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Kristen Bell Reveals the Women Who Inspire Her

From her mental health awareness to human rights activism

Kristen Bell, star of the small and big screen (hello Frozen 2), gives powerhouse activists Glennon Doyle, Shannon Sedgwick Davis and Samantha Power a standing ovation.

Glennon Doyle

Chelsea Handler gave me Glennon’s first book Love Warrior, which is a memoir about her marriage to then-husband Craig Melton. When I read it, I was floored by her voice. She’s incredibly encouraging and inclusive, but not saccharine in the slightest. In fact, she’s quite humorous and down to earth. She’s so relatable in her admittance of silly things she’s done. For example, in Love Warrior, she says she hated cleaning the house so she used to get her toddler to go over the carpet with a toy shopping cart before her husband got home so it looked like she vacuumed. Hilarious.

On her blog Momastery, Glennon is very open about being a recovering addict. I live with someone who’s in recovery [husband Dax Shepard] and I know the only way out of addiction is to start talking about it. I learnt from Glennon and Dax how to talk about my mental health issues, and I immediately felt freer. Glennon owns everything about being human. One of my favourite quotes of hers is, “People ask me why I cry so much and I just tell them it’s the same reason I laugh so much. Because I’m paying attention.”

Shannon Sedgwick Davis

I met Shannon (an American attorney and human rights activist) 10 years ago at a conference. She runs the Bridgeway Foundation, which aims to end mass atrocities around the world. She uses her maternal instincts, education and passion to promote peace. She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons, but her heart is in Africa and she travels there dozens of times a year. Shannon was pivotal in taking down [Ugandan warlord] Joseph Kony in 2012, dismantling his Lord’s Resistance Army and lowering the number of child abductions.

She’s big on empowering people to solve their own problems, which I think is better than a white man coming in trying to fix things. I love how culturally respectful she is. She’s also unbelievably humble. She doesn’t do things for credit; she does them purely with goodness and kindness. [Shannon has] taught me that if someone can solve their own problem, step out of their way. It’s important to know when you’re  needed and when you’re not.

Samantha Power

Samantha is a former US ambassador to the United Nations and was a war correspondent covering the Yugoslav Wars. I first met her when she was a senior advisor to Barack Obama on international human rights and affairs, to talk about the crisis in Uganda. She was heavily pregnant at the time and five minutes after our meeting ended, she went into labour. I admire Samantha’s ability to seam her cultural knowledge with her maternal instincts. She’s incredibly reserved and softly spoken, yet such a powerhouse.

I think any woman in power is helping everyone; their representation is helping men understand that women can lead. My personal hope for women is [for us to see] things that have been labelled as weaknesses in the past – like crying, vulnerability, open hearts and empathy – as strengths. More than strengths, they’re superpowers.

Frozen 2 is out now. This article originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of marie claire. 

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