The results are in: You voted for these dream-chasing, barrier-breaking, amazingly motivating dynamos who take on the seemingly impossible daily. Let them inspire you to carry out your own feats of greatness.
In the September issue, Jennifer Lopez, SELF's Most Inspiring Women 2008, talks about why she and husband, Marc Anthony, chose to raise their twin babies without nannies, what inspired her to train for a triathlon and the accomplishments she's most proud of. Check out the story in the magazine, on stands now, and read some exclusive excerpts from our interview with Lopez that didn't make the magazine--more dish on motherhood, her marriage and more. Read Lopez's triathlon training blog at SELF Celeb Scoop.
For proving that a smart, funny and, yes, sexy comedienne can beat the boys every time
Some people might have been satisfied with being the first woman head writer for the notoriously male-dominated Saturday Night Live. Not Tina Fey, 38, who, after winning us over with her snarky humor on SNL's Weekend Update, went on to create, produce and star in the Emmy-winning series 30 Rock. This year, with pal Amy Poehler, Fey made the leap to big-screen lead in Baby Mama, where she redefined the female buddy movie as she continues to redefine what it means to be a successful woman in Tinseltown. What drives her to keep taking risks? Simple. Says Fey, "I hear my instinct, then follow it."
Do as she does When you achieve a goal, rather than resting on your laurels, use the kudos as a catalyst to stretch yourself further.
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For making major strides against poverty and violence
Reese Witherspoon could choose to spend her roughly $20-million-per-film paychecks on a closetful of Birkin bags. Instead, the 32-year-old Oscar-winning actress, mother of two and Hollywood power broker (she runs her own production company) puts her money and heart into helping the less powerful. She has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Children's Defense Fund. And now, as honorary chair of the Avon Foundation, Witherspoon, with Elle Woods-like determination, is using her position as the face of the cosmetics giant to focus attention on violence against women around the globe. "We need to care about each other and put our arms around each other," Witherspoon has said. "No one can do it alone." In a world where stars seem to make a point of behaving badly, how refreshing is that?
Do as she does Look beyond your backyard and aim high, whether battling injustice or raising money to fight cancer.Do Good, Feel Great! SELF has a month's worth of ways to make the world a better place.
For her drive to win, whether she's on top of her game, the underdog or the kid sister
In the 13 years since Serena Williams went pro at age 14, she has reenergized tennis with her passion and ferocity (not to mention her fashion sense). "On court, I'm always thinking, I've gotta do it. Because if I don't, someone else will," Williams says. But what's truly inspiring is her ability to rise and fall--and rise again, no matter who is across the net. This past July, she lost what would have been her third Wimbledon trophy to older sis Venus, but the riveting match reminded the world how formidable a rival the younger Williams is. "I look at [Venus] as another opponent," she said afterward. "Next time, I'll know what to expect and be even more ready."
Do as she does "It's important to write down your goals in order to see them," Williams says. So think big, make a plan, follow your gut and never let losing stand in your way.
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Head over to SELF to see who else they picked as their most inspiring women!
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