Judith Heumann, Marian Keyes, Grace Jones, CupcakKe, Dr Pauli Murray


The importance of having a fearless woman to look up to

Whether it’s your sister or Beyoncé, your mum or Hillary Clinton, we asked Team Pool who inspires them to be bold and brave in everything they do

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Dolly Alderton, author of Everything I Know About Love

“My fearless woman is my great-great-grandmother. She’s 95, raised two boys as a single mum through a war, and she refuses to use any sort of dishwasher tablets on her glassware, so she washes glasses at 55ºC with her leathery hands. She has continued with such pragmatism and positivity all her life. She has been absolutely fearless – and that doesn’t mean without fear, just she lived a life that some might see as hard, but she lived it in a way that she made it look easy.”

Marisa Bate, contributing editor and columnist

“Not enough people know Dr Pauli Murray’s name, but they really should. Fifteen years before Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus, Pauli Murray was arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus. The Baltimore-born orphan also formed the basis of some of the most progressive legislation of the 20th century in both the civil-rights movement (her law-school final-term paper was used in the landmark Brown v Board of Education case that ended segregation in schools) and women's liberation (alongside the legendary Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she fought to get sexual discrimination recognised in law). Throughout her legal career, she set out to make the lives of black women easier and fairer.”

Freddie Harrel, confidence consultant and founder of Big Hair No Care

“I really love Grace Jones. She’s always defiant, like, “This is me and this is all you’re getting!” I really love her for that – the way she stands out. When I was younger, I felt like I stood out more – I’m black, living in the West; we are the minority. I’ve always felt that I was always standing out in a way that I never wanted to, but now, being at my age, I can carry this role. Maybe sometimes I go over the top, but I’m like, you know what? I’m going to stand out anyway, so I might as well go for it.”

Daisy Buchanan, author of How To Be A Grown Up

“My fearless woman is the writer Marian Keyes – I have been an adoring superfan of her brilliant work for a long time, but I’m especially struck by her bravery in her newest novel, The Break, which features a devastating and very real storyline about a teenage girl in Ireland who has to travel to the UK for an abortion. She’s spoken about how scared she was to include this story in the book, knowing it might polarise readers, but wanted to use her platform to raise global awareness of something that affects millions of women. I think Ireland voted to repeal the eighth amendment in part because Marian’s brave book has opened millions of closed minds. She’s courageous enough to see and share the humanity of women when so many people are afraid to do so.”

Zoë Beaty, deputy news and content editor

“My best friend, Lizzie, is the sort of woman who runs a marathon with a fractured hip – which, I think, says a lot about her fearlessness, as well as her unfathomable mental strength (and, arguably, her stubborn nature). I catch myself wanting to imitate her loyalty to her friends and family, and her no-nonsense ambition (when she was asked her wage expectations for a job she went for, she refused to answer with anything other than "How much have you got?" Reader, it worked). But, mostly, I admire the way she is always, without question, stoutheartedly, completely herself. No matter who she's up against, or how small someone tries to make her feel, or how intimidated another person might be, she refuses to bend her views or change her personality to fit their expectations. Of course, she is universally adored.”

Anna Whitehouse, founder of Mother Pukka

“My fearless woman is Michelle Kennedy, founder of the app Peanut. The things she’s trying to do with her business are amazing, especially when she’s in the world of venture capitalism, which can be very hard and sexist. I really believe in what Peanut is offering mums – it’s time for something fresher.”

Yomi Adegoke, senior writer

“CupcakKe is a rapper who sits entirely outside of what society expects female rappers (who are often meant to be desirable before lyrical) to be – she's plus-size, dark-skinned and comfortable in that skin, recently declining unsolicited advice on breast-enlargement surgery. She is gracious and grateful to her fans, brimming with noisy confidence in a world that intends to silence women like her, and aside from her hilarious one-liners and gags, she uses her platform to spread positivity (of the body and sex kind) and remains a fierce ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Most impressively, she is only 20 years old – a world with more 20-year-old women with even half her self-assurance would be a better world indeed.”

Lucy Dunn, deputy editor

“My fearless woman is former Labour party MP Mo Mowlam, who once told Ian Paisley to fuck off. Universally respected for her total frankness, she loved to swear and also loved to hug – my kind of woman. She was ill from cancer for so long, keeping it secret even from her boss, Tony Blair, yet she never used her illness as an excuse and continued fighting tirelessly right to the end. I loved her habit of whipping off her wig so she could unseat aggressive male politicians poised for a big fight in tense meetings. Mo’s story may be complicated and layered, but boy, that woman was brave. I just wish I had just an inch of that strength.”

Deborah Castle, head of art and pictures

“I used to idolise the author Judith Krantz – she wrote lots of ‘sex and shopping’ novels of the 80s, my favs being Scruples and Princess Daisy. She had the confidence to write quite explicitly about sexuality, which I found very informative. All the heroines had a ridiculously glamorous backstory, but within the story arcs, Krantz included disability, racism, incest, rape and death. For a 14-year-old, this was eye-opening and, growing up, I always wanted to be a novelist like her.”

Gerry Anyanwu, partnerships director

“My fearless woman is my friend and mentor Sarah Cratchley. She has MS and, even with this debilitating disease, she still manages to mentor me and so many others; she is a great champion of teamwork and driving people to believe in themselves. She always makes time for people.”

Elle Turner, fashion and beauty assistant

“My sister, Issy, is fearless. She throws herself into everything she does, takes everything in her stride and gets shit done while still being thoroughly likeable. She's four years in to becoming a lawyer and will come back from a 1am stint in the office and still have time the next morning for a chat on the phone. She's my go-to for advice. I think she's fabulous.”

Rowan Ellis, social media manager

“Judith Heumann: one of the organisers of the 504 Sit-in in San Francisco, which was held to protest that a US federal civil-rights protection for people with disabilities hadn't been signed into action. It remains the longest non-violent occupation of a federal building, with more than 100 activists creating what has been described as a ‘mini Woodstock’. People at the time had the mistaken idea that those with disabilities were too pitiable or weak-willed to pull off that kind of protest, so the sit-in became not only a victory of law when the protections were signed, but also of minds, when people saw the incredibly capable and pioneering work of women like Heumann.”

Amy Jones, video producer

“Mindy Kaling. I love her ‘Why not me?’ attitude so much I got it engraved on to a necklace. I know it might not seem particularly fearless, but as someone who, during a job interview, once stated outright, "I hope you know that I'm not actually good enough to do this job," I find it incredibly inspiring and fearless.”

For more information about Triumph's #TogetherWeTriumph campaign, please visit findetheone.triumph.com/together-we-triumph

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Judith Heumann, Marian Keyes, Grace Jones, CupcakKe, Dr Pauli Murray
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