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Celia Cruz

Ursula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso is better known by her stage name, Celia Cruz. She was famed for her electrifying stage performances. During her career, she was the recipient of an amazing twenty-three gold albums. Often called, The Queen of Salsa, she was referred to by Leila Cobo of Billboard Magazine as “indisputably the best known and most influential female figure in the history of Cuban and Latin music”. She was one of four children born to working class parents in a poor Havana neighborhood. She often sang her family to sleep at night. Her father longed for his daughter to become a teacher and Cruz did enroll in the National Teachers’ College. She left the school soon after enrolling to pursue a music career that went on to last many decades. She hit it big in 1950 when she was tapped to sing backup for famed…

Claribel Alegria

Clara Isabel Alegría Vides, better known by her pen name, Claribel Alegría is an internationally famed poet, essayist, novelist, and journalist from Nicaragua. Alegria is considered by many to be a major voice for the writing and literary community of Central America and the US. Alegría began creating poems before she was even old enough to write them down on her own, often dictating writings to her mother. By seventeen, she had published her first series of poems in the Central American cultural supplement, Repertorio Americano. Following this publication, she attended finishing school in Louisiana, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Letters from George Washington University. Following her childhood, spent in exile in El Salvador, she came to identify herself as Salvadoran for a time, although she did eventually return to her Nicaraguan homeland. Alegría has published numerous books of poetry throughout her…

Yao Chen

In 2014, Forbes listed Chinese actress Yao Chen as the 83rd most powerful woman in the world. Born in the Fujian province of China, the star of rom-coms and action flicks has been dubbed the Angelina Jolie of China. Yao Chen made her acting debut in 2005’s My Own Swordsman. She went on to play in the show, Undercover, and made her stage debut as the heroine of A Story of Lala’s Promotion in 2009. Chen won the Golden Eagle Award for Best Actress in 2010. A media darling Chen is a beautiful, young woman, wife and mother. She could settle comfortably into her own little world and simply bask in fame if she chose to do so. Far from hiding behind her fame, Yao Chen uses it to advocate for the charities and environmental and human rights causes she supports, one of which is the United Nations Refugee Agency.…

Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes is the founder and CEO of Theranos, a health and technology startup, and the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. Her company pioneered blood testing technology in diagnostic labs. A native of Washington, D.C., she became interested in computer programming in her high school years. It was then she started her first business selling C++ compilers to Chinese universities. Holmes was a President’s Scholar at Stanford University, eventually dropping out of Stanford to pursue funding for her vision of a consumer healthcare technology company. She used what would have been her tuition money to jumpstart the fundraising. Tackling the worlds of science, technology and entrepreneurship, Holmes raised $6 million to fund Theranos, which set out to improve blood testing accuracy and pioneer new and improved blood testing technology. Among Holmes’ accomplishments, she was featured in Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year and 40 Under 40 lists, named one…

Cristina Fernández De Kirchner

Although not the first woman President of Argentina, lawyer and politician, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, became the first woman elected, as opposed to appointed, as the President of Argentina in 2007.  De Kirchner was born in La Plata, Buenos Aires Province to a single mother. After starting college with aspirations on becoming a psychologist, she decided to study law instead, and switched to that major. She married fellow law student, Néstor Kirchner in 1973, and upon his graduation, moved to his hometown of Río Gallegos. Following their move, Cristina completed her degree through a series of exams. Her political opponents have taken her to trial four times in regards to her education and degree. These opponents have asserted claims that she never actually earned a degree in law from National University of La Plata. At the conclusion of each trial, each judge ruled that she does in fact have the…

Gertrude Ederle

Born in 1905, Gertrude Ederle, was a competition swimmer and Olympic champion. Ederle, a native New Yorker, was one of six children born to German immigrant parents. Gertrude learned to swim from her father, a butcher, at their summer cottage in New Jersey. She fell in love with the sport and perfected her swim strokes and signature style while a member of the Women’s Swimming Association. Ederle joined the association when she was a mere twelve years old, setting her first world record in the 880-yard freestyle swim and becoming swimming’s youngest world record holder. She went on to set an astounding eight additional world records. She set seven of these eight world records when she was only seventeen years old. Dubbed the Queen of the Waves, Gertrude became the very first woman to swim across the English Channel. She quipped, “People said women couldn’t swim the Channel, but I…

Angelica Hale and Eva Bolando

Angelica Hale is taking America by storm with her amazing voice and spunky stage presence. Angelica won the hearts of the judges and audience members on the hit TV show, America’s Got Talent, singing a stirring rendition of Andra Day’s, Rise Up. There’s more to this pint-sized voice than mere power and poise, though. Audra is a survivor of a bacterial lung infection that quickly escalated and developed into double pneumonia. The pneumonia caused her to become septic and nearly claimed her life when she was a mere four years old. Left with severely destroyed kidneys, Angelica was placed on life-support for two weeks. After spending that time in intensive care and a total of eighty days in the hospital, the preschooler finally went home to her family. Her struggle for a life of normalcy continued over the next year and a half as she underwent hemodialysis followed by…