Daring, bold, gentle, resilient, intelligent, creative, nurturing, wise; women are all these things and more and so I am dedicating much of my Journal to highlighting women of the world that inspire me and hopefully will inspire you. In this first instalment, I present five women who have paved their own compelling path in life and in turn have made a difference to women worldwide.
31-year old documentary presenter Stacey Dooley has investigated sweatshops in India, asked an ISIS soldier how many women he'd abused, sat amongst anti-abortionists in the US and explored the world of sex trafficking in Cambodia. That's not even half the issues Stacey has examined during the last decade in which she's graced our television screens with her infectious interest in world affairs, more often than not placing herself in precarious circumstances to do so. Despite her youth, or perhaps because of it, Stacey has the rare ability to make you observe without judgement, to see for the first time an age-old issue in new light and from different perspectives. We'll forever be in awe.
Stacey's Instagram @sjdooley
Her new novel On the Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back
Her documentaries Stacey Dooley Investigates
Presenter, model and actress Jameela Jamil doesn't like airbrushing. In fact, for her recent cover shoot for Virgin magazine, she insisted that no airbrushing be applied. In her own words, this "is a desperately important stance to take in honour of the 10’s of millions of women (at least) who struggle so much with their self image, due to decades of impossibly demanding body standards being inflicted upon us". Follow Jameela's instagram account @i_weigh and you'll appreciate the essence of her campaigning.
Jameela's site Jameela Jamil - Diary of a Goon
Jameela's Instagram @jameelajamilofficial
The I Weigh Instagram @i_weigh
Miranda Darling is intrigue. Mother, author of heroine-based thriller novels, magazine contributor and documentary film writer, Darling has travelled the world as a fashion model and holds a Masters in Strategic Studies and Defence, meaning she can advise on non-traditional security threats such as 'piracy, pandemics and home-grown terrorism'. Her production company Vanishing Pictures exists to tell the story of women who shaped the art world but whose legacy has been left in the shadows. She wrote this piece for RUSSH magazine on her New Year's resolution:
This year my resolution is a revolution in the way I face the world,
in the way I turn to face myself:
I resolve to be a river of love, and an iron fist in a velvet glove,
to dissolve fear. . .
to call things by their proper names – no more games
to Shine the Light,
to bring in the bright things,
the good and soft things,
to let the love in and to let it out.
I will smile and be bold;
I will be kintsugi mended in gold,
more beautiful for having been broken.
Miranda's Instagram @mirandadarling13
Miranda's Blog The Girl with the Pearls
Miranda's Vanishing Pictures Productions
Fashion stylist and television presenter Grace Woodward is not afraid to say the things we all feel. Follow her on Instagram and you'll soon appreciate that there's a genuineness and humility about Woodward that is both unnerving and relieving. She's open about her struggle with poor body image and loudly promotes acceptance of the imperfections in ourselves and others.
Grace's Instagram @gracewoodward
Grace's work Grace Woodward Creative
Lexie Smith looks at global affairs through the lens of bread, or rather, she sees bread from a political point of view. Lexie believes bread connects people and cultures and opens dialogue about "gender, sustainability, politics, the environment and colonialism - in every place on the planet". She creates sculptural pieces and art installations out of long-forgotten ancient bread recipes and doesn't just make us think about what we're loading into our bodies but the impact those choices have on the planet and the people on it. Lexie is creating a kind of new world order in which the act of breaking bread becomes our revelation and our guide.
Check out her Instagram @leche_smith
Her personal blog All Semantics
Her bread-related site Bread on Earth
Stacey Dooley by CelebMafia, Jameela Jamil via her Instagram, Miranda Darling by Prue Ruscoe for Harpers Bazaar, Grace Woodward by Andrew Woffinden; Lexie Smith by Ana Kras;