14 powerful women on TV who will teach you to be a badass
The small screen is harbouring some big achievers
Quinn King, Unreal
As the alpha female producer of a high-octane dating reality show, Quinn King isn’t for the faint-hearted. She cusses like a sailor, has the morals of a pirate and enjoys making grown men quake in their boots. The journey to the top is a long one, and Quinn chose not to get there by being a people-pleaser.
Learn to: Have an insult generator created in memory of your cussing prowess like Quinn.
Cookie Lyon, Empire
Don't talk to us about true love and bring up frog-smooching princesses and Cinderella's poor footwear choices. True love is going to prison for a decade to protect your family, then returning to find said family has pretty much forgotten you, but still fighting to keep them safe and happy. This Lyon is the original Mama Bear.
Learn to: Mix animal prints like Cookie
Eleven, Stranger Things
Puberty is hard enough. Dealing with those hormonal changes while trying to control your superpowers and not annihilating everyone who's annoying you? Well, Eleven, you're already a better person than we are.
Learn to: Be a team player like Eleven
Mindy Lahiri, The Mindy Project
Mindy Lahiri is every woman on a Monday morning: facing multiple crises but still mustering up the courage and enthusiasm to forge ahead, blowdry (mostly) intact. Win or lose, Lahiri's unique sense of humour is the source of her inexhaustible energy.
Learn to: let an insult only strengthen your resolve like Mindy.
Alex Parrish, Quantico
The gun-toting Alex Parrish is a far cry from the delicate damsel that Priyanka Chopra has routinely portrayed in Bollywood, and we couldn’t be happier. This FBI super-agent hasn’t had the best of luck with men in her life, but it’s just as well that she has a licensed gun and badge to do something about it.
Learn to: Organise surprise (and unwilling) reunions with your batchmates when you have a target on your back and a country’s worth of people on the hunt like Alex.
Donna Paulsen, Suits
She does not have the same Ivy League credentials as the rest of the purebred Pearson Specter Litt population (or even a fake degree hanging on her wall like a certain Mr. Mike Ross). Her bragging rights instead include her street smarts, omnipresence, pluck and being the only one who can make the incorrigible Harvey Specter toe the line.
Learn to: Play therapist in the office washroom like Donna.
Annalise Keating, How To Get Away With Murder
A law professor and a top-notch criminal lawyer, Annalise has death threats for breakfast and spits out sleazeball clients by lunch. She has thus far survived a murder attempt, an abusive ex and the general ineptitude of her students. However, it is the poignant scene where, after having her heart broken by her husband, she removes her armour (wig and make-up) that is counted among the most memorable performances in television history.
Learn to: Talk your way out of any situation like Annalise
For every simpering damsel in regressive sitcoms who's made your eyes roll, there's a powerful female character unabashedly being her badass self, no matter what the world thinks of her. Take copious notes from these women who want you to sit up, speak out and make your opinions - and presence - felt.
Claire Underwood, House of Cards
She may play First Lady to Frank Underwood’s devious President, but Claire’s daily itinerary involves a lot more than sitting by the window and waiting for her husband to return. Her special talents include - but are not restricted to - making world leaders go weak in the knees, matching her husband’s machinations for power every step of the way and neatly tapping cigarette ash out of the living room window.
Learn to: Master the icy death stare from Claire
Queen Elizabeth, The Crown
Seeing the vulnerability and struggle behind Queen Elizabeth’s, well, queen-like public demeanor is one of the best things about the Netflix drama that nobody can stop talking about. That the costumes are a visual treat is a bonus.
Learn to: Stand up against sexism in your workplace like Elizabeth.
Emily Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
We might have gone back to the Gilmore Girls revival to see if Rory was #TeamLogan or #TeamJess (we’re not proud, you guys), but the best part about the 4 episode special was Emily’s personal growth and her struggle to cope with single life after Richard’s death. And seeing her settled into her life in Nantucket, not to mention her part time job to scare little kids visiting the local whaling museums with gory tales of whale hunting, we’d say she did that beautifully.
Learn to: Enjoy your own company like Emily.
Poussey Washington, Orange is the New Black
WARNING: Season 4 spoilers ahead. Amongst the slew of characters at Litchfield’s correctional facility, Poussey stood out for not accepting the racial stereotypes thrust upon her by being black and in prison. Her heartwarming relationship with Soso was only one of the reasons her death broke our hearts.
Learn to: Be gentle and badass at the same time.
Jessica Jones, Jessica Jones
If you thought female superheroes were all about skin-fitting costumes and ridiculous vital stats, Jessica Jones will clear you of that notion and return to her whisky bottle faster than you can say ‘spandex’. With her scruffy leather jacket and superhuman strength, Marvel’s Jessica Jones gave us a female superhero we can get behind and a whole new world of insults to add to our arsenal.
Learn to: Never let society’s conventions (or a mind-controlling man in a purple suit) define what you can or cannot do.
Michonne, The Walking Dead
We don’t know about you, but you’re a certified power-player if you're a sword-wielding zombie killer who takes no prisoners.
Learn to: Fight and survive on your own. Zombie apocalypses usually come with no warning.