‘International Women’s Day means many things to many people. Officially, it is ‘a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.’ – Stephanie Ruhle
Sunday is International Women’s Day and every year I do nice galleries of all my wonderful friends, who are all lovely international women in their own right, but I’ve never really written about all the women who inspire me (mainly because I’ve never really thought about it before)
But there’s a couple of women on this list that I’ve wanted to speak about publicly before, I just never found the right occasion or angle. This now feels the right time, because these are very much ordinary women, who for one reason or another do (in my mind at least) extraordinary things, and always, always makes me smile smile. And as someone who is always looking for women I can aspire to be more like, these women are pretty effing cool role models.
The fact that shes a blonde hip hop dancer (as a fellow blondie, someone I have always looked up to) was enough to make it on the list as is. She’s danced with Kelly Rowland, Rihanna and Eminem to name just a few and she’s one of those girls who looks annoyingly perfect in just a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt. However over the years its other things that have made Criscilla an inspiration to me. She has 3 children with husband Coffey, who, judging by their insta stories having an amazing life full of fun and happiness. When she was nursing Emmarie, she stopped halfway through running a half marathon to breastfeed her. She was still dancing full out whilst pregnant with Everleigh.
She’s the epitome of the phrase ‘strong enough to raise the children then get back to business’. Late last year she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, for which she has been recently treated in Spain . Despite this she’s still always positive, always smiling and more importantly still always dancing. You can donate to Criscilla’s gofundme page to help with her medical bills.
Some of the women who inspire me the most are those who are not only excelling in a male dominated arena, but are actually holding their own against the men. In motorport, if you see a woman, she’s most likely going to be a scantily clad grid girl, or a glamorous supermodel cheering her man on from the sidelines. Ana Carrasco is a female motorbike racer, in fact, she’s the only female motorbike racer to ever compete in the Moto3 World Championship. She comes from a racing family, he father having worked for a famous Spanish National Champion as a mechanic and her obtaining he first bike when she was three because her older sister didn’t want it. She’s such a great ambassador for women in sport, especially a sport in which, underneath the helmet, you wouldn’t know the gender of the rider, so there is no reason whatsoever why men and women shouldn’t compete side by side. It’s important for Ana to win on merit though, not because she’s been given any special dispensation because she’s a women. Oh, and she’s also training to be a lawyer.
Obviously, as you all know, ultra marathon running is quite the norm in our house. And I’ve written before how much I love seeing all the badass ladies who show up at the events that Dave does. I’ve lived through the training and the diets and the early mornings and the sacrifices so I know what it takes for any person; man or woman. I know through Dave that ultrarunning is more about the power to weight ratio and is more akin to rock climbing (women, incidentally make better rock climbers due to their higher pain threshold). It’s more about emotional barriers. Everyone races together and supports each other and the stronger you are doesn’t necessarily make you better. From all the events I’ve ever attended with Dave, the men out number the women by a rati or at least 4:1. Courtney Duawalter is the worlds most successful female ultrarunner. She completed the Moab 240 (a 238 miles/383 km race) in 2 days, 9 hours, and 59 minutes; faster than any men competing that year and 10 hours ahead of the person in second place. She was the first women EVER to win the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (a 106m/171km ultrarun through the Alps) So anyone who followed Dave’s 100 mile Ultra last year, it was that, but up an Alp! What I love even more about her? She’s not clad in Nike running kit, or glamorous skin tight leggings She runs in basketball shorts and baggy t-shirts, which is essentially what I go to the gym in. And that’s why I love her.
I’ve been following stylist Lauren on insta for a couple of years now and it’s been amazing to see her grow her online business. She’s a stylist but not in the expensive, capsule wardrobe, everything’s from Whistles or Jaeger kind of way. She’s thrifty and loves a good charity shop rummage. She really champions style at any size and encourages you to embrace your shape – whatever shape that is. Her personally style includes a lot of statement tees and 90s style shift dresses and trainers which I. Am. All. About. She also taught me the wonders of the fresh tuck – which has honestly changed the way I dress – i tuck everything in now. And she styles Mel B, if she wasn’t cool enough already. If clothes are your thing, defo give her a follow, I could listen to her talk all day on her insta stories (and sometimes do!).
Sara is one of those rare people you find on the internet that you know after one or two conversations that if you were to meet in rel life, you’d be best friends. Sara writes the hugely successful Backstreet Boys fan blog What Happens on the Backstreet. She doesn’t get paid to do it, she’s a fan who likes to write. I’ve been an avid fan of WHO the Backstreet for years and actually go to it for information even before their official socials sometimes. A few years ago, when certain band members were being accused of certain inappropriate behaviour, Sara wrote an article pointed out a few inaccuracies in the accusers story. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that after I read the article, I questioned some of Sara’s theories, and like the sensible adults we are, we had a conversation about it and respectfully listened to each others point of view. The accuser at the centre of all of this did not however have such respectful conversations with Sara and went on to publicly name her in a news article. Sara makes no financial gain from this site and has a full time job and and friends and a family, all of which she worried would be in jeopardy for her name being brought into this whole sorry mess. Despite the emotional toll that all of this took on her, Sara remained positive, classy, and graceful, even though horrible things were being said about her. I empathised with her and recognised the similarities between us. We’re both people who have fun, well rounded fulfilled ‘offline’ lives, but also like to write about our favourite boyband from time to time. I’m so proud to now be able to call Sara a friend, she’s the poster girl (see what I did there) for how to maintain an online presence and still keep your mental health safe at the same time.