Wonder women

(left to right) Beyonce, Helen Mirren and Ellen DeGeneres.

Following International Women's Day, which took place on Saturday, we celebrate women all over the world - those who have portrayed strength, those who have fought for equal rights in today's society and those who have inspired, achieved or made an impact in their own unique ways.

This year, Google's video doodle highlighted a wide spectrum of women across the globe. They ranged from Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai to cartoon character Dora the Explorer, who all say "Happy International Women's Day" in their native languages in the video.

Later in the year, women will be honoured slightly differently in FHM's annual 100 Sexiest Women list - a voting-based list of models, personalities, actresses and singers thought of as "sexy" based on personal preferences and multiple criteria which, needless to say, include physical appearance and assets.

But strength, power and drive are "sexy" traits, too, and not in the traditional way that one would think.

Which is why we have come up with our very own list that traverses the two. Here are six beautiful and inspirational women who have impacted us in one way or another.

BEYONCE, 32

From her days as one-third of singing trio Destiny's Child to her current stint as a solo singing sensation, Queen Bey has proven that she has lasting and tremendous star power.

The US hitmaker, wife to rap mogul Jay Z and mother to two-year-old Blue Ivy, remains relevant in the music industry, shifting at least three million copies of her first three albums worldwide.

To date, she has released five studio albums - Dangerously in Love (2003), B'Day (2006), I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008), 4 (2011) and Beyonce (2013).

Her latest offering Beyonce was a monumental achievement, with its surprise release in December last year.

It was a project kept under wraps and news of its iTunes-exclusive release generated astounding hype, selling a million copies in six days.

The album, which was later made available in physical CD versions, generated more than 1.2 million tweets in 12 hours, became the fastest-selling album in iTunes history and debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart.

With barely a whimper on her part, her fifth album rocketed to massive success and till today, we are still not sure how it all happened. It is a feat only Beyonce has been able to achieve.

For her unparalleled power, she earns an uncontestable spot on this list.

JENNIFER LAWRENCE, 23

Can we really find just 10, 20, or even 50 reasons why we are in love with this award-winning US actress? Trust us, it is a never-ending list.

Lawrence, most widely known for her role as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, made falling - twice - at an event as glitzy as the Oscars adorable.

She is the queen of wacky faces and a master at photobombing, with Sarah Jessica Parker and Taylor Swift on her list of past victims.

She is not rake-thin, and most importantly, not sorry for failing to comply with Hollywood standards of "perfection".

Best of all, Lawrence, who brought home Best Supporting Actress awards at this year's Golden Globes and Bafta Awards for her role in American Hustle, is a great actress who is unafraid to speak her mind or crack us up with her quote-worthy spewings.

While most stars are all about decorum, Lawrence makes being real fun - and we could not agree more.

ELLEN DEGENERES, 56

It is nearly impossible to hate on this well-loved US comedienne.

Her comedy makes her a big hit with the young and old, she has a heart of gold and she is proud of who she is.

The talk show host and Mark Twain Prize for American Humor recipient is famous for her hilarious antics, which include getting both US President Barack Obama and his wife to dance on her show. Another favourite is her comical reading of erotic romance novel Fifty Shades Of Grey.

The best part about DeGeneres' humour is that everyone laughs along and no one is offended, not even the butt of her jokes, like fickle dater Taylor Swift.

And who could forget that epic Oscar selfie with the likes of Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and more?

The post set a new high for most re-tweeted photo with more than three million re-tweets and nearly two million favourites. It is something only DeGeneres could do.

On top of making people laugh and feel good about themselves, she does good work by generously giving to those in need and actively promoting a vegan lifestyle while raising awareness about abused animals.

MICHELLE OBAMA, 50

Is there a First Lady as cool as US President Barack Obama's lovely wife?

She is not the slightest bit repulsed by the idea of getting down and dirty, having "shimmied, skipped, hopscotched, hula-hooped, jumping-jacked, and potato-sack-raced her way through her tenure as First Lady, using not just her position but her body to push for more exercise and better nutrition for children", as quoted in a New York Times article.

To promote good health and end childhood obesity among children, the mother of two launched a campaign called Let's Move! in 2010. Yes, she has even done the Dougie - and she did it very well - to promote the programme.

She is also unashamed of donning outfits from "regular" brands like Gap and Target - yes, just like the rest of us!

On top of that, she is a wonderful mother who teaches her daughters the virtues of strength and individuality, a great wife who lends support to her husband and an overall inspiring woman that we all can look up to.

HELEN MIRREN, 68

With a nearly five-decade career in acting and her many awards, this stellar actress has served as an inspiration to everyone in the acting industry.

At her age, she is still smoking hot. But Mirren deserves special mention for a host of other things.

Last year, she played the part of a Queen and had tea with cancer-stricken Oliver Burton, 10.

Oliver, who has Down syndrome, has been battling cancer for the most part of his life.

His dying wish was to visit Buckingham Palace and have afternoon tea with the real Queen Elizabeth II, but the Queen's schedule did not allow her to grant the request.

Mirren arranged for Oliver and his family to see her play the Queen in the stage production The Audience, then invited him backstage for tea and cakes and "knighted" him.

Other admirable deeds include twerking during the presentation of her Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Award at Harvard in January. How can anyone not love her?

ANGELINA JOLIE, 38

This US star wears many hats and juggles roles as an actress-director, mother of six, a fiancee to actor-film producer Brad Pitt and a dedicated humanitarian with a role as The UN Refugee Agency's Special Envoy of UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.

We know her for her roles in films such as Girl, Interrupted (1999), Mr & Mrs Smith (2005) and the new Disney fantasy film Maleficent, as well as for going behind the camera for films In The Land of Blood And Honey (2011) and upcoming biography Unbroken.

But Jolie is also celebrated for her active humanitarian work, which has taken her to Congo to raise awareness about the use of rape as a weapon in conflicts, as well as to places like Syria, Iraq and Jordan to focus on refugees and people displaced due to conflict.

She has also set up many foundations and donated, together with Pitt, towards multiple causes. For her work, she was given the prestigious Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award last year.

She had a double mastectomy last year as a preventive measure after she found that she faced a risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The move gained her widespread support. Jolie is endlessly inspiring and exemplary of the superwoman we all hope to be.


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