Entertainment

Be Inspired By These 8 Kickass Female TV Role Models

8 Mar 2019 by Jasmine Ong

In recent years, television has given us some of the most memorable female characters who have reminded us what it is like to fight against the odds and stand up for what we want. Be it kicking butt in a physical fight or engaging in a war of wit and words, these powerful leading ladies prove that gender should not define a person’s capabilities. In celebration of International Women’s Day, here are eight strong female characters who will inspire you to empower your own life – one episode at a time.

Jessica Jones (Marvel’s Jessica Jones)

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If there’s anyone who doesn’t let her mental condition hold her back from living her best life, it’s Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter). Despite suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), she possesses a no-holds-barred attitude which allows her to be proudly unapologetic of her personality as she freely voices her unfiltered opinions on everything she disagrees with, especially misogynistic individuals. Though she may also be seen as somewhat flawed, her willingness to fight for others who are victimised like she was, is exactly what makes her a strong and defiant superhero of today.

Jessica Jones’s words of wisdom: “Feel how you feel. You have nothing to forgive yourself for.”

Kimmy Schmidt (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)

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After living most of her life in a bunker underground as part of an apocalyptic cult, integrating back into society would have been quite a challenge for Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) if not for her constant optimism. Even though her life has been an overwhelming mix of hilarity and absurdity, she still makes the most of it as a survivor. While she accepts that she had gone through situations that were beyond her control, she doesn’t let these hurdles discourage her from following her dreams. Her tenacity is a testament to the human spirit which we should all aim to replicate in our lives.

Kimmy Schmidt’s words of wisdom: “Life beats you up. You can either curl up in a ball and die, or you can stand up and say, ‘We’re different and you can’t break us!’”

Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)

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There’s always been a need for strong female representation in the media, but they don’t necessarily need to come in the form of a well-versed fighter-type that saves the day. Hailed as one of television’s best characters, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) goes down in history as one of the most memorable females who manages to overshadow her imperfections with bounding energy, an unrelenting attitude and a heart of gold. Employed in a government profession where it isn’t easy to cut through red tape, her relentless optimism and unwavering belief in herself teaches women to embrace their flaws as they harness positivity to push past resistance and cynics who say otherwise.

Leslie Knope’s words of wisdom: “Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do.”

Liz Lemon (30 Rock)

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As probably one of the first few inspirational feminists to appear on television, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) resonates with women who deal with everyday discrimination. As a woman in a male-dominated environment, it’s not easy for her to deal with her patriarchal boss and group of male subordinates especially when they often treat her with insensitive remarks that tend to question her abilities. Instead of letting the comments affect her, she takes it in her stride and claps back with a sarcastic rebuttal or a level-headed response; proving that a woman’s actions are not stereotypically controlled by their emotions. Apart from holding her own in the face of gender inequality, she still manages to change the perception of dating – that it’s okay to be single until the time is right, and nobody but you should have the authority to dictate your life.

Liz Lemon’s words of wisdom: “There ain’t no party like a Liz Lemon party ‘cause a Liz Lemon party is mandatory!”

Midge Maisel (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel)

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The 1950s was an exceptionally tough time for women especially with the glaringly apparent patriarchal system, where women were often overlooked for their capabilities because of their gender. Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) was one of those women who routinely observed her domestic duties until she decides to break free from the suffocating society she lives in as an unapologetic rebel. Instead of continually accepting whatever roles society has pre-determined for her, she finds courage and determination to work toward her dreams even when faced with humiliation and public scrutiny. The setbacks she faces also further motivates her to stay true to herself and her beliefs, as she uses her newfound stand-up comic skills to give women a voice by highlighting the double standards they face with unabashed confidence during her set.

Midge Maisel’s words of wisdom: “Why do women have to pretend to be something that they’re not?”

Olivia Pope (Scandal)

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Quite possibly the most intelligent female character to ever grace the small screen, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) is a fierce boss lady who fixes the problems of influential politicians in Washington D.C. Despite swimming with the sharks in murky political waters, she is never afraid of speaking her mind even if it threatens to hurt and impact those around her. From solving scandals to finding loopholes in sticky situations, Olivia uses her critical thinking skills to ensure that she delivers satisfactory results that conclude with justice getting served. Boldly confident and fearless, she is a force to be reckoned with who inspires us to know our worth, and be courageous even when the odds are stacked against us.

Olivia Pope’s words of wisdom: “I am many things. Stupid is not one of them.”

Peggy Carter (Marvel’s Agent Carter)

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Originating from the Marvel universe, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) is an inspirational non-superhero character who resonates with women of today. As a female living in the gender-oppressive 1950s, stubbornness and wit are her strengths – which often challenges her male peers to think before questioning her capabilities. As a progressive woman who takes charge of her own life, she is the early definition of a tough lady who rejects society’s mould of a woman. Despite being underestimated by her male colleagues, she never fails to teach them a lesson in respect by correcting their perception with her comparable capabilities, proving that domesticity is not all that defines the female gender.

Peggy Carter’s words of wisdom: “I know my value. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter.”

Veronica Mars (Veronica Mars)

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If it wasn’t for the list of unfortunate things that happened to her, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) might have just been like any ordinary, witty high-school outcast instead of a crime-solving teenager who had mastered the art of sleuthing, thanks to her side gig at her father’s private detective agency. She often seems like she is made with nerves of steel, but her close-calls in dangerous situations never fails to show off her vulnerable side; which reminds us that it’s okay to be emotional when we need to be. In addition to her ability to distinguish her emotions, she is also extremely determined and resilient which is evident in the way she stands up for what’s right. The experiences she went through not only helped to shape her but also aided her growth in becoming a better version of herself.

Veronica Mars’ words of wisdom: “This is where I belong, in the fight. It’s who I am.”

Be bold, strong and fearless – just like these fictional heroines. Happy International Women’s Day!

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With a moniker like Lovelyz, the eight-member K-pop girl group certainly lives up to their name – even when it comes to fights among the members (more on this later).

Known for their delicate tunes, girl-next-door vibes and bubbly personalities, the talented ladies of Lovelyz have been slowly but steadily building their dedicated fanbase of Lovelinus thanks to their endless charms. Shortly after wrapping up comeback promotions for their fifth EP Sanctuary, local fans will finally get the opportunity to meet the girls at their first concert in Singapore this March. Ahead of their show, we caught up with the members via an email interview where they reveal their ideal weddings, how they resolve arguments and hopes for the future.

Hi Lovelyz! As it’s the first time you’re coming to Singapore, is there anything you’re looking forward to here?

Baby Soul: Singapore is famous for its city night view so I’m looking forward to that. (Sujeong: I want to take pictures of all the pretty buildings!)

Jin: Of course, it’s our Lovelinus in Singapore! Isn’t it a must? I miss you all so much.

In your latest album Sanctuary, all the members are dressed in beautiful wedding gowns for the concept photos. Describe what your ideal wedding would be like!

Jisoo: Instead of an ideal wedding, I think it will be fun if the groom wears a wedding gown while the bride wears a suit. It would be nice if both of us wear suits together, or even hanboks (Korean traditional costume).

Baby Soul: Like Lee Hyori sunbaenim, I would make the wedding ceremony simple and only invite a couple of close friends. And also take plenty of pictures!

Kei: I want my married life to be living in a house with a small garden and a big puppy playing outside, while my husband and I prepare food together in the house.

Mijoo is currently starring on the virtual marriage show In-Laws in Practice. If you were to swap genders and choose a fellow member to be your virtual marriage partner, who would you pick and why?

Mijoo: ……….. pass! (Laughs awkwardly)

Four members have appeared on The King of Masked Singer and all of you left quite an impression. How was the experience like?

Baby Soul: It was amazing. I performed with my face covered in front of the audience and nobody knew it was me. I did enjoy singing in this way and I think that was also the reason I could do even much better to show my talent.

Sujeong: I was so used to performing on stage with my members, so I was worried about completing the whole performance alone. But it was indeed a memorable and satisfactory experience for me.

Having eight girls in a group is no small number. How do you cope with conflict between the members?

Jin: We usually resolve it by talking it out, or simply letting it pass!

What was the silliest thing you guys have ever fought about?

Yein: Jiae is my roommate so we promised to wake each other up every morning. But when one of us fail to do that, we would end up quarrelling with one another (laughs).

Sujeong: Once, I was angry because the other members were eating delicious food and didn’t share it with me.

Kei: We got jealous because we wanted to become each other’s favourite member!

You are known for your innocent girl-next-door image, but is there any concept that you would like to try in the future?

Baby Soul, Jisoo, Mijoo, Kei, Yein: We want to try out a girl crush concept which is the complete opposite of what we do. Something powerful, chic and dreamlike?

Jiae: Instead of such a strong image, I prefer something like a uniform concept!

Jin: We still have many concepts that we have yet to try, so I hope that our members can also take part in the styling in the future.

2019 is going to be Lovelyz’s 5th anniversary! What are your plans and hopes for the year ahead?

Jisoo: I hope that we will be able to achieve good results on music charts so the public know how to sing our songs one day. We will work hard until Lovelyz is widely known and loved by many others!

 
 
 
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Lastly, any words for Singapore Lovelinus who are anticipating your upcoming show?

Mijoo: This is our first time coming to Singapore, so please look forward to it!

Kei: We will present an interesting and touching concert for you all. I want to create a memorable experience that our Singapore Lovelinus will never forget.

Yein: Singapore Lovelinus, please wait for us!

Thanks to IME Singapore for the interview opportunity!

Catch Lovelyz at their Lovelyz 3 of Winter World concert in Singapore on 17 March at [email protected] Box! Tickets are still available, so head over here to purchase and show the girls lots of love.

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A match made in marketing heaven, pop songstress Ariana Grande has teamed up with Starbucks to introduce her very own drink named the Cloud Macchiato.

For the longtime Arianators, you’d probably be familiar with Ari’s obsession with all things white and fluffy. Besides her not-so-subtle penchant for cloud emojis, the ‘Sweetener’ singer even released her latest perfume recently called Clouds. If that’s not enough to convince you that this collaboration was meant to be, here’s a gentle reminder that Ariana’s last name also happens to be one of Starbucks’ beverage sizes. Coincidence? We think not.


Launched in honour of International Women’s Day, the new Ariana Grande concoction is basically caramel macchiato topped with whipped cold foam – it’s like having a cloud in a cup. It comes in two flavours, Caramel and Cinnamon, and can be ordered either hot or cold. Unlike other special items that are usually available for a limited period of time before retiring to the ‘Bux graveyard, fans of Ariana will be thrilled to know that this will be a permanent addition to the menu. The bad news? You can only get it in the US and Canada for now.

Break up with your local Starbucks, we’re hopping on the earliest flight to the states (no one asked, but we’re obviously getting a Grande.)

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As the world continuously gets introduced to new batches of K-pop groups, it’s easy to forget the pioneer generation of talents that first drew global attention a decade ago. From their unique concepts to their synchronised dance steps, these second-gen favourites never fail to remind us of how they helped to shape the K-pop genre to what it is today. Though some of them have since parted ways as a group, here are some iconic bands to remember that have made their memorable debuts back in 2009.

2NE1

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Before we had BLACKPINK, we had the fantastic four known as 2NE1. Characterised by their bold, bright outfits, the quirky foursome were recognised for their unique style which helped set them apart from their female counterparts during their reign. In the same year of their debut, the girls even clinched a Song of the Year win at the 2009 Mnet Asian Music Awards for their first number one single with ‘I Don’t Care’. Not bad for a then-rookie group, right?

Despite riding a high since their formation with a string of chart-topping hits and shiny awards, the quartet sadly called it quits in 2016 shortly after Minzy’s exit. Though all four members have been working hard on their solo careers since their split, it seems that now is finally the time for the least active member, Park Bom, to shine as she makes her long-awaited comeback this year. Blackjacks, where y’all at?

Hit rewind on 2NE1’s debut single, ‘Fire’:

4Minute

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As one of the first two groups to debut under CUBE Entertainment, 4Minute was responsible for turning their debut single ‘Hot Issue’ into an inescapable earworm that you just couldn’t get out of your head. Dubbed by their largely female fanbase as having a ‘girl crush’ image, the five-piece had an edgy dance-pop style which was evident in the choreography of their consecutive tracks following their first single. Though the quintet’s discography were filled with hits and misses, they were still able to bag several major accolades including a Rookie Award at the prestigious Golden Disc Awards in 2009.

Feeling the pressure from the competition of the cutthroat idol industry, the group unfortunately disbanded and left CUBE Entertainment, with the exception of HyunA who signed on as a solo artiste until her dating controversy which led to her parting ways with the agency and signing on with P-Nation, a new entertainment company founded by PSY.

Hit rewind on 4Minute’s debut single, ‘Hot Issue’:

After School

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If you’re the kind of fan who appreciated the underdogs of K-pop, then you might remember After School. Greatly influenced by the stylings of the Pussycat Dolls and spawned addictive hits such as ‘Diva’, ‘Because of You’ and ‘Bang!’, After School is a contemporary performance-based girl group that was initially formed with just five members. Unlike other girl groups of 2009, the band had an undetermined number of members due to their admission and graduation concept where members could get added or withdrawn. As such, the group often saw changes to their overall number of members, especially in the same year of their official debut where they lost one member and added three new ones.

But even with their inventive approach, it was difficult to maintain the group’s popularity as a whole. It’s probably part of the reason why After School has halted group promotions since 2015, in order to give the members an opportunity to explore their solo music, acting and modelling careers. They’ve also seemingly paused their admission exercise of members in late 2018, following the recent graduation of notable members Uee, Jungah and Lizzy.

Hit rewind on After School’s debut single, ‘Diva’:

BEAST

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In addition to the hot boy groups of the second generation like 2PM and Super Junior, we were also gifted the shockingly talented boys of BEAST. Known as the other pioneering group of CUBE Entertainment, the members were considered unique as they originally trained in different agencies. Their rise to the top didn’t take long when they got recognised for their musical versatility and dynamic choreography. These qualities were probably what contributed to the group’s success thus far, where they have collectively achieved significant recognition which identifies them as one of the most awarded groups of all time at the all-important Korean music industry award ceremonies.

While there was promise of a brighter future ahead for the sextet, fans were met with a surprise announcement when vocalist Hyunseung left in pursuit of a solo career in 2016. His sudden departure left the boys to make their comeback as a quintet, but it seemed more changes were already written in the books. In the same year, the other members officially launched their new label Around Us Entertainment, which saw them parting ways with CUBE and leaving their trademark BEAST moniker behind to rebrand as a new group named Highlight. Though they had planned to promote more as part of Highlight, the group has temporarily halted all promotions for the members to serve their mandatory military service before hopefully returning to the stage as a complete five.

Hit rewind on BEAST’s debut single, ‘Bad Girl’:

CNBLUE

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Did you know that CNBLUE started out in Japan before their transition into the K-pop world? The quartet was initially formed in 2009, where they held their very first live performance at the entrance of Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, Japan with just their instruments and pure, unadulterated vocals. Their ability to flawlessly synthesise genres together with their unique band concept, was what set them apart and granted them a coveted spot in the Korean music scene. When they made their formal Korean debut in 2010 as FTISLAND’s junior group, their insanely catchy ‘I’m a Loner’ became an instant chart-topper which gave them their first music show win barely two weeks after their debut televised performance.

Despite their continuous success, the band has gone on a hiatus to accommodate the military enlistment of each member after their 8th anniversary fan meeting early last year. Although it may seem like a long time before the band gets back together, the closeness of the members’ date of entry has led fans to believe that there’s a high possibility of CNBLUE making a comeback in 2020. So if you’re new to the band, it isn’t too late to catch up before they make their return to the stage!

Hit rewind on CNBLUE’s debut single, ‘I’m a Loner’:

f(x)

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Aside from being one of the earlier girl groups to have an international member and an androgynous member, as well as the younger sister of former Girls’ Generation member Jessica, f(x) was also one of the first K-pop groups to get recognised internationally following their stint at the illustrious SXSW. Known for their experimental style and electropop-based sound, the girls made their official debut in late 2009 with their first digital single ‘La Cha Ta’, before gaining a larger fanbase through their own reality programmes and collaborative works with labelmates Girls’ Generation.

In 2015, f(x) became a four-member group when member Sulli announced her official departure to focus on acting. Despite the loss, the rest continued with the release of their fourth studio album, which they actively promoted until late 2016. Since then, they haven’t been active as a whole which leaves the current status of the group undetermined as the members are off pursuing their individual careers. It’s time to give f(x) a comeback, SM!

Hit rewind on f(x)’s debut single, ‘LA chA TA’:

MBLAQ

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Dubbed unofficially as Rain’s protégés, the suave boy band was put together by the legendary performer himself as the first artistes under the now-defunct J.Tune Camp. Having trained for two years, MBLAQ’s discography has seen them experimenting with different genres while maintaining familiar Rain stylistics within their strong choreography. The group made their major debut at Rain’s Legend of Rainism concert in 2009, which helped them to garner their first legion of domestic fans. But despite being destined for greatness, they never had a number one single on the Korean charts.

Perhaps that was what led to the eventual big setback for the group after two of its members, Lee Joon and Thunder, departed from MBLAQ six years after their debut. Although there has been no official word on the current status of MBLAQ, the remaining members have been left with no proper management to oversee their activities which is probably evident enough that this once promising group will probably not be making a comeback anytime soon.

Hit rewind on MBLAQ’s debut single, ‘Oh Yeah’:

Secret

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When you hear the name Secret, you might just remember their girl-next-door hit ‘Shy Boy’ which came out in 2011. Formed in 2009, the girls were originally set to be an R&B and hip-hop centric group, only to be swayed towards the retro sounds reminiscent of OG K-pop queens Wonder Girls during their debut. By picking a niche sound that was refreshing in its own way, Secret was able to quickly grow their fanbase while maintaining their unique brand within the industry.

Despite the widespread popularity they’ve gained, the momentum for Secret started to slow down when Sunhwa left the group in 2016. Although the rest of them continued as a trio, the band was officially dissolved early in 2018 after it was revealed that the remaining members were locked in a legal dispute with their management company. Even with this harrowing experience, the girls seem unlikely to let that get them down as each of them are currently working hard on establishing their solo careers in music and acting.

Hit rewind on Secret’s debut single, ‘I Want You Back’:

T-ara

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If you’ve dabbled in the world of K-pop in 2009, you might be well-accustomed with the all-female group that created the oh-so catchy viral banger ‘Bo Peep Bo Peep’. For the unfamiliar, T-ara was originally a six-member girl group widely known for their hook-heavy dance pop tracks, paired with unbelievably cute concepts that often change up with the tracks they were promoting.

However, T-ara’s road to fame was not without its difficulties. In 2012, the group found themselves in the centre of a bullying controversy after member Hwayoung accused the others of mistreating her. The temporary suspension of the group’s activities during this period resulted in a heavy blow for T-ara’s gained popularity thus far. Besides their 2013 comeback, the girls had spent the better part of their time actively touring and promoting before returning to Korea in 2017 to produce their final album after a conclusion to the scandal. As of 2018, the remaining members have already left the company in pursuit of better and more promising opportunities.

Hit rewind on T-ara’s debut single, ‘Lie’:

Which second-gen K-pop group do you miss the most? Let us know in the comments below!

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There was nothing fancy at Kodaline’s second Singapore concert, held at [email protected] last night four years after their last gig here. There was no flashy costume changes, complicated dance choreographies, or elaborate stage theatrics.

What they had was their voices: gusty, soothing, beguiling – which made their slightly over 90 minutes set flew by in an instant. Throughout the night, we were treated to hits from their latest album Politics of Living, with crowd-favourites from their earlier records Coming Up for Air and In a Perfect World thrown into the mix. The quartet started things off with the catchy opener ‘Follow Your Fire’, before going on to deliver their equally infectious bangers such as ‘Brand New Day’, ‘Ready’ and ‘Honest’.

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Quite literally, the highlight of the night was undoubtedly their performance of ‘The One’. The heartfelt, stripped-back rendition aside, the crowd was also encouraged to whip out their phone lights to create a scene as beautiful as the song itself.

But perhaps the greatest evidence of the band’s buttery vocals was in ‘I Wouldn’t Be’. It had no backing tracks or instruments – just four pure, unadulterated voices that melded together with ease. Towards the end, the four-piece had every single one in the audience singing along to tracks like ‘Love Like This’, ‘One Day’, and ‘Love Will Set You Free’.

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In saving the best for last, Kodaline returned onstage during an encore to deliver ‘All I Want’ and “High Hopes’. Before bidding goodbye, lead singer Steve Garrigan hoped that the band wouldn’t have to wait another four years before coming to Singapore again. “Maybe next year,” he mused.

We’re definitely going to look forward to that.

Photo credits: LAMC Productions

More related stories: Interview: Catching Up With Kodaline On The Politics Of Growing UpFor Cult K-Indie Band HYUKOH, Their Music Speaks For Itself

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