things that work against me, my being Latina is one of them, of course, but also because I look younger than my age – a lot of people would dismiss my expertise.” Jane Wurwand, Co-Founder of Dermalogica“No one told me you can’t just walk into Vogue and ask to see the beauty editor, so I did. I took my bag of goodies and showed anyone who would listen and we built this groundswell understanding of people who knew what we were. We were thumbing our nose at the European brands and being deliberately productive.” Dolores Catania, Real Housewife of New Jersey and fitness entrepreneur“I look at what I do from a woman’s point of view and all the women who have been in my position where one day you can have something and the next day you don’t. It’s the scariest thing in the world. You want to curl up in a ball but then you look at your kids and say ‘I can’t fall on my face.’ You take chances and make something work.” Simone Smith, Founder of Simone I Smith Jewelry “My journey to becoming cancer-free is what really influenced me to be an entrepreneur, and put my best foot forward to create something to believe in. At the time I couldn’t find really affordable, yet well made hoop earrings, and something ignited in me. I wanted my children to see me become an entrepreneur and make my dreams come to life.” Jamie Coker-Robertson, board member of History UnErased“Trust your instincts, and embrace the idea that you are the CEO of your business. Your honesty and visibility can bolster your business – never be afraid of being 100 percent authentic. Always stay true to your mission in all that you do, in every decision you make, and in every presentation of your business. Understand that entrepreneurship is equally thrilling, frustrating, exhausting and life-affirming, all at the same time.” Kára McCullough, Miss USA 2017“To people who say you can’t have both brains or beauty, I would say, ‘Why are you so small minded?’ Life is very intricate and it’s never one sided, so expand your horizons. Character is truly defined by how people use their traits for the betterment of those around them. You can’t let people who are close minded affect you. Just be so sure in the gifts that you’re given, and so sure about the way in which you share those with the world.” Megan McArthur, NASA astronaut“Seeing Earth from that angle was awe-inspiring. Even though you’re so far away, it creates within you this tremendous love for your planet. You can see how thin the atmosphere is, and you feel this supreme responsibility to take care of, and preserve, its beauty.” Amanda Jaguden Amanda is a writer living in New York City. She loves reading, coffee, traveling and anything that empowers women.