What better occasion than Independence Day to salute some of the best & brightest self-propelled powerhouses America has to offer? In honor of the 4th, here's a roundup of four amazing ladies who are fireworks in their own right.
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Given the year she’s had thus far, you’ve got to hand it to Maria Shriver: the lady’s been the portrait of grace in the midst of a rather mortifying scandal. Even though the nation would entirely understand if she completely broke down on camera, she’s thus far chosen to keep her private life private. No exclusive paid interviews for this proud member of the Kennedy family... and we’re not surprised. Here’s betting that if she ever does open up about her side of the split, she’ll find a way to do it with dignity and aplomb. We could all learn a thing or two from this smart, inspiring pillar of strength.
Love her or hate her, GaGa’s a force to be reckoned with. When news broke of her split from boyfriend Luc Carl this spring, most of us thought, “She had a boyfriend?” That’s probably because this fiercely unique creature makes a point of defining herself on her own terms and doing things her way while her millions of fans lap up every last drop. Two years ago, no one had a clue who she was. Today, she’s ubiquitous. And although she reins over a pop world largely fueled by AutoTune, the chick has chops. Loud ones. And we applaud her for using them, as well as all her other talents, without apology.
Let’s just call a spade a spade: Sandra Bullock is a phoenix, risen from the ashes. During a rather rough time this past year, she managed to make major professional strides (oh, hello, Oscar), adopt a son, and still somehow find time to make a major impact on a devastated community close to her heart. In her first major television interview after her divorce from Jesse James, she didn’t breathe a word about him; she chose instead to spend her air time educating the public about a school she’d been building in New Orleans. That’s class.
This irrepressible force of nature walked away from a sure thing this year, leaving her show on a high note after shooting more than 4,500 episodes to embark on a new adventure: running her own television network. A survivor of abuse and an obliterator of cultural limitations, Oprah inspires others simply by being who she is. Hers is a career that broke boundaries from the start, and while she credits longtime love Stedman, best friend Gayle and others as being critically important to her success, she’s absolutely built her empire by marching to the beat of her very own drum. Maybe that’s why musical pals like Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin – not to mention all the rest of us – love and admire her so much.
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What independent ladies do YOU adore?