10 Sharp Women Born in March
March marks the start of Spring, a season of rejuvenation and growth. Spring is a time to revel in the longer and brighter days (especially after March 12!), begin the projects of which you’ve been dreaming, and start anew. Likewise, these talented women have used their devotion and enthusiasm to work hard, never give up, and achieve their visions. They are ladies who are strong in the spotlight and significant in the world.
Rebel Wilson (born March 2, 1980)
This Australian comedian majored in both Theatre & Performance Studies and Law at the University of New South Wales, with her initial career choice being in the field of math. However, it is said that while living in South Africa for a year as a Rotary International Youth Ambassador, Wilson contacted malaria and her hallucinations of winning an Oscar made her pursue acting as a career. She subsequently studied at the Australian Theater for Young People, and her performing popularity began on Australian TV in the early 2000’s, playing comedic roles.
She subsequently won a scholarship and moved to New York City, and was introduced to U.S. audiences in the feature film Bridesmaids (where she played one-half of the unforgettable landlord duo to Kristen Wiig’s character), and then in the TV world via Rules of Engagement, Workaholics, and other roles.
Her breakthrough role, however, was in 2012’s Pitch Perfect, with a performance that both received critical acclaim and award nominations. She can currently be seen in the action comedy The Brothers Grimsby, written and produced by Sascha Baron Cohen, and later this year in the long-awaited Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
Words of Wisdom: “Work hard to achieve integrity in your work — and in your relationships with the people you work with.”
Carrie Underwood (born March 10, 1983)
As a child, Underwood was raised on her parents’ farm in a rural Oklahoma town where she sang in church and at local events. She then went on to study mass communication and journalism at Northeastern State University, when she decided to audition for the fourth season of American Idol. She subsequently won the competition in 2005 and has since become one of its most successful musical artists/alums.
After American Idol, Underwood’s first album won three Grammy Awards. She has released four more albums, all reaching number one or two on the Billboard 200 list. She is a leader in country music and an influence in popular culture via her endorsements for Almay skincare; as a self-avowed vegan; and as a big supporter of animal rights, arts education, and cancer research. She married hockey player Mike Fisher in 2010 and the couple welcomed their first child in February 2015.
Words of Wisdom: “Successful people have a social responsibility to make the world a better place.”
Eva Longoria (born March, 15, 1975)
Longoria was born to Mexican-American parents in Corpus Christi, Texas as the youngest of four girls. She worked at Wendy’s restaurant for three years during high school and attended Texas A&M University-Kingsville to study kinesiology.
She then became involved in beauty pageants and talent contests and won Miss Corpus Christi in 1998. Through one of those talent contests, she landed in Los Angeles, and shortly afterwards was signed by a theatrical agent. Her first notable role was on The Young and the Restless from 2001-3, but her breakthrough began as Gabrielle Solis on the successful ABC comedy-drama Desperate Housewives.
Throughout the years, Longoria has been a spokesperson for campaigns with L’Oreal, Hanes, and Heineken, to name a few. She is the star of the new sitcom Telenovela, and has a women’s apparel collection.
Words of Wisdom: “Beauty lies mainly, above all, in personality, not in the skin.”
Queen Latifah (born March 18, 1970)
Named Dana Elaine Owens and raised in New Jersey, this multi-hyphenate performer adopted her stage name “Latifah” at age eight after finding it in an Arabic book of names, where it was said to mean “delicate” and “very kind.” As a teenager, she began as a beat boxer for the hip-hop group, Ladies Fresh; a demo recording of her rapping was found by Dante Ross who signed her and released her first single in 1988. Next year, her first album was released, and she rose to popularity in the hip-hop world.
Queen Latifah began her acting career in the early 1990’s, starring in sitcoms and then appearing in films. She is the only woman, and one of only three hip-hop/R&B artists, to be nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category (the other two are Will Smith and Jamie Foxx).
She authored her 1999 autobiography Ladies First: Revelations of a Strong Woman, has hosted both her own talk show and the People’s Choice Awards many times, is a film producer, and a celebrity spokesperson with her own line of cosmetics under the CoverGirl label.
Words of Wisdom: “Dreams become reality when we put our minds to it.”
Gloria Steinem (born March 25, 1934)
Steinem is a journalist, activist, leader, and spokeswoman. Her childhood with a mentally unstable mother helped form her perspectives on social and political injustice in the world, leading her to become a freelance journalist and feminist. After graduating from Smith College, Steinem went undercover in the early years of her career as a Playboy Bunny to write an article exposing how women were treated and exploited at the New York Playboy Club. She also interviewed John Lennon in 1964 for Cosmopolitan magazine and was a political columnist for New York magazine.
In 1972, she co-founded Ms. Magazine, while also speaking as the first woman at the National Press Club that same year. She also helped co-found the Women’s Action Alliance, the National Women’s Political Caucus, and the Women’s Media Center, among many other organizations. She is the author of five best-sellers and the subject of three documentary films.
Words of Wisdom: “Power can be taken, but not given. The process of the taking is empowerment in itself.”
Sarah Jessica Parker (born March 25, 1965)
Originally born in Ohio, Parker attended the School for Performing Arts in Cincinnati, followed by The School of American Ballet in New York City after her family moved east. She had a theater career as a child – most famously starring in Annie — which led to her film debut in her teen years (with roles in Footloose and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun).
Her later claim to fame, however, came thru starring role of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City, from 1998-2004. She won two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe awards, and was also an executive producer for the hit HBO show.
Since the end of Sex and the City, Parker had lead roles in theater productions, began her own production company, Pretty Matches, and started the SJP Collection of footwear for Nordstrom in 2014. She has been married to actor Matthew Broderick since 1997; the couple resides in New York City with their son and twin daughters.
Words of Wisdom: “Follow your instincts, and do not let other people’s opinion of you become your opinion of yourself.”
Keira Knightley (born March 26, 1985)
This British actress was born to theater parents: her mother (an actress and playwright) and father (an actor) saw her one-track mind set for the stage, and encouraged her childhood acting. She had an agent by age six, who began scheduling her for commercials and television roles.
Her film debut was in the blockbuster Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999, but her mainstream success began after her role in Bend It Like Beckham, which led to her being cast in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. She has since been noted as a period drama actress for roles in such films as Pride & Prejudice and The Imitation Game; she received Oscar nominations for both.
In 2008, Forbes listed her as the second highest-paid actress in Hollywood; however, in 2014, she told Glamour magazine that she keeps herself on a middle-income allowance of $50,000 per year. She married musician James Righton in 2013, and gave birth to their first child in 2015.
Words of Wisdom: “Success in work — whatever work it is — will come and go.”
Reba McEntire (born March 28, 1955)
The lost dream of Reba McEntire’s mother – to be a country music singer — was revitalized when she taught her children how to sing. McEntire’s father was a World Champion Steer Roper, traveling to rodeos for competitions, and young Reba and her siblings wrote and sang as the “Singing McEntires” at the rodeos, as well as local radio stations.
Then, as a sophomore attending Southeastern Oklahoma State University, McEntire performed the national anthem at the National Rodeo; musician Red Steagall was impressed with her talent and brought her to Nashville to launch her country music career. She was signed by Mercury Records and released her debut single in 1976. However, it wasn’t until 1984 and a second record deal that she gained mainstream success: she now has 26 albums, 40 number one singles, and is one of the best-selling artists of all time.
She subsequently began an acting career in the 1990’s, leading to her Golden Globe-nominated show, Reba, which ran for six seasons. After twenty-six years of marriage to her second husband, Narvel Blackstock, the two finalized their divorce last year. They have one son together, Shelby Blackstock, a racecar driver for Andretti Autosport.
Words of Wisdom: “To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.”
Julia Stiles (born March 28, 1981)
Born and raised in New York City, Stiles began acting at age eleven and performed with the famed New York theater company, La Mama, and later majored in English literature at Columbia University. As a teenager she was cast in small film roles before her breakthrough performance in 10 Things I Hate About You and two years after that, starred in Save the Last Dance. She has since had roles in film, television, and theater.
She was a supporting actress in the Bourne film series, and will again be seen in the fifth installment of that series later this year. On the personal side, she has been a vegan, a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, and worked with Amnesty International.
Words of Wisdom: “Make yourself useful, not just on a day-to-day basis, but as a lifetime thing.”
Celine Dion (born March 30, 1968)
Dion was born the youngest of fourteen children to a poverty-stricken family in Quebec, Canada. As a child, her only dream was to become a singer. After collaborating with her family to write, compose, and record her first song, her brother sent the demo to music manager René Angelil (whom she ended up marrying in 1994).
Angelil was able to make Dion a star in Quebec, Europe, Asia, and Australia, but because she was a French singing artist, Dion’s foray into the U.S. Market was initially a flop. Nevertheless, inspired by Michael Jackson’s stardom, Dion underwent dental surgery and took English classes to find fame in America. And it definitely paid off: her duet with Peabo Bryson for the 1991 theme song to Beauty and the Beast won an Academy Award and Grammy, and since then, she has become one of the most successful artists in pop music and the best-selling Canadian artist in history.
Dion has an artist management company in Quebec, was the founder of the food chain Nickels Restaurant, and helped open the nightclub Pure inside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Despite all this professional success, however, her husband and manager, Angelil, died in January this year from cancer; she now resides in Nevada with her three children.
Words of Wisdom: “It’s the moment you think you can’t, that you realize you can.”
Feature image courtesy of the film I Don’t Know How She Does It6