Because girl power is everything.
Aya Yves, the new project of singer/songwriter Vendulka who has transcended from her Folk-Pop background into this anomalous electronic realm, continues to pushing boundaries and breaking expectations with her latest release, ‘Smart Girls’.
An ode to owning your own mistakes ‘Smart Girls’ is a serious girl power anthem and a unique take on the dark-pop genre. Introspective and mighty sassy, the track is championed by Aya’s smooth and dreamy vocals, punctuated by percussive production (courtesy of Xavier Dunn) and a killer hook.
To celebrate the anthem (which you can listen to below), Aya Yves has shared her top five badass female characters that all have unique brands of strength that awe, inspire, and thrill us.
Okay big call but I think that Moana is my all time favourite Disney movie. Firstly, the soundtrack! How incredible is it? The opening song – ‘Tulou Tagalao’ gives me goosebumps every time I watch the movie. Which is maybe too often. I love that the majority of the cast are Polynesian, and that the culture represented in the movie is one that my Polenisian friends can finally see themselves represented in!
I love the connection to nature that is central to the whole plot- a connection that we as humans can and should respect more. The fact that there is absolutely no romantic interest in the film is a big tick from me. The fact that Moana doesn’t follow her designated ‘path’ and pursues her heart definitely pulls my favour, considering I chose a career path less travelled. Moana is so strong and independent, I see her as a super positive role model for any kids watching the movie.
If you’ve been living under a rock and you haven’t seen it yet – get on it. If you come back to thank me, what can I say except you’re welcome?
Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games
I feel like this is an obvious choice but I can’t go past it. Katniss hunts for her family, risking her own safety to ensure they’re fed and looked after. Her volunteering to take Prim’s place in the Hunger Games was a huge tick. Her alliance with Rue once in the arena. The fact that she starts a huge revolution against the capitol.
She’s not only strong in the traditionally ‘masculine’ ways, but manages to show strength in kindness, and empathy for others. She’s not dependent on anyone (or any man) for her bravery or courage, but we see her character learn to soften toward emotion throughout the series.
She redefines gender roles, can shoot arrows like nobody’s business and looks badass whilst doing it.
Elle Woods – Legally Blonde
Elle Woods was one of my favourite characters in film growing up.
Her initial motives to get into Harvard are definitely not considered feminist, but I can appreciate the dedication to the task (getting her boyfriend Warner back). Against everyone’s perception of her, she works hard, and makes it in, only for the majority to belittle her for her style- and assume she’s dumb. She deals with Warner telling her she’s not ‘serious’ enough to be a life partner, and deals with her creep of a Professor making sexual advances toward her. Despite all the various obstacles to overcome, she banks on her intuition and smarts, wins a high profile murder case and rather than hating her ex’s new fiance – they end up befriending each other and dropping Warner like a hot potato.
I love that Elle doesn’t compromise her fashion, and breaks stereotypes that you can’t be both pretty and intelligent.
Grace & Frankie
This is one of my favourite shows to come off Netflix. It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, it’s feminist, it’s focused on older characters, represents the LGBTIQ+ community and has Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in it! What’s not to love?
Watching the relationship between Grace and Frankie turn from one of detest, to one of true warmth and love is so fulfilling. I love that the main relationship in this series isn’t a romantic one, and you watch both Grace and Frankie struggle with the feelings of jealousy, when seeing your best friend start a new relationship with someone else. Seeing these women support each other through the trials and tribulations of their divorces, aging bodies, dating and starting a sex toy business for seniors together is original, down to earth and so enjoyable to watch. It’s sex positive, and challenges agism and sexism in mainstream media.
I do have to mention that Jane Fonda is such a badass woman in real life – she’s 81, is the director of a hella successful Netflix show, and regularly protests for change on climate policy (and gets arrested for it!).
Annalise Keating – How To Get Away With Murder
Okay first up, having someone as talented and badass as Viola Davis fronting a show can only mean it’s going to be a good one.
We see Annalise Keating, a strong, career focused womxn. She has a complex character, and her being the villain is what makes her so likeable. She’s black, she’s queer. She struggles with alcohol. She owns her sexuality. She’s manipulative and has questionable morals. But in saying all this, she isn’t quickly defined as the villain. She is an imperfect human that struggles with her moral compass- and we see this develop throughout the show.
I dare say this is one of the first characters I’ve seen played by a queer POC where both those identifiers aren’t essential to the plot. They’re details, acknowledged, but are moved on just like they would be for a cis, hetero white character.
I’m a big fan of Viola Davis, and I love HTGAWM.
“Smart Girls” is available to stream on all platforms now.