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Malala, my mum and Marilyn Monroe: Girls discuss the women who inspire them the most

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On International Day of the Girl, stylist.co.uk relocated to Blenheim High School. A team of brilliant and opinionated girls aged 11 to 16 took over the website to have their say on the issues that matters most to them.

In honour of the UN’s International Day of the Girl 2018, Stylist is running a Made By Girls takeover, with all of our content online and in a special print issue created by girls aged five to 17.

On 11 October, we went into Blenheim High School in Surrey and handed over control of stylist.co.uk to a team of girls aged 11 to 16. The girls ran our morning news meeting, pitched and wrote articles, and learned about the roles of Stylist team members including website developers and picture editors. They even created their own mini-websites, highlighting the women they most admire.

We asked the girls to tell us more about the women they look up to. Their answers were illuminating, moving and funny – and we think they tell us a lot about the values, ideals and aspirations of girls in 2018.

   My biggest inspiration is…

“My mum, because she’s a single parent and she’s bringing up me and my sister on her own. Me and my sister always fight because we’re so close in age – she’s 13 in December and I’m 11. But it makes me feel proud because my mum somehow always manages to find a way out of it.”

Scarlett, 11

Boxer Nicola Adams 

“Nicola Adams because of her sports success. She achieved gold medals in the Olympics in 2012 and 2016 and she said she trained three times a day. I think her commitment is inspiring.”

Mia, 11

“Marilyn Monroe, because obviously she was very naturally pretty, but also she was just herself. Every time she had interviews she was so polite and sweet, but she was also confident and she just didn’t really care what people thought of her. She was all about standing up for herself.”

Mollie, 15

Sandra Bullock 

“I look up to Sandra Bullock because she’s got loads of bad comments about how she’s not a good actress, but she’s tried to ignore them, and she’s just tried to get on with it. I think she’s a good role model because as far as I know she hasn’t done anything evil. And I think she’s very funny.”

Joely, 12

“Malala inspires me because she tried to help the girls who were at home and to help them with education and schools. And she did it when she was really young.”

Sarah, 12

Malala Yousafzai 

“My great-grandma. She was studying in St Petersburg when she heard the Germans were coming [for the Siege of Leningrad, which lasted from 1941-44 during World War II]. She had to get onto the last train out of St Petersburg because otherwise she would have been trapped. There was lots of starvation and it was really cold, so it was really lucky she got out.

“She continued to study at university and became a teacher. She went through lots of difficult events: later one of her daughters – my grandma’s sister – unfortunately died. It’s inspiring that even though the experiences she had were really hard, she kept going through it.”

Danielle, 16

“I look to myself more than anyone else. I just always follow my dreams.”

“Same.”

Neerdha and Paulina, both 11

For more from Stylist’s Made By Girls special issue and digital takeover, click here.

Images: Getty Images

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