While writing about my select group of admired females, its difficult to pen down only a few, some of them are obvious choices while some took a bit longer to make this list, but a common thread amongst them is that they all achieved in life inspite of and not because of situations and circumstances
Hillary Clinton: many years back she was once asked after completing a shaky roller coaster ride how it felt; in her typical charm she replied it was nothing compared to living in White House! She gained fame as the forgiving wife of an erratic husband who in true female style defended him to the last hilt. America inspite of being a land of divorces and separations was awed by her devotion which later led to her making a dash for the top job herself; here too even though she lost to big O she did not hesitate for a moment to join his team later; paradoxically a woman who was once totally unaware of what her own husband was doing in her own house is now responsible to see what all other nations are doing round the world!
Protima Bedi: in today’s world of sex symbol clones she was the original trendsetter. I am not aware if any other celebrity has ran nude in Bombay since her or if someone has admitted to flings with such brazen candidness but Protima Bedi to this day remains the epitome of sexual liberty. I remember reading an extract from her book where she recounted being seduced by her classmate’s father in college, she liked it so much that from then on she herself took the lead in booking hotel rooms and calling him over. Friends’ fathers, filmstars, socialites, politicians…she tasted it all and even though her alliances didn’t work out, except to an extent with Kabir Bedi she lived life on her own terms. Towards her last days she made a foray into classical dancing before her tragic end in a landslide
Steffi Graf: she remains epitome of achievement and grace. Her contemporaries or even females since her have never been able to manage fame like her - Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati, Gabriela Sabatini, Maria Sharapova…list is endless of fallen stars who fell prey to the evil sides of fame. All through her playing days Steffi was conscious of her sex appeal but never let her concentration waver; after hanging her racquet her marriage to Andre Agassi remains one of the most admired alliances, their obvious mutual respect born out of both having gone through similar turbulences in same profession
Naina Lal Kidwai: when one talks of grace amongst Indian females I don’t know why but first image coming to mind is of this HSBC top shot. Coming from a high status family based in Shimla, she was the first Indian female to enter the hallowed Harvard Business School after which she charted her own progress path in the then male dominated corporate India. Always dressed in a light colored sari with an ever present modest smile, she is remarkably down to earth, infact she is connected on LinkedIn with some of my friends, the unmatchable poise and dignity with which she carries herself is truly remarkable
Sushmita Sen: I write about her last because she is someone I guess what every middle class Indian girl aspires to be. Having won the Universe, she never let fame go to her head; unlike her contemporaries who either got married into big filmy families after many failed relationships or always struggled in films, Sushmita has defined her own terms of success and actually showed that Indian females after all do not need a man to live a good life unapologetically.