Top 10 Most Influential Women Who Made a Difference

These top 10 female celebrities were not only chosen for their good looks or fortunes, but also because of their involvement with charity work and their contributions to the society.


1. Angelina Jolie


Angelina Jolie was born to the well known actor Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. She had a rough relationship with her father, stating she only saw him when they worked together. However, she was always open about how close she was with her mother and could never be as good of a mother that her mother was to her. In 2001, during a broadcast interview, Jolie’s father made a plea for his daughter to get help for her mental problems. After that interview, Jolie stopped having any contact with her father, until they reconnected after Jolie’s mother passed away due to a six year battle with Cancer.

Jolie is a well known actress, having starred in films such as “Lara Croft, co-starring her father, and “Girl, Interrupted”, for which she won an Oscar for. She played a mental patient in the movie, and some would say she played the perfect role of herself. In 2011, she made her directorial debut, “In The Land of Blood and Honey”, which she also wrote.

Being married twice before, she found love with Brad Pitt in 2005 when they starred in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. At the time of the development of the now most powerful relationship, Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston. Together, they now have six children together, three adopted and three biological. The fact that Jolie “stole Brad Pitt from Jennifer Aniston” has been a money making machine for the media. But that did not stop Angelina Jolie from being a humanitarian.

Jolie became aware of humanitarian work when she worked on “Lara Croft” in Cambodia, where she adopted her first son. She contacted UNHCR for information on international trouble sports. In February 2001, she went on her first field visit, an 18 day mission to Sierra. She was named the UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. Since then, Jolie visited more than 30 countries to meet with refugees.

When asked what she hoped to accomplish by doing the field trips, Jolie replied, “Awareness of the plight of these people. I think they should be commended for what they have survived, not looked down upon.” Jolie is known to visit countries of war zones. Jolie has also established several charity organizations and uses her profile on media to promote her humanitarian work


2. Oprah Whinfrey


Oprah’s first co-hosting experience came in 1976 when she coco-hosted the program “People Are Talking.” During that time, she also co-anchored news casts. By September 1985, Oprah had her own talk show called “The Oprah Winfrey Show” which lasted for 25 years. By 1987, the show won an Emmy award, and Oprah was the youngest person ever to receive the “Broadcaster Of The Year” award. Her show included guest appearances from celebrities, such as Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, as well as Heath Ledger, Ellen Degeneres and Jessica Simpson. Oprah also spent a massive amount of her shows discussing personal issues such as abuse and rape. She had several guests come in to speak on her couch to talk about their own experiences.

Oprah also has her own production company called “Harpo Production” which was developed in 1986, through her love of acting and entertainment. Today, in 2012, it is a force of televisions shows for people like Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, and Rachel Ray. Her production company also developed TV shows and TV movies. Oprah was the first person ever to have her own production company all on her own.

Oprah had also developed her on air book club called “Oprah’s Book Club”. The book club included new books that Oprah would recommend viewers to read. Right after a book was included in her club, the book was the #1 bestselling book. She also developed her own 2 magazines sets. called “O, Oprah magazines” and “O at Home”. Her first magazine was a bestseller when it first came out. By 2003, Oprah was the first African American woman to become a billionaire.

In 2010, after 25 years on the air, Oprah decided to say goodbye to her long running show to peruse her own Television Network called OWN, where she still continues on with her hosting duties. The final broadcast of daytime show aired on May 25, 2011. On top of that, Oprah has established her own school in Africa for children coming from broken homes. Oprah is a well established woman, who makes people think of themselves in a positive, energetic way.


3. Princess Diana

Diana Spencer married Prince Charles in 1981 at only 19 years old. He was 32 at the time. They had two children together, Prince William and Prince Harry. The marriage between Princess Diana and Prince Charles was a miserable one. When in public, they would never hold hands or even look at each other. Prince Charles had an affair with Camilla, whom he married in 2005. It was reported that Princess Diana cheated as well during the marriage. Princess Diana and Prince Charles separated in 1991 but would only get divorced in 1995, because the Queen insisted they would stay legally married.

During her royal marriage, Princess Diana developed her own interests and activities. She became a strong advocate for children in need who had conditions such as AIDS and HIV. She was the first celebrity ever to be photographed touching a person who was diagnosed with HIV. However, all that hard work was overshadowed by the cruelty of media frenzy, who would follow her everywhere she went, even after her divorce from Prince Charles.

Sadly, the media attention she tried she tried so hard to avoid turned deadly. On August 31, 1997, Princess Diana got into a car accident while trying to get away from reporters. Her boyfriend, Dodie Al Fayed, also died. Ever since that day, the word “Paparazzi” was establish when referring to reporters who take unwanted pictures of celebrities or anyone in the media.


4. Hilary Clinton

Hilary Clinton was the First Lady of The United States during the time that Bill Clinton, whom she met at Yale Law school, was the president. She worked as a lawyer while raising her daughter, Chelsea. In 1992, when Governor Bill Clinton was elected to be president, Hillary Clinton was a strong advocate for health care reform and worked hard on solving issues dealing with children and women in need, as well reducing teen pregnancies and improving the health care system.

Hillary Clinton said the following during a 1995 speech: “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights” This inspired women and helped strengthen women’s rights all over the world.

In 2000, she became the primary First Lady to be elected as The United States Senate. During that time, she served on the Armed Services Committee, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Budget Committee and the Select Committee on Aging. She was also a Commissioner on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

After September 11, 2001, Clinton was a strong advocate at the foundation of rebuilding the state of New York and improving the Health Care system for those who risked their lives while working at Ground Zero.

In 2008, Clinton became a candidate at the Presidential Campaign. If she was elected, she would be the first female president ever. However, that did not come to life. Instead, she became the Secretary of State, elected by President Barack Obama in 2009. Clinton also wrote her own memoir, “Living History”, as well as a bestselling children’s book, “It Takes A Village.”


5. Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama became the first Black First Lady, when her husband, Barack Obama became the first Black President in 2009. Obama was raised in a home full of love and in 1988, she graduated from Harvard Law University, where she met her future husband, Barack Obama.

In 1996, Michelle Obama developed a vision by bringing together campus and community. She developed the university’s first community service program by being the Associated Dean of Students Services, as well as volunteerism skyrocketed through her leadership as Vice President of Community and External Affairs. Obama is still a strong advocate of this issue, and with her duties as First Lady, she developed “Let’s Move!” This campaign bring together community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, moms and dads in a nationwide effort to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity.

In 2011, together Jill Bidden, Obama launched “Joining Forces”, which mobilizes to give our service members and their families the support they need and to raise awareness of military families’ needs of education, employment, and wellness. By 2013, Joining Forces looks to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans and military spouses.

Despite all this hard work, Michelle Obama has stated that her first and foremost number 1 priority is being a good mother to her 2 daughters, Malia and Sasha.


6. Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel was born claimed she was born 1893, though her real birth year was 1883. According to her, Chanel lived a life of poverty. Her mother died when she was six, leaving her father as the main caretaker for her and her five siblings. Her father abandoned the children to the care of relatives.

Her real name was Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel but developed the name Coco Chanel while worker as a singer and café between 1905 and 1908. In 1910, she opened her first shop in Paris, and expanded it with the help of two men, a wealthy military officer and an English industrialist. She was the mistress of both men, though not at the same time.

Chanel’s work expanded drastically through the 1920s, and was known for her “little boy” look. Her relaxed fashions, short skirts, and casual look were a dramatic change to the fashion that was known in previous decades. In 1922, Coco Chanel introduced her first perfume, Chanel No. 5, which is popular and profitable to this day.

Chanel worked as a nurse during World War II, where she saw an opportunity to strengthen her fashion business. However, she saw it relish during that time. However, she had a comeback in 1954, and gained popularity once again. She also added pea jackets and bell bottom pants for women for her collection. Chanel also designed clothes for plays, such as Cocteau’s Antigone (1923) and Oedipus Rex (1937) and film costumes for several movies, including Renoir’s La Regle de Jeu.In 1969, a broadway musical came to life about Coco Chanel starring Katherine Hepburn. Coco worked up until her death in 1971, and Karl Lagerfeld has been chief designer of Chanel’s fashion house since 1983.


7. Ellen DeGeneres



Ellen Degeneres wanted to be a veteran, but her dreams did not come true because she thought she was not “book smart” enough. Therefore, she became a stand up comedienne, actress and a day time talk show host. But before that, she waited tables, worked as a secretary, and cleaned houses.

Just like Oprah, Ellen Degeneres is known to us as “Ellen”. Her stand up career came into play when she had to perform with a large group of audience and she was so nervous that she used humour to get through her fears. She began performing in 1981. By 1986, Ellen was on board to perform her stand up routines on Jay Leno and Johnny Carson. By the 1990’s Ellen had her own sitcom called “Ellen”, which was a real success. In one episode, her character came out as a lesbian when she developed feeling to a character played by Laura Dern. Ellen Degeneres decided to come clean and tell the world she is a lesbian on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Her sitcom ended in 1998 due to decline in ratings after “The Coming Out” episode, though that episode had the highest viewers ratings ever for the show.

After that, Ellen disappeared from Hollywood because no one would hire her after she came out. She came back into the picture when she starred in “These Walls Could Talk 2”, which was directed by her then girlfriend, Anne Heche. Ellen is now seen on Television everyday on her day-time talk show, “The Ellen Degeneres Show” since 2003. In 2007, she was the second woman ever, after Whoopi Goldberg, to host the Academy Awards. She is an activist for gay rights, as well as gay rights.


8. Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball had a rough childhood. Her father died when she was only three years old and her mother was pregnant with her brother Fred at the time of his death. Ball’s mother was never around and Ball was raised by her grandfather whom she called “Daddy” as her mother remarried a man who did not like children. Her father’s death was Ball’s first real significant memory.

When Ball was 11, she begged her mother to enroll her in a drama school. The school sent a letter saying that young Lucille was wasting her time trying to get into acting. She first worked as model, and by 1930, starred in a film after dying her hair blonde. Throughout her career Ball starred in over 70 movies, and had a name for herself, “The Queen of B movies. “ While starring in “Too Many Girls” she met Cuban band leader, Desi Arnaz and fell in love with him despite being in a two year relationship with someone else. The two dated for 6 months before getting married in 1940. Unlike her other men, Arnaz was 6 years younger than Ball. Ball once said, “It wasn’t love at first sight. It took a whole 5 minutes.”

In the 40s, Ball tried hard to get the roles she always dreamed of, starring roles. She even dyed her hair red in 1942. Desi Arnaz encouraged his wife to go into broadcasting. It didn’t take long for Ball to get a starring role in the radio show, “My favourite Husband”. The show was a success and CBS wanted the show to be broadcast on TV, which was a new innovation at the time. Ball saw it as an opportunity to get Arnaz play her reel life husband so they could spend more time together. Producers decline because they couldn’t see Arnaz as Ball’s husband. Ball then stated that she would only do the show if Desi Arnaz was a part of it.

The new show was called “I Love Lucy”. The couple wanted to have the show filmed on film rather than the kinescope that was used to film shows at the time. CBS stated they were short of money to do so, and that was when Desilu Productions was born. The show included story lines that dealt with marital issues, women in the workplace, and suburban living. The most significant episode of all was when Lucy tells Ricky, the two fictional characters played by the couple, that she was pregnant. Lucille Ball was the first pregnant woman to be seen on television, as she was pregnant in real life with her son, Desi Arnaz Jr. They also have an older daughter together, Lucie Arnaz. When the birth of Little Ricky was aired on January 19, 1953, the episode captured an unheard of 67.3 audience share, which included a 71.1 rating. Ironically, that was the day Lucille Ball gave birth to Desi Arnaz Jr.

In 1957, “I Love Lucy” changed its title to “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Instead of the show having 30 minute episodes, they extended each episode to an hour and reduced the number of episodes for each season. The new show had 13 episodes all together throughout the 3 years it aired. The reason for that is for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz to spend more time together at home as trouble came into their marriage. The plan didn’t work as Lucille Ball divorced Desi Arnaz in 1960, after 20 years of marriage.

Despite their relationship not working, Lucille Ball stayed lifelong friends with Desi Arnaz. Ball even asked Arnaz for permission to marry her second husband, Garry Morton. They also continued working together until 1962, when Lucille bought out Arnaz’s share of the Desilu Production. This made Ball the first ever female to run a production company all on her own. Ball also found success on two other shows, “The Lucy Show” and “Here’s Lucy”. She also starred in “Life with Lucy” in 1986, but the show got cancelled only after 8 episodes.

In 1971, Ball was the first woman to receive The International Radio and Television Society’s Gold Medal. She also won four Emmys, induction into the Television Hall of Fame, and the most honorable award of them all, a recognition for her life’s work from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Lucille Ball died on April 26, 1989 after an open heart surgery due to being diagnosed with ruptured aorta. She was 77.


9. Anne Frank

A Jewish young girl, Annelies Marie Frank, known as Anne, was born on June 12, 1929. She was the daughter of World War I lieutenant, who later became a businessman. The Frank family, including Anne’s mother and older sister, came from a typical middle class Jewish family living in Germany. However, things changed when World War I ended and the economy struggled. The Nazi party was leading the German government during the late 1920s and early 30s, and the family was forced to relocate. “Though this did hurt me deeply, I realized that Germany was not the world, and I left my country forever.”Otto Frank, Anne’s father said at the time.

The Franks relocated to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 1933. Of her experience as an emmigrated German Jew, Anne Frank wrote in her diary, “Because we’re Jewish, my father immigrated to Holland in 1933, where he became the managing director of the Dutch Opekta Company, which manufactures products used in making jam.”

The family suffered years of anti-Semitism, but when it was over, they once again lived a normal, happy life, and once again were a family unit. Anne Frank spent the rest of the 30s enjoying the childhood she once had, and seemed to be a happy, typical child that should have been, always. She enrolled in the Montessori school in in 1934. She had many friends, including Dutch, German, and Jewish.

But then came September 1, 1939, when the Nazi Germans invaded Poland, which developed into World War II in 1940. Franks wrote in her diary, “After May 1940, the good times were few and far between; first there was the war, then the capitulation and then the arrival of the Germans, which is when the trouble started for the Jews.”

Anne’s parents gave Anne her first diary on her 13th birthday, June 12, 1942. Anne’s first entry in the diary was written for her imaginary friend named Kitty, written on that same day. “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.” She wrote

On July 5, 1942, Anne’s mother received a letter stating the family to report to the Nazi’s. The family went into hiding, along with Otto’s employee and their family. To pass time, Anne wrote in her diary. “I’ve reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die,” she wrote on February 3, 1944. “The world will keep on turning without me, and I can’t do anything to change events anyway.” Writing in her diary kept Anne’s spirits alive.

On August 4, 1944, the families were betrayed by an anonymous tip, whose identity is of yet unknown. On September 3, 1994, the family arrived to a death camp in Poland by being transferred there by train from August 8th. When the Franks arrived there, Otto Frank was separated from his family. That would be the last time he saw his wife and children. Anne’s mother died in January 1945, and Anne, along with her with her sister, died of typhus. She was only 15 years old. Otto Frank, reluctantly, published his daughter’s diary as it was her wish. Anne Frank’s diary still touches the world today.

10. Mother Teresa

Born in 1910 as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa had always known she wanted to help the poor. When she was 17, she went on her first assignment after becoming a nun in May 1931, teaching at a school in Calcutta. Mother Teresa left the convent in 1948, and founded Order of the Missionaries of Charity. Her mission was to strengthen the lives of the poor, sick, dying, and orphaned first in India and then in other countries as well. Mother Teresa won a Noble Prize for her Humanitarian work in 1979, as well as India’s greatest honour, Bharat Ratna, in 1980. Mother Teresa died in 1997 at the age of 87, due to on-going heart problems.


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One Response

  1. Mridula

    What about Princess Diana – she influenced many with her beauty and her ability to change our perception of British Royalty


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