In her debut novel Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard introduced young adult readers to Mare Barrow, a young heroine who discovers that she has far more power than she ever thought possible. But, as the saying goes, power and responsibility go hand in hand. The sequel, Glass Sword, hits shelves next Tuesday, and in it Mare must use every weapon in her arsenal to survive, fight, and spark a resistance against those in power. Mare herself is growing into a bold and daring heroine, and in honor of her, Aveyard shared a list of women in film and books who are equally inspiring.
Leia is forever my first choice, and probably the first heroine I ever saw on screen. I spent a lot of time in my basement playing with my Leia action figure and dreaming about being a senator/rebel fighter badass. Plus I have a soft spot in my heart for temperamental shorties like myself. And who can forget her killing Jabba the Hutt (who had just imprisoned both the guys, btw)? Rock on, Leia.
Another awesome lady hero from my childhood movie binges. Marion was also a strong female who could stand toe to toe with Harrison Ford, and outdrink Nepalese country folk, a skill which resulted in an amazing plant and payoff showdown later. I love a rough and tumble heroine who can throw a punch, but wear a silk dress, too. Marion does it all.
I, too, was a know-it-all kid with bad hair, so Hermione spoke to me on a very deep level. It was a pleasure growing up with her, and a bit of a comfort to see the smart girl never change her ways, to the benefit of the entire wizarding world. I am deeply indebted to J.K. Rowling for this character. I seriously cried myself to sleep once because Emma Watson got to be Hermione and I didn’t.
I remember being seven years old and having issues with a math problem on this horrible educational computer game my parents made me play. I felt stupid and hopeless and tired of trying. Later that day my parents took my brother and me to see Mulan, and I came out of the movie theater electrified. I handled that math problem like a champ after a lot of effort—just like Mulan climbed that pole, won the respect of the army, and saved all of China. I can’t say enough how important Disney’s Mulan was to me, and how vital it still is to young girls. Close Disney second: Pocahontas. I spent so much time running through the woods singing “Colors of the Wind.”
I prefer the more dynamic portrayal of Miranda featured in the film adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada, showing more than one side of the dragon lady. I definitely have a soft spot for women in charge, and she is the ultimate example of that. Not to mention the fact that she’s Meryl Streep. That’s all.
Is there anyone better at kicking butt and saving the citizens of New York City? Take a seat, Spider-Man. Detective Benson is here. I unabashedly love her, and it’s no wonder Law & Order: SVU continues to be a juggernaut. Benson is a true blue hero on par with the best of the best.
No one wears a headband and plots a social overthrow like Queen B. I miss Gossip Girl, but most of all I miss the gang having to call in Blair to save their butts and look great doing it. Her “me first” attitude is so refreshing and realistic, something I hoped to emulate a bit with Mare Barrow in Red Queen.
Victoria Aveyard was born and raised in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, a small town known only for the worst traffic rotary in the continental United States. She moved to Los Angeles to earn a BFA in screenwriting at the University of Southern California. She currently splits her time between the East and West coasts. As an author and screenwriter, she uses her career as an excuse to read too many books and watch too many movies. You can visit her online at www.victoriaaveyard.com.