Real-life Mindy Kaling possesses equal sass and confidence as her iconic on-screen characters, if not more. It’s hard to tell where Kelly Kapoor ends and Mindy begins — one of the reasons why we love her. Kaling is a feisty brown woman who upended stereotypical portrayals of Indians on TV.
In her wildly successful sitcom “The Mindy Project,” Kaling plays a flawed, sexy, messy, emotional, successful, and hilarious woman, who is unmarried, to boot! Mindy is also a New York Times Bestselling author. In short, a total boss.
Oprah Winfrey overcame more adversity than one can imagine. Her spirit prevailed – taking her from multi-award-winning talk show host to America’s first Black female billionaire. What distinguished Winfrey right off the bat was her generosity and authenticity.
She has never shied away from sharing her fortune. These days, Winfrey shares opportunities instead of giving out cars. She founded the “Angel Network” to assist humanitarian projects and offer grants to non-profits. Winfrey also founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, which supports academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in South Africa.
The “Grey’s Anatomy” star famously called out remarks suggesting that her exorbitant pay raise caused two co-stars to be written off the show. A classic sexist tale of pitting one woman against another. Pompeo herself has fought long and hard to get the pay she deserves. When she learned that her co-star, Patrick Dempsey, was paid nearly double the amount she was, Pompeo was determined to demonstrate her worth.
She persevered and secured not only more money but creative freedom. Pompeo continues using her power to fight for equal pay and representation.
She may have risen to fame playing a somewhat ditzy blonde, but Reese Witherspoon is anything but that. Like Elle Woods, there’s much more to Witherspoon than meets the eye. Over the years, she’s emerged as a passionate advocate for diverse female voices in film.
Witherspoon ran a woman-centric production company called “Hello Sunshine” and continues actively working with numerous women's advocacy groups. In 2017, her company produced the critically acclaimed “Big Little Lies,” starring A-listers Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and Zoe Kravitz.
Meghan Markle’s philanthropic work began long before her celebrated marriage to Prince Harry. Markle spoke truth to power at the wee age of 11 when she called out sexist stereotypes in a washing-liquid ad. The voiceover said, “Women are fighting greasy pots and pans.” Markle appeared on TV to say it was wrong for kids to grow up thinking, “Mom does everything.”
Proctor & Gamble changed the voiceover to “people” instead of “women.” There has been no looking back for Markle — from portraying the fiercely independent Rachel in the sitcom “Suits” to serving as a UN Advocate for Women's Political Participation and Leadership.