When it comes to gender equality, women are getting more representation than at any other point in history. Last year was the first time 33 female CEOs made it to the Fortune 500 list; and according to experts a large number of women will run for office in 2020, after a record-breaking number in 2018.
It's not necessary to be president of a country or the CEO of a major company to lead in an immensely inspirational way and make a difference. It's about the smaller things, like finding your unique talents and making use of them—that’s where the potential lies to allow for all women to shine.
Take it from this fresh crop of multi-talented female artists coming from fields as diverse as music, painting, writing, acting, and art direction. These young women are about more than just well-crafted Instagram snaps; by exploring different mediums, they are experimenting with their art and shining a light on subjects that range from love and self-confidence to stories of notable women in history.
“I think the future is really bright [for women]," says actress and writer Karina Kolokolchykova, whose dream it is to play “bad-ass” female characters like Ludimila Tokov, a female Russian cosmonaut whom she played recently. Legend has it that Tokov was in space before Yuri Gagarin, but her capsule purportedly burnt up while in descent from orbit.
The Ukrainian-born beauty also highlights the fact that there are more female directors now than ever before, and also more women participating in various roles within the film industry. "Things are changing, a conversation is happening, and I'm positive about it," she adds.
Spanish painter Mercedes Bellido notes that although she's had to fight a little bit more to earn her place, she hasn't experienced that many difficulties in comparison to her male peers. "In every aspect of life, being a woman requires proving yourself more and that you're really capable of giving it your all."
"I would love for more male-female equality not only as artists but in terms of income and representation in exhibitions and museums," says Parisian Art Director and artist Claire Romain. She goes on to mention Helen Frankenthaler, whose work didn't come to prominence until after her husband, Robert Motherwell, died.
Finding your authentic essence and inner confidence
For it to be possible to see more female representation in more fields, it’s necessary for women to have more opportunities to engage in their passions. This, precisely, is what has allowed artists like @Mercedesbellido, @Claireromain, @Karina.Kolokolchykova, and singer-songwriter Tonia Richii to thrive.
"Painting allows me to be here and now very intensely and not worry about anything else," says @Mercedesbellido. For her, painting is more than just a medium of self-expression through which she depicts her concerns both aesthetically and conceptually. "I believe in doing something with all of your heart, as it allows you to be very focused, it works really well for me.”
@tonia_richii has been singing and writing songs from an early age, and says her music is "the highest height of happiness and the deepest dark sadness, and pretty much everything in between, it’s everything for me.”
@Claireromain, on the other hand, says she finds her artistic essence in "spontaneity when painting or acting." She sees herself as a positive person and says it shows in the colours of her artworks or in the way she expresses her emotions when playing a role.
"When I'm writing I feel I'm creating without the need to satisfy anybody," says @Karina.Kolokolchykova. She also finds her essence in acting, even when getting a part is not entirely dependent on her, "there are so many elements required to fit perfectly in a role." Still, she can't decide which of the two make her feel the most confident and in her element—"it's a mix," she says.
Indeed, confidence can be a tricky subject, no matter how successful or beautiful you are. "It's not something that you can’t just have, you must work on it every day," says @tonia_richii. She explains that even being on stage multiple times a day, there are still days she wants to “hide behind my glasses until confidence rears its face."
If she could talk to her 15-year-old self, she says she'd tell her never to stop playing music. "Life is hard, but it's full of gifts and surprises. And you when you fall, just get back up again; and when you make mistakes, learn from them," quips the Londoner.
@Mercedesbellido thinks creative types usually "have weak moments" when it comes to confidence. She says that during the creative process, you tend to question yourself. "Sometimes it's hard to be 100% confident, you have to fight your own demons, but I know that at the end of the day it’s going to be OK".
Inspiring Each Other
All four artists have had powerful women as role models in their families, especially their mothers. @Mercedesbellido recounts that she comes from a close-knit family of strong women and she's always been motivated and supported by her mother, aunt, and grandmothers.
“She made me who I am today,” says @tonia_richii. " Since I flew the nest I [haven’t really had] any other female role models in life, except the one I see in the mirror." She adds that she has had to work hard on shining of her "own accord". However, she's also grateful to have "a great boyfriend, family, and friends" around her.
@Karina.Kolokolchykova began travelling with her mother from a young age, and says of her, "she always encouraged me to follow my dreams.” But the blonde beauty also points to her "girl gang", a close group of female artists. "I'm so proud of their achievements, I think we inspire each other, and there's a sense of sisterhood and support."
@Claireromain credits her mother with bringing out her artistic side through painting and by introducing her to her work as a costume designer. But her sister is also a significant woman in her life: "We are very close so we often talk and give each other advice," says the French actress. "Sharing all these moments with her is when I feel we shine together, that we are united and that we find each other."