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Top 5

Our favorite female creatives of all time

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Happy International Women's Day! To celebrate, we decided to take a look back at our favorite female creatives, the ones who inspire us every moment of every day. Agnes Martin! Alma Thomas! Patti Smith! Pina Bausch! Agnès Varda! The list runs long—and it doesn't even cover the brilliant makers in our personal lives: our mothers, sisters, friends... 

Here, words of wisdom from our Top 5—not an easy edit when you're drawing from a field rich with incredibly inspiring figures. Let's be honest; we could have easily done a Top 100. Who's on your list? Sound off on Instagram @veronicabeard

Top, from left: Frida Kahlo, 1940, photograph by Nickolas Muray; Joan Didion, 1972, by Henry Clarke for Vogue. Here: Nina Simone, 1968, by Ian Showell/Getty Images.


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Nina Simone | Singer & Songwriter 

“What kept me sane was knowing that things would change, and it was a question of keeping myself together until they did.” 

Frida Kahlo | Artist 

"I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it's true I'm here, and I'm just as strange as you.” 

Sister Parish | Interior Decorator 

“Innovation is often the ability to reach into the past and bring back what is good, what is useful, and what is lasting.” 

Sister Parish, 1988, photograph by Lord Snowdon for House & Garden


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Vivian Maier | Photographer 

“We have to make room for other people. It’s a wheel—you get on, you go to the end, and someone else has the same opportunity to go to the end, and so on, and somebody else takes their place.” 

Joan Didion | Journalist & Author 

“I'm not telling you to make the world better, because I don't think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I'm just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment.” 

Vivian Maier self-portrait, undated © Vivian Maier Estate/Courtesy of Maloof Collection & Howard Greenberg Gallery, NY