Being a woman is awesome! Everyday we kick ass and we try to look our best doing so. No matter what the world throws at us we face it head on, sometimes with a smile, other times with tears in our eyes, but we forge ahead. We climb through the smallest windows, break barriers and blow up those walls. We know that the steps we take today will someday be appreciated by our sisters & daughters tomorrow.

Growing up in Nigeria I witnessed first hand the challenges & sufferings of the African women who live in male dominated societies. I watched their struggle and how this led to creativity. This was my biggest inspiration. For all the women around the world who found a way to overcome their fears & break boundaries despite seemingly insurmountable odds we say “Go Girl, You are Awesome”!

I am grateful for the women who guide me, advise me and continue to nurture my ideas while helping me achieve my dreams. I always tell them “it’s not my dream, it’s our dream”.

To commemorate International Woman’s Day (it should be at least a month, just saying), here are a few (by no means exhaustive) of extraordinary women and their accomplishments in order to honor them and to remind us all of what can be achieved when we set your hearts to it.

Aung Sang Suu Kyi

To say that 1991 Nobel Prize winner is resilient is a gross understatement. In the late 80’s, she initiated a nonviolent movement against a brutal military dictatorship in her native Burma (now Myanmar), resulting in several long periods of house arrest over a 21-year span. Unwilling to give in despite offers of freedom in exchange for her departure, Suu Kyi continued her brave fight to achieve human rights for her countrymen. Victory was finally attained when she won a seat in parliament representing the National League for Democracy in 2012.

Coco Chanel

Even four decades after her death, the designer credited with the “little black dress” is still the last word in timeless style. An orphan taught to sew by nuns, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel lived life passionately and always on her own terms. Her fashion career began in 1910, when a young Chanel opened a Paris hat shop, but it was her own unconventional sense of style that won the attention of the Parisian elite. With a fierce determination to succeed, the company evolved to include perfume, clothing and accessories in the 1920’s -- only to lose everything during WWII. True to her nature, however, Chanel re-emerged in the 1950’s to become the iconic fashion legend she is to this day.

Sarah Shroud

Imagine going on a relaxing nature hike only to find yourself impronsoned for 14 months. This is the night mare that Shroud and her two companions endured in Iran. Taken into custody in 2009 and held in solitary confinement for months before being allowed limited contact with the others, the American social justice worker re-accounts their ordeal in a book released in 2014. Despite harsh conditions and depilating psycological effect of the confinement, Shroud emerged triumphant; She married fellow prisoner shane Bauer (who became her fiancee in prison) just eight months after his release in 2011.

Eartha Kitt

Vibrant and outspoken until her death in 2008, Eartha Kitt was an extraordinary force of nature; overcoming poverty, abandonment and racial discrimination to achieve an accomplished career spanning over five decades. Known primarily for her raspy rendition of “Santa Baby” in the 50’s and playing Catwoman in the 60’s campy Batman series, Kitt was also an accomplished dancer, cabaret singer and stage actress. Her multi-skilled talents and sultry personality (oh that voice!) resulted in a slew of prestigious nominations including a Grammy, an Oscar and a number of Tony awards culminating with two Daytime Emmys (for a children’s series vocals) in 2001 and 2007, respectively.

Kathryn Bigalow

An admirable success in an industry run primarily by men, Ms. Bigalow is the first woman in history to win an Academy Award for best director for The Hurt Locker in 2008 (I remember how her win filled me with joy). Despite a background in art, she shifted her focus to film in the 70’s in order to reach a wider audience. Apparently, she made the right decision; her filmography includes the critically-acclaimed The Loveless (staring Willem Defoe) as well as Point Break (with Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves and most recently Zero Dark Thirty (with Jessica Chastain) in 2012. Ironically, most of her film work also details male dominated scenarios. Go girl!

Every story is different, but I hope this inspires you to be the best you can be & never be afraid to go for what you want. TW x


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