1. Queen Nanny of the Maroons - an inspirational figure in Jamaican history whose legacy has been celebrated in poems, portraits and currency. She was a well-known 18th century leader of the Jamaican Maroons, a community which escaped slavery. She's recognised as an outstanding military leader and warrior who became, in her lifetime and after, a symbol of unity and strength. Queen Nanny is a true female hero of the Caribbean!
2. Rihanna - singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman, fashion designer... is there anything this Barbados-born badass CAN’T do? The multi-award winning singer was already a platinum selling artist by the age of 18 with her first album, A Girl Like Me. These days, you are more likely to find her running her beauty and fashion brands, Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty, which have been described as groundbreaking for their celebration of diversity and inclusivity.
3. Sanya Richards Ross - Track star and 400-meter champion Sanya Richards-Ross was born and raised in Jamaica until she migrated to the U.S. in her early teens. Not only did she win gold in the 400 metres at the 2012 Summer Olympics, but she has also won Olympic gold in the 4×400 meters relay at the 2004 Summer Olympics, the 2008 Summer Olympics, AND the 2012 Summer Olympics. We’re out of breath just thinking about it!
4. Winifred Atwell - The Trinidadian boogie woogie and ragtime piano player settled in London after the Second World War, where she was idolised by the British public throughout the 1950s. Her hits have sold over 20 million records and she was the first ever black musician - male or female - to have a UK No.1.
5. Lisa Hanna - A Jamaican politician and beauty queen who was crowned Miss World 1993. Now a member of the opposition People's National Party, Hanna currently serves as Member of Parliament for Saint Ann South East, and was Jamaica's Minister of Youth and Culture from 2012-2016. She is one of the youngest women to be elected to Jamaican parliament.
6. Grace Jones - If there’s one word to describe Grace Jones, it’s iconic. From her breakout as a model in Paris in the early 1970s, her predatory, androgynous style subverted notions of race and gender. Not before long she took the music industry by storm too, topping the U.S. dance charts with disco and R&B hits like "Pull Up to the Bumper" and "Slave to the Rhythm”.
7. Elizabeth Nunez - a Trinidadian American novelist and distinguished professor of English, Nunez’ novels have won countless awards including the New York Times Editors’ choice and the American Book Award. She is the Co-Founder of the National Black Writers Conference, of which she was Director from 1986-2000.
8. Nicki Minaj - You can’t really get more cool than being dubbed the “Queen of Rap”. The Saint James-born superstar’s rapping is distinctive for its fast flow and the use of alter egos and accents, and she is known for her colorful costumes and wigs. Minaj was the first female artist included on MTV's annual Hottest MC List and in 2016, she was included on the annual Times 100 list of the most influential people in the world. She has earned multiple top-ten entries on the Billboard Hot 100: "Super Bass" in 2011, "Starships" in 2012, "Bang Bang" and "Anaconda", both in 2014, "MotorSport" in 2017, and "Chun-Li" in 2018.
9. Joy Spence - A woman we are literally inspired by everyday at Turtle Bay; Spence became the world’s first female master blender in 1997 and has worked at the helm of the infamous Appleton Estate for over thirty years. Spence has changed the face of Jamaican rum: she successfully helped the country fight for geographical indication (GI) approval for its rum, meaning any rum that claims to be Jamaican must adhere to strict production and quality standards, including a ban on any additives. This means that it has protected status, like Champagne or Stilton!
Who is your biggest inspiration this International Women’s Day?