Marie Claire has turned twenty-five — I somehow didn’t realize this magazine is so much younger than I am — and celebrated with a list of twenty-five women it expects to make an impact in, or on, the next twenty-five. The cover stars are Megan Rapinoe, Lilly Singh, Kacey Musgraves, and Awkwafina, and the other 21 women are “coming soon.” Okay, then! Please let me know when they get here, Marie Claire.

The blurb on Megan includes this:

Rapinoe and her 22 teammates on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team have served notice that strong, irrepressible, ass-kicking females are taking the world’s stage—and they’re not asking for anyone’s permission.

I really, really wish they’d said “ass-kicking women.” If you really don’t want to repeat the word “women,” or something, then just call them the U.S. National Soccer Team, because that is also accurate. Make the men use the qualifier sometimes, please.

But, let’s give Megan the floor here. I trimmed down this excerpt; the whole piece is available here.

“In the same breath that someone would call me arrogant, they wouldn’t call Tom Brady or LeBron James or Michael Jordan arrogant,” Rapinoe points out. “Even when they do call male athletes arrogant, it’s almost in a positive way. But when it comes from a woman, they’re like, ‘How dare she? How dare she know she’s one of the best players in the world? How dare she take a moment to let 55,000 fans absolutely adore her?’ You know? We don’t allow women the space to be that way.” […]

At 34, Rapinoe has never been more invincible. That’s not to say she wouldn’t do anything different if she could lend some advice to herself at 25: “On a personal level, I would say to read more and be way more educated about politics, social justice, people. To have that knowledge when you’re younger, you could have so much more impact. Really trust your gut and trust your voice, and know that can be your guiding force in all things.” And she has a few words of wisdom for other women as well: “You deserve the space that you can take up. And you can take up as much space as you need.”

The Kacey Musgraves one was fine, but hard to pull from, so I’m just going to link to it instead.

Awkwafina’s talks a bit about her upbringing, much of which I hadn’t heard, and of course touches on subverting stereotypes and what people expect of her:

“It’s going to be hard to not walk into the room as an Asian American woman and not surprise someone with my bawdiness or the way that I yell. It proves a larger point that we’re all different and come from different experiences, and just because this is how you see ‘Asians,’ that’s not how I am. Let me be a little color in your landscape.”

Does she feel like the future of entertainment? Awkwafina groans. “Imagine if you woke up and you were like, ‘I’m the future of entertainment.’ It sounds crazy.” Still, she understands the unique position she inhabits and the power that comes with breaking molds and redefining what women’s stories can be. She is heartened by her industry’s reception to narratives like hers: specific, necessary, and, until recently, largely ignored. “A lot of other Asian American actors tell me their experiences have not been the same as mine. For the older generations, it’s not fair to ask why they chose a role that wasn’t culturally accurate or was culturally mocking. It’s more fair to ask why that was the only thing available for them to choose.”

Lastly, we have Lilly Singh, a YouTube celebrity — or rather, a celebrity who got her start on YouTube — and an Indian-Canadian New York Times best-selling author who’s taking over the late-late slot on NBC:

Coming out was a challenge like no other. “When I tweeted about being bisexual, a lot of people told me it’s bad, that I shouldn’t do that, especially because I have fans in cultures around the world that might not support it. And I remember making the decision, like, well, eff it, you don’t get to have an opinion about who I am.” Plus, she’d let too much sun in to start yanking down the shades. “Loving myself was a very hard lesson. I want to love myself, but I also want to be myself.”

There’s a lot to like in the diversity of the cover choices; is there as much to embrace in the photos? Let’s dissect, shall we?

[Photos: Marie Claire]