I'm not usually big on reality shows. Heck, I don't typically watch that much television. In the wake of shelter in place, however, the pull to consume what some might refer to as "trash TV" is strong. It's not just the overly dramatic, producer-influenced storylines; the people on these shows have become my friends.
That's right — in lieu of hanging out with real people I know and love, I spend my evenings (and some days) with the cast of Love Island, season 5. After spending so much time together (each season has 50 episodes), I really have started to feel like I know them. And while they are lovely people (and let's be honest, I won't quit them completely), I've decided it's time to start adding other "friends" into the mix.
Thus, the birth of this list of inspiring women (aka my dream BFFs). Not only are they incredible change-makers, inspirational speakers and rule breakers, they also produce content that is guaranteed to elevate your mood — and your brain – while you're stuck inside.
Think of it like mental veggies: these ladies will make you feel better after a binge, not worse. If you're ready to get inspired and dive deep, read on.
Brené is a professor and researcher who revolutionized the world’s understanding of courage and vulnerability when she gave her first viral TED Talk almost a decade ago. Since then, she’s become a tour de force on the lecture and book circuit, sharing valuable learnings about understanding ourselves and bringing out the best in those around us. Her tough love, astounding research-backed insights and radical vulnerability will teach you about yourself and fill you with motivation.
Ashley made her name as the first plus-size model to land the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2016. Since then, Ashley has become a fierce advocate of body love, challenging beauty standards on the world stage with warmth, grace and fiery passion. Not only is her positive spirit infectious, but her podcast and YouTube series, “Pretty Big Deal,” will make you feel seen and inspired.
Jada Pinkett Smith
You may know her for her major movie roles or her marriage to Will Smith, but Jada is more than a Hollywood heavyweight — she's also the brains behind the Facebook digital series Red Table Talk, which brings three generations (Jada plus her mother and daughter) around a table to discuss an array of topics that are just as juicy as they are important.
This former Disney star has matured into a thoughtful, positive young woman, and that sentiment is perfect encapsulated by her latest series, Bright Minded. The interview show, produced at home and distributed via Instagram live, features some of the biggest names in show biz at their most raw and honest. At a time when we're all feeling a bit isolated, Miley has found a way to make us feel connected and encouraged.
Glennon is an author and speaker whose work contains such an insane level of insight, every sentence feels like a breakthrough. Watch her interviews on YouTube, read one of her books, or simply check out her Instagram page (which is chock full of good content) for a new perspective and positive lease on life.
Cleo Wade is an American artist, poet, activist, and author. Her writing is accessible yet empowering, and her work speaks to a greater future for all women, people of color and the LGBTQ community. If you’re looking for some powerful words to touch your soul and guide you forward, give her work a try.