To Hollywood and beyond: five real-life female superheroes

Women’s History Month may be wrapping up, but there is always time to learn about the women who have changed the entertainment industry

Ella Fitzgerald, Photo Courtesy of

Glynnis Bastas, Arts & Culture Writer

Women have been dominating the entertainment industry for decades. They have been topping charts, selling record-breaking albums and crushing the competition in all sectors of entertainment. However, there are many women who do not get the recognition they deserve. Here are the top five real-life female superheroes of the entertainment industry.

Starting off at number five is Vinnette Carroll, the first black female to direct a Broadway musical production in 1972. Carroll began her theater career in London, and, according to, was “performing in London and Off-Broadway in Errol John’s ‘Moon on a Rainbow Shawl,’ for which she won an Obie award in 1962. At 33 years old, she made her Broadway debut in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire,’ and she continued on to act in three other Broadway productions: ‘Small War on Murray Hill,’Jolly’s Progress,’ and ‘The Octoroon.'” In 1967, Carroll founded the Urban Art Corps of New York City, which trained theater performers and produced African American melodists and writers’ works. Carroll was the first African American woman to direct a Broadway production, and she was awarded a Tony for her hard work.

Number four is a person who was very influential in my upbringing, world-famous artist Mary Cassatt. Cassatt studied art all over Europe and was even friends with French artist Edgar Degas. Once she returned to the United States, Cassatt’s father refused to support her dream of becoming an artist, and he wouldn’t supply her with any money to fuel her dream. She went to school at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and eventually went on to the National School of Fine Arts. Cassatt was well known for her paintings during the eras of French Impressionism, American Impressionism and Realism. Cassatt was very influential in changing the world’s perception of women’s roles in society. According to, While many of her fellow Impressionists were focused on landscapes and street scenes, Cassatt became famous for her portraits. She was especially drawn to women in everyday domestic settings, especially mothers with their children.” She was later inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame for her work. Cassatt shows that even though you may not be supported for your dream, you should always believe in yourself and work hard to achieve your goals.

Number three is Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova. She was educated in the Imperial School of Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia, and quickly rose to the tops of her classes. She was deeply influential for her changes and designs of the modern-day pointe shoes, and also for modernizing ballet and having it recognized as a respectable genre of art and dance. 

  Number two is one of my personal favorite actresses, Katherine Langford. You may know her from Netflix’s Original show “13 Reasons Why.” Her heart-shattering performance as high school student Hannah Baker was an incredible insight into the world of depression and bullying, and the effects of suicide on communities. I am not normally open to sharing this, because it is such a sensitive subject, but I have had similar experiences to Langford’s character, and I can speak for most people when I say that it isn’t easy dealing with mental health disorders. It puts a strain on everything, even simple things such as getting up in the morning, or being around people or even going to school. Langford’s portrayal of Hannah Baker has set a precedent for how schools and families can understand and see the symptoms of depression, suicidal behaviors and ideations and other diseases of the mind. I encourage anyone and everyone to speak up if they are in need of help. I know that the days can feel so long, and you can feel alone and that no one is in your corner, but I can assure you that no matter how many reasons there are to go, there are so many more reasons to stay. If you have felt like this and you need someone to talk to, please reach out to the American Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Langford’s portrayal is meaningful and touches on issues often not discussed in teenage media. 

Topping the chart is music sensation and Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald. She is one of the most famous female jazz singers, having received awards from President Ronald Reagan, the country of France, Yale University, Dartmouth University and countless other colleges. According to, her biggest influence on the world was, along with her music, “… a deep concern for child welfare. Though this aspect of her life was rarely publicized, she frequently made generous donations to organizations for disadvantaged youths, and the continuation of these contributions was part of the driving force that prevented her from slowing down.

All of these strong, beautiful women have impacted our lives and society as a whole, breaking past boundaries and risking everything to teach lessons about who women really are. We as women are incredible people, and we have to continue to uplift each other and make each other stronger.