Sure, 2018 wasn’t the easiest of times for women, but it’s worth noting that our voices are being heard, societal standards are changing, boundaries are being set, and we’re setting our place at the table. From female empowerment and equality to body positivity to motherhood, leave it to influential women like Michelle Obama, Reese Witherspoon, Serena Williams, and Beyoncé to provide us with the words of wisdom needed going into 2019. The celebrity quotes below will not only motivate you to have resolve as you enter the new year, but they’ll make you pretty damn proud to be a woman, too.
“That whole ‘so you can have it all.’ Nope, not at the same time. That’s a lie. And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that sh*t doesn’t work all the time,” Michelle Obama said during her Becoming book tour.
“The past year was one of realizing our limitless power and this year will be putting that into serious action!! So be daring, be fun, be kind, be courageous, be dependable, be committed to what makes your heart sing and your spirits soar… be relentless in the pursuit of your passions,” Jennifer Lopez wrote on Instagram.
“It’s OK if not everybody likes you,” Emma Stone told British Vogue. “So that was a major lesson, not falling over myself to win over the unwinnable.”
“Sometimes things will work out and you’ll shine for a moment and sometimes they won’t, but that slow and steady is a good way to approach life,” Nicole Kidman told People.
“There are many shades on every journey. Nothing is black or white. I’ve been through hell and back, and I’m grateful for every scar,” Beyoncé wrote in personal essay for Vogue. “Through it all I have learned to laugh and cry and grow. I look at the woman I was in my 20s and I see a young lady growing into confidence but intent on pleasing everyone around her. I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful.”
“Women don’t need to find their voice. They need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen,” Meghan Markle said at the first annual Royal Foundation Forum. “There is no better time to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them, men included in that.”
“The world just wants to cover up marginalized bodies, and I’m not here for it. Stop hiding, stop listening to society. They want to keep you down because that’s how they keep furthering, like, crap and selling you diet crap… Just be yourself and own it,” Tess Holliday said on Busy Tonight.
“I’m not a superwoman, I’m just a human. And I think maybe that’s where the power is — realizing I’m not the strongest, I’m not the most intelligent thinker, but I do care about others, and I feel like in my caring and compassion, there is strength in that,” said Tiffany Haddish.
“You know what women do when they get hurt???? They pick themselves up! Go get a haircut. Put on some lipstick and chant ‘if you don’t have something nice to say… don’t say anything at all,’” Drew Barrymore wrote on Instagram.
“I was constantly told I was too muscular, or I wasn’t pretty enough to be a tennis player. I learned to ignore the negativity and look inwards to truly love myself. I realized I was in control of my feelings and focused on rising above the negative chatter and the unrealistic societal ideals placed on me,” Serena Williams told Elle.
“There can be 100 people in the room and 99 don’t believe in you, and you just need one,” Lady Gaga said of her role in a Star Is Born.
“Stop the rhetoric that a woman is crazy or difficult. If a man says to you that a woman is crazy or difficult, ask him, ‘What bad thing did you do to her,’” Natalie Portman said at Variety’s Power of Women summit.
“I would tell her: Don’t worry about what other people think, or about whether you’re doing what they think is the right thing. The things you worry about now, they mostly won’t matter. So just follow your heart.” Melissa McCarthy, on the advice she’d give her younger self, to People.
“So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again,” Oprah Winfrey said at the Golden Globes.
“Hey girls, we need to do a better job of supporting each other. I know that I am guilty of it, too. We live in a world where it seems like there’s only room for one of us at the table. So when another woman shows up, we think, “Oh my god, she’s going to take the one woman spot! That was supposed to be mine!” Mindy Kaling said in commencement address at Dartmouth College. “Wouldn’t it be better if we worked together to dismantle a system that makes us feel like there’s limited room for us? Because when women work together, we can accomplish anything.”
“To all the survivors out there, don’t let anyone rewrite your story. Your truth does matter, you matter, and you are not alone,” Aly Raisman said at the ESPY Awards.
“No one’s really doing it perfectly. I think you love your kids with your whole heart, and you do the best you possibly can,” said Reese Witherspoon on motherhood.
“I’ve always felt that women who are taller are smarter and more powerful. I would feel less than because of my size. I see how women who are 5’9” walk into a room, and I am so attracted to the space they take up. But then I started to realize that you can take up space without height — with your achievements, points of view, and opinions,” Vanessa Hudgens said in an interview with Health.