Alexis Bledel as Rosie the Riveter
In 1942 the U.S. government commissioned the “We Can Do It!” poster, which featured an image of a character who became known as Rosie the Riveter. Her biceps-revealing shirtsleeves and determined look were meant to motivate American women to step out of the kitchen and into the factory to replace the men who had been pressed into service during World War II. And millions did just that, paving the way for us to pull down paychecks more than 60 years later.
“She’s a symbol of women getting things done. It shows that strength is beautiful.”—Alexis Bledel, 27, of this summer’s comedy Post Grad
Alicia Keys as First Lady Michelle Obama
Not only is Obama the first African American filling the position, but she’s already making best-dressed headlines for a style that ranges from couture to J.Crew. Raised in Chicago, Obama, 45, powered on to Princeton and Harvard Law School before beginning a career during which she met, mentored and married our current President. Hail to our newest smart, opinionated, chic First Lady!
“She has worked hard for everything she’s accomplished, and done so with grace and humility. So many women and girls can identify with her story.”—Alicia Keys, 28, whose most recent album is As I Am
America Ferrera as Dolores Huerta
A fierce advocate for migrant farmers, Huerta cofounded, with César Chávez, what became the United Farm Workers of America. In 1975 she played a critical role in enacting policies that allowed workers to bargain for better wages and conditions. Today, at age 79, Huerta continues to be active—last year she campaigned for Hillary Clinton’s presidential run.
“She saw her own opinion and voice as [something as] powerful as any man’s.”—America Ferrera, 25, of ABC’s Ugly Betty, holding a sign that reads “strike” in Spanish
Camilla Belle as Mary Tyler Moore
Mary Tyler Moore’s namesake television show debuted in 1970 and instantly became a megahit. A thirtysomething producer, Moore’s character, Mary Richards, was a sassy, single career woman who was more focused on having a satisfying work life and valuable friendships than husband hunting. But young women recognized Mary—and her working wardrobe of flared pants and wrapdresses—as themselves. And they never looked back.
“We all should continue to be as independent as Mary was and unapologetically push for equality in the workplace.”—Camilla Belle, 22, of the upcoming drama Three Stories About Joan
Chanel Iman as Althea Gibson
After years of playing segregated tennis, the late Althea Gibson tore down the color barrier of competition in 1950, when, at age 23, she became the first African American to compete in major U.S. championships—and, in 1957, the first to win Wimbledon. In her crisp whites, “the Jackie Robinson of tennis,” as she was known, won 11 major titles.
“She showed women…you can be sweaty, be gorgeous and do a great job.”—Chanel Iman, 19, cohost of MTV’s House of Style
Elisha Cuthbert as Brandi Chastain
Amazing moment in sports history #1: Chastain, then 31, scores the game-winning penalty kick against China in the first-ever women’s World Cup soccer final, in 1999. Amazing moment #2: Chastain dives to her knees and tears off her jersey in celebration. Newspapers debated whether to run the photo, and commentators were shocked that she exposed her—gasp!—sports bra. But they missed the point: This was a moment when women let out a collective roar of approval and little girls discovered a new hero.
“Brandi proves that we should have no excuses as women to go out there and be the best that we can be.”—Elisha Cuthbert, 26, of FOX’s 24
Emma Roberts as Audrey Hepburn
OK, she was born in Belgium, but Hepburn became one of the most beloved American movie stars. Her sharp, sensitive turn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s made the film a must-see for women of all ages, while the late actress’s elegant style continues to inspire women to this day.
“She was so simply beautiful. And she loved charity work, something even more beautiful about her.”—Emma Roberts, 18, of this month’s big-screen drama Lymelife, reenacting a scene from the 1957 musical Funny Face
Emma Stone as Carrie Bradshaw
Have we ever seen a more obsessed fashionista than Sex and the City’s cosmo-sipping Carrie (brilliantly played by Sarah Jessica Parker)? Nu-uh, honey. With her nameplate necklaces, flower pins and endless parade of instantly copied outfits, Carrie was feminine and feminist at the same time, like the love child of Manolo Blahnik and Gloria Steinem!
“I don’t know a girl in this generation who hasn’t been influenced at least a bit by Carrie.” —Emma Stone, 20, of the upcoming comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Hayden Panettiere as Amelia Earhart
In 1932 Earhart—with her leather jacket, scarf and close-cropped hair—became the first female aviator to fly a solo transatlantic flight, redefining expectations of women along the way. Though the 39-year-old disappeared in 1937 during a flight around the world, she still serves as a reminder of female fearlessness.
“She proved that anything is possible. If you want to fly a plane, fly a plane…. No one can tell you no.” —Hayden Panettiere, 19, costar of this summer’s comedy I Love You, Beth Cooper, standing on a 1939 Lockheed UC-40A Electra Junior airplane
Odette Yustman, Spencer Grammer, Rumer Willis as The Women of Woodstock
The dawning of the Age of Aquarius in the late sixties was more than a musical orgy. Hippies, with their spirit of protest and we-can-do-anything energy, helped usher in a new generation of free-thinking, independent-minded women. Goodbye, white gloves; hello, jeans!
“They were showing the world that being a little bit different is OK.”—Odette Yustman, 23, of the upcoming film Rogue’s Gallery
“These women didn’t have to look a certain way. They didn’t have to have a man. They could love whomever they wanted—that has definitely influenced who we are now.”—Spencer Grammer, 25, of ABC Family’s Greek
“It’s an era that was so important because it was very much about natural beauty.”—Rumer Willis, 20, of the upcoming horror film Sorority Row
Paula Patton as Billie Holiday
As an aspiring singer, Holiday suffered sexual abuse, struggled with a drug habit and encountered racism everywhere. But the late Lady Day—one of the first African American women to sing with an all-white orchestra—translated all of that pain into some of the most achingly personal songs ever recorded. (Download “Strange Fruit,” which she sang at her 1948 Carnegie Hall concert, and listen for yourself.)
“You can imagine that women at home hearing her songs on the radio felt her vocalizing their emotions and their struggles.”—Paula Patton, 33, of the upcoming drama Push, wearing Holiday’s trademark gardenia in her hair
LILO as MADGE
I'm glad ONTD reads. FIGHT AGAINST ADULT ILLITERACY!!