9 Sheroes We Wish Were Real

By Laura Braden, Jamie Romas and Rachel Smith

Growing up, did you dress like a Disney princess every Halloween? Marry off your Barbie and Ken on a daily basis? Dream of becoming a Senator’s wife?

Well, then read elsewhere because this post isn’t for you. This list of “sheroes” is for the career-driven-take-no-prisoner-loudmouth ladies who identify with strong female characters that are at times flawed and brash – but always honest and real. These are the fictional women that we wish were our daughters/moms/best friends because they make us feel empowered/appreciated/normal.

Arya Stark, Game of Thrones

All die-hard Game of Thrones fans have a favorite character, whether it’s the quick-witted Tyrion or the noble Jon Snow … but the real star of the show isn’t a man – it’s an 11-year old girl. Unlike her vain, boy-crazy sister Sansa, Arya Stark is a rough-and-tumble tomboy, rejecting needlepoint and other “ladylike” pursuits for swordfighting (which comes in handy when she has to defend herself on the mean streets of Kings Landing and Winterfell). Over the first three seasons of GOT, we have seen Arya lose her innocence as her loved ones are betrayed and killed before her eyes. But she never loses her rebellious nature or her will to survive – and avenge the wrongs visited upon her family. Not bad for an 11-year old.

Bridget Jones, Wanton Sex Goddess

A single, chain-smoking, alcoholic British woman with cellulite doesn’t usually fit the typical description of a heroine, but that’s precisely why Bridget Jones made our list. Despite what you might consider her extended list of downfalls, the reality is that she’s the most confident woman ever created. In a world of skinnier, more successful, married women, she stands out as the humorous ball-buster with hot men vying for her attention. Why? Because she doesn’t give a shit  about anything. I mean, the woman wears spanx the size of Mt. Rushmore and still has Colin Firth and High Grant trying to pull them off. She speaks her mind and goes for what she wants – and that’s attractive. Her story goes to show you that there are people who truly do like you “just the way you are” so there’s no need to pretend to be someone you’re not. Like Natasha. Most importantly, Bridget Jones has taught us that diets and sobriety get you nowhere, and that’s something we should all get behind.

Hannah Horvath, Girls

So, Hannah is not necessarily someone you would want to emulate per se, but you’d definitely be smart to have her as a Monday through Friday Happy Hour friend. This chick has no job, an a* hole boyfriend, and a really small chest. Not the greatest life ever. But what she lacks in pretty much everything, she makes up for in an A+ witty conversationalist with a lit degree who is sure to keep you entertained until last call. And hell, given her story you would think she’d be living on the side of a dumpster but no, she still manages to go out and party.  That is straight gangster.

Julia Sugarbaker, Designing Women

Every wondered what kind of a woman Skeeter from The Help would grow up to be? Well, look no further than Julia Sugarbaker (Designing Women) – the owner of an elite interior design firm in Atlanta, Georgia. Julia taught millions of southern girls that you can be the biggest belle of the ball – and still be a career-driven, progressive woman with a strong voice and heart. Julia’s rants against sexism, AIDS discrimination, bigotry and hypocrisy (watch this, this and this for the best examples) are legendary, and they proved that not all southerners are backwards hicks. One famous episode even inspired another favorite on our list: Liz Lemon. It’s also important to note that her character was pretty cutting-edge – don’t forget that the show ran 1986 through 1993.

Lady Sybil (Crawley) Branson, Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is part of PBS’ Masterpiece Classic series that follows the lives of a wealthy, aristocratic English family (and their servants) at the beginning of the 20th Century. The show’s ability to weave together historical events with totally engaging characters has created a cult following. Lady Sybil is the youngest of three daughters, and she’s expected to keep her mouth shut, engage in womanly pursuits and find a husband that matches/exceeds her socio-economic status….But instead, Sybil takes up nursing during WWI, attends political rallies (unchaperoned, gasp!), wears pants, asks the servants to teach her how to cook, and elopes with the family’s Irish-socialist chauffeur (who can blame her). She’s the most kind-hearted of the sisters, with the strongest will and biggest dreams – earning her a spot on this list.

Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation

In the first season of Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope – Deputy Director of the Parks Department in Pawnee, Indiana – isn’t the most likable character. She comes off as a nerdy bureaucrat that loves rules and big government. But as the series progresses, they reveal a totally lovable character that we can all relate to – like a much more efficient/effective version of Michael Scott. She’s giving, ambitious and not afraid to take on the “boys club” to ensure that little girls all over Pawnee have access to soccer fields and camping trips. From her love of waffles to her devotion to friends and staff, Leslie is someone you’d want in your corner – and in our nation’s capitol representing your community. But never forget – bitches be crazy.

Lisbeth Salander, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

In our opinion, Lizbeth  (a.k.a. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is one of the most interesting fictional characters – female or male – of our time. This anti-heroine has been betrayed, abused, and tortured in every way imaginable: physically, sexually, and emotionally. But “victim” is one of the last words I’d use to describe the antisocial, bisexual, tatted computer programmer. Rather than feel sorry for herself or use her past as a crutch, she focuses on exacting revenge from those who have wronged her. And like Arya Stark, she teaches us that strength can come out of suffering. (Oh, and she gets bonus points for banging Daniel Craig in the American version of the film.)

Liz Lemon, 30 Rock

Liz Lemon is the head writer for an SNL-esque show in Manhattan. She makes serious dough, is friends with celebrities…and still has serious issues that we can all relate to. From her way with men to making goals that she’ll never accomplish to her love of food and Oprah to her inability to get to the gym, Liz reminds us that we’re all “works in progress” and that it’s more than ok to be exactly who you are  – snarts and TMI’s included. Oh, and she gets to hang out with Jack Donaghy on a daily basis (AKA Laura’s dream guy). Check out her best clips here.

Samantha Jones, Sex and the City

Ahhhh, Samantha Jones. The high-powered publicist (who runs her own PR firm, no less) in Manhattan who’s living life on her own terms – and refuses to apologize for it. She’s gorgeous, blonde and leggy, but with the mouth of a sailor and the libido of Mick Jagger. She taught women across the nation that it’s ok to enjoy sex [insert gasp!]. Better yet, she taught us how to learn what we like in the bedroom – and then go out and demand it from our partners. While the other SATC gals are searching for Mr. Right, Samantha is searching for Mr. Right Now. She has no illusions on the fragile and fickle nature of men/love/relationships, but some of the most honest scenes are where she’s falling in love and getting her knows-too-much heart broken (don’t worry, she always gets the last word). And while she judges people for having babies and moving to Connecticut, she proves time and time again that’s she a loyal and loving confidante to her circle of friends. Best of clips here (disclaimer – clips/language are graphic…obvi.).

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