The United States first recognized National Women’s Day in 1909. Then, in 1911, Denmark, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland established the first International Women’s Day; over a century later, it feels just as important — if not more so — to celebrate women and all that they’ve achieved. SpotlyteTM has interviewed many female leaders, particularly in the beauty, fashion, and wellness worlds. Each is unique, but they all share a dedication to bettering their respective industries — whether that’s Huda Kattan building a bonafide beauty empire, or Miranda Kerr turning her passion for organic ingredients into a skyrocketing skincare business. Below, read about 16 women who will leave you feeling empowered.
Miss America 2014, founder of Aavrani® skincare
Why she’s inspiring: Since becoming the first Miss America of South Asian descent, the 30-year-old has started her own skincare brand, Aavrani, created a social media campaign highlighting diversity awareness, and traveled the globe to promote women’s empowerment in the workplace.
In her words: “I wanted to be the first South Asian to win the [Miss America] title, because there was such a lack of diversity. It was really about reaching out to that young girl who I knew was watching Miss America the night I win, and for her to say, ‘This year, Miss America looks like me.’”
Read more about how Davuluri highlights elements of her South Asian heritage in her beauty regimen.
Founder and author of the F-Factor® Diet
Why she’s inspiring: Zuckerbrot’s much sought-after weight loss program is unique in that it flips the script on most diets, focusing on the foods you can have rather than the ones you can’t. Specifically, the dietician focuses on fiber — and lots of it.
In her words: “There is a lot of noise in the wellness and nutrition space today; it’s oversaturated by information, and unfortunately misinformation. My advice for anyone who wants to go into this field would be to educate yourself and practice what you preach so that you can educate your clients or followers in a truly authentic way. When you educate, you empower, and when you empower, you inspire.”
Read more about how Zuckerbrot gets her lit-from-within glow through her diet.
Founder of Lauren Napier® Beauty
Why she’s inspiring: For Lauren Napier, her passion began as a love for putting makeup on. However, it morphed into founding a beauty brand inspired by taking it all off. This inspired her eponymous brand, Lauren Napier Beauty, a line of skin-enhancing cleansing wipes.
In her words: “Black women are the fastest growing entrepreneurial demographic in the country. Brands that appeal to diverse consumers are growing, and the advertising and messaging are paying off. People of color want to see each other win and want to support brands that reflect their likeness.”
Read more about how Napier was inspired to create her unique beauty line.
Celebrity chef, restaurateur, and TV host
Why she’s inspiring: In addition to being a judge on ABC’s® cooking competition Family Food FightTM, Kora runs a handful of health-centric restaurants. She is also involved in philanthropies aimed at promoting healthy nutrition.
In her words: “I absolutely believe in beauty from the inside out — I practice that every day.”
Read more about Kora’s take on how health and beauty are intertwined.
Founder of Haute Hijab®
Why she’s inspiring: In the super-saturated beauty and fashion industries, it’s essential to have a niche. For Melanie Elturk, founder of Haute Hijab, her particular niche transcends fashion: it’s also about representation and culture. The brand creates stylish hijabs for Muslim women. Nearly 10 years into launching the brand — which she started with her husband as a side hustle while working as an attorney — Haute Hijab has amassed a following of over 295K fans on Instagram® alone.
In her words: “Despite the fact that hijabs are as basic as socks, it's historically been unreasonably difficult to purchase them. We had to travel overseas (yes, you're reading that right!) to get our hands on some hijabs, or suffer through the experience of wearing [regular] neck scarves on our heads. Our brand is at the center of not only uplifting and empowering Muslim women, but at the forefront of innovation and elevated design.”
Read more about Elturk’s brand and mission to empower Muslim women.
Makeup artist and founder of Westman® Atelier
Why she’s inspiring: The makeup artist was born in a California ashram and raised in Sweden. That’s where she was introduced to the magical world of high fashion and luxury beauty. Westman first studied makeup in Paris, then learned special effects makeup in LA. In 2018, she and her husband David Neville launched Westman Atelier, a makeup line with clean formulations, packaged so chicly and beautifully, you’ll want to show them off on your dresser or vanity.
In her words: “Circulation is so important, and I’m really into non-invasive ways to boost it. Take time to massage your own skin — whether it’s in the bath or when you have a break.”
Read more about Westman’s commitment to clean beauty and overall wellness.
Celebrity makeup artist and influencer
Why she’s inspiring: The beauty pro, who is of Indian and Iranian descent, can call many engaged and married ladies clients over her more than 15-year career. Her talent for creating airbrushed skin, mesmerizing eye makeup, and photogenic, bold lipstick looks has put her on speed dial for some of the most influential Indian brides.
In her words: “Personally, taking care of my skin is a huge priority for me . . . I exercise and eat well to feel good and look great! I’ve accepted that aging is inevitable, but I’m very happy knowing that the way I look and feel is the best I can be at .”
Read more about Chani’s philosophy on beauty — plus, her favorite 11 products.
Why she’s inspiring: Don’t call Capri a “celebrity stylist.” Rather, the non-pretentious pro prefers to be thought of as an artist who happens to have major movie stars and GRAMMY Award®-winning musicians as clients at her salon, Nine Zero One®. Her recipe for success is simple: work with your best friend, hire “good people,” and love what you do.
In her words: “We were able to collect a unique, amazing, and positive group of people at Nine Zero One. [Many of them] are roommates. They found friendship within their workspace, which is key. If people are friends with each other, everything else follows. You have each others’ backs.”
Read more about Capri’s take on working with celebrity clients and how female friendships can play a key role in success.
Why she’s inspiring: Vargas happened into skincare in a rather circuitous way. The Berkshires native headed to New York City with dreams of becoming a photographer, then eventually shifted to makeup. But her hands (and brain) found their calling when she realized how adept she was at solving skincare dilemmas. Now, she is one of the most highly acclaimed celebrity facialists, and is responsible for giving countless stars their red carpet glow.
In her words: “[When I started out], I think I had moments of being a leader and moments of insecurity like any kid. I started to think about my own salon because I was seeking a creative outlet I could not fulfill working for someone. I wanted to create treatments and products for my clients.”
Read more about Vargas’ rise to facialist fame — plus, her celebrity-favorite Triple Crown Facialsm.
TV personality and founder of Fountain of Truth®
Why she’s inspiring: Most of us became acquainted with the stunning Giuliana Rancic while watching her interview celebrities on the red carpet for E!®. But her expertise goes beyond reporter duties and reality TV show stints. She’s a designer, mom, and mega-entrepreneur — and now has one more title to add to that impressive list: beauty brand founder (of skincare line, Fountain of Truth).
In her words: “When I was 36, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I started changing a lot of things in my life — in terms of what I was eating, as well as what I was putting on my skin. I realized there were a lot of great clean products on the market, but they weren’t necessarily anti-aging products. And there were a lot of great anti-aging products on the market, but they weren’t clean. So, I thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a product that could do both?’ I partnered with Hain CelestialTM, pioneers in the natural/organic space: whether it’s the food space or skincare or beauty. Together, we developed Fountain of Truth, which is a clean, yet effective, skincare line.”
Read more about Rancic’s commitment to clean beauty — plus, the exact skincare routine she swears by.
Content creator and founder of Expired N FabulousTM
Why she’s inspiring: In creating her blog, Rammuny challenged deep-seated notions about her faith, culture, and upbring — particularly those about dating and singledom. In response, she received a barrage of backlash. Nevertheless, she persisted. Today, her platform has empowered thousands of like-minded women to speak up about controversial topics and feel seen — sometimes for the first time ever.
In her words: “The more you speak out, the more backlash you get. I’d have people tell me that I’m not a real Muslim or Arab, or that I’m not a good woman. A lot of people think that because I have an opinion, I’m trying to burn down the temple — on the contrary! I’m trying to make sure it survives. The faith is so beautiful that I want people to know the different sides of it, so people can continue to connect, as they do on my platform now.”
Read about Rammuny’s emotional journey, as well as her inspiring triumphs.
Supermodel and founder of KORA® Organics
Why she’s inspiring: This supermodel is more than just a stunning face; Kerr is also the founder of her own beauty brand, KORA Organics, which has garnered immense success in the ever-growing clean beauty space. In addition to her business endeavors, Kerr is also a mother to no fewer than three young children.
In her words: “It's exciting for me to be the leader in organic skincare. I haven't taken a cent out of [KORA], because I keep putting the money that I'm making back into the company. That shows how passionate I am about the products and getting them out there. My goal is that it will be a household name that people rely on and trust for healthy, incredible organic skincare.”
Read more about Kerr’s transition from model to entrepreneur — plus, the exact products she uses to maintain modelesque skin, despite her hectic lifestyle.
Celebrity lash artist
Why she’s inspiring: Palmer’s creativity and keen eye for beautifully-placed lashes may be an inherent talent, but her relentless work ethic is something we can all try to emulate.
In her words: “I never really followed the rules of how I was taught [to do lashes]; I just did whatever I thought would look right, and I’d let my creativity take over. Now, when I teach my own classes, I always tell [students] that if something feels right or if you want to try something new, don’t be afraid to do it.”
Read about Palmer’s unconventional methods for success, and how she became an A-lister go-to — plus, the invaluable piece of advice she wants all working moms to hear.
Makeup mogul, entrepreneur, and content creator
Why she’s inspiring: Kattan, a self-made multi-millionaire, has built a flourishing beauty brand and content empire — and she doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon (case in point: the 36-year-old recently launched her own skincare line). Despite her outrageous success, Kattan remains refreshingly relatable.
In her words: “I like to take moments to just let go. The other morning, I took five minutes to dance around my office and rap like a fool because it felt so good. It keeps the mood light and my creativity flowing, which is really important for me to do in order to decompress.”
Read more about Kattan’s massive success, her must-have beauty products, and what she wants to teach her daughter about business.
Why she’s inspiring: Thanks to her starring role on Grey’s Anatomy®, Pompeo is somewhat of a pop culture icon. The 50-year-old is also a wellness buff, skincare enthusiast, and one of the highest-paid women on TV.
In her words: “I’m very conscious of what I eat and what skincare products I use — and I’ll continue to be conscious of those things. I’ve always eaten organic food; I want to continue to stay informed on where my food and products come from.”
Read more about the TV doc’s approach to wellness and aging.
Model and advocate
Why she’s inspiring: The Sports Illustrated® bombshell — and, later, runway model — broke the mold by breastfeeding her baby on the catwalk. The act was a reflection of Martin’s belief that mothers should be able to feed their children whenever and wherever they please.
In her words: “I always say I’m ‘pro-mom,’ meaning whatever is best for you and works for you is what I support. As big of an advocate as I am for breastfeeding, I also support those who choose not to. Breastfeeding has truly been a magical experience for me, but might not be for others. And that’s OK! We are all in this crazy journey of motherhood together and should support each other’s decisions as parents.
Read more about how Martin advocates for moms and body positivity — plus, why she says being a mother is her “superpower.”