This year, we celebrated America by celebrating ourselves. Take a break from your 4th of July hangover and instead read about some of our favorite kickass American women. Women who inspire us – in art, in science, in beauty, in strength of spirit. We love them, and we love you.
Happy 5th of July, yall!
1. Alex Belle & Isis Valentine of St. Beauty
These two musical poets made the list by merit of their new album alone, the self-titled debut record St. Beauty. The Atlanta natives describe their musical style as audible “confetti,” elaborating to PopSugar that just like confetti, their music is “is filled with a lot of emotions, colors, and vibrations.” We love them because of their soulful honesty and spellbinding lyrics.
2. Mirai Nagasu
Wipe away your tears, Tonya – this year at the February Olympics in Pyeongyang, Mirai become the first US woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics and the third woman ever to do so in the Olympics. Only 24 years old, Mirai is already an incredibly decorated figure skater and a Dancing With the Stars veteran. Also, her throwback photos are heart-melting.
3. Jessie Andrews of Honeyblood Art
Jessie is the manic pixie dream girl I wish I could be. A native of my city, Jessie is an amazing artist and an even more amazing woman. Her work is a galaxy fairytale and she never shies from gold leaf or glitter – two things the world always needs more of. She also regularly features motivational messages and self-care reminders on her social media and I love her so much for it.
4. Dr. Jedidah Isler
Dr. Jedidah understands supermassive blackholes, meaning she thinks about them on purpose without breaking out in hives and that alone is kickass. But it doesn’t stop there – she’s also the first black woman to receive a PhD at Yale in astrophysics and endured a rough slate of “backhanded comments” on her way to the top. Now, she’s an educator who is regularly published in academic journals. Suck it, -ists.
5. Charity Grace Leblanc
Charity Grace is an actual mermaid who exists on Instagram (and in the world, probably) showcasing her insane bod, makeup artistry, adorable kids, and enviable blue hair. She recently competed in America Ninja Warrior and the world fell in love with her even more – though I admit I’ve been stalking her for years now, slowly compiling inspo so I can eventually steal her look and finally live my Hot Mom dreams.
6. Hayley Kiyoko
One of the most prominent out-and-proud artists on the pop music scene, Hayley Kiyoko is blowing up. Her newest album, Expectations, is a bittersweet journey through her self-discovery. She got her start in her parents’ garage and now has billboards in Times’ Square. Her perpetual optimism and unflagging self-acceptance speak to something within me and inspire me to be more.
7. Tessa Fontaine
Alternatively known as The Electric Woman, Tessa is a writer and creator who lived everyone’s dream when she quite literally ran away to join the circus. She fibbed her way into a position as a fire-eater by claiming she knew how to eat fire… and then learned on the job. Now, Tessa’s latest novel, The Electric Woman, is being lauded by Barnes & Noble, Amazon, the New York Times, and others for being a fresh feminine voice on the literary scene.
8. Leslie Knope
Okay, so she may not technically be real, but at this point Leslie Knope is a little bit like Santa Clause – if enough people believe in her, it ceases to matter. I can only hope that in the near future we have a Knope presidency and that Galentine’s Day is officially instated as a national holiday. More paid vacation, please.
9. Stevie Nicks
I will never write a list of kickass women and not put Stevie on it. Stevie is an actual human stardrop, made from the sweet clarity of morning dew and the buttery softness of midafternoon sun. She’s a chart-topping singer and songwriter, has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Fleetwood Mac, and has won a ton of awards. But more than that, she’s a sensitive soul with a wide open heart and love-you eyes. And I do love you, Stevie. I so do.