These successful, influential women remind us just how much we introverts have to offer.
I used to secretly wish I was an extrovert. By the time I reached middle school, my introverted tendencies made me feel self-conscious, deficient, and far from cool: I cherished alone time too much, preferred to listen rather than speak, became quickly drained by small talk and large groups, and felt weird for wanting to read on the weekends rather than go to the mall.
I wasn’t supposed to be this way. The ideal woman, according to mainstream culture, was bubbly, social, charming, and flirtatious. She was naturally comfortable with people, and well-liked by many for her approachable nature. This was the prototype for female success and desirability, and I had to get comfortable playing the part if I wanted to avoid being a societal failure. Right?
It took me many attempts at forced extroversion before realizing my soul was exhausted and yearning for authentic self-expression. Rejecting my introverted qualities was causing me unnecessary turmoil, and revealed my inability to accept myself fully for who I was.
Today, I embrace my introspective nature and have discovered that many of the women I have admired for years are actually textbook introverts (if only my teenage self had known!). They will make you proud to be exactly who you are.
5 Famous Females Who Will Make You Proud to Be an Introvert
Who doesn’t love Oprah? I think it’s safe to say she’s one of America’s greatest treasures. There’s a reason she rose to prominence, despite numerous hardships and unseemly odds.
Her authenticity and willingness to discuss sensitive, vulnerable topics on national television inspired countless others who were secretly struggling with similar issues. She was one of the first to talk openly on TV about her personal weight struggles, past drug usage, and experiences of childhood sexual abuse. In more ways than one, she has proven herself a woman of deep courage.
Given her status as a media mogul and her resume of 37,000+ interviews, I was shocked to discover that Oprah considers herself an introvert. During her 2018 interview with Amy Schumer, the two celebrities bonded over their shared introversion with Oprah revealing that she often retreats to the bathroom during dinner parties in order to “recharge.” An avid bookworm, she also founded her well-known book club back in 1996 to share her favorite reads with others.
Voracious reading, “recharge” sessions in the bathroom, and an affinity for alone time?
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2. Amy Schumer
Speaking of Amy Schumer, she is another female entertainer who surprised me with her self-proclaimed introvert status. As a comedian who is known for her often outlandish, unapologetic performances, I assumed she was an extrovert for sure. How else can you make jokes in front of thousands of people and get a high off of doing it?
Surprisingly, though, Schumer has claimed large social gatherings are not her cup of tea. In an interview with BBC Newsnight, Schumer revealed that her introversion took some time to embrace, but talked about eventually “getting to a place where I didn’t think something was wrong with me and that I thought it was OK. I actually really like that I know that I need time on my own to recharge.”
Schumer proves you can still put yourself out there, make people laugh, and thoroughly entertain crowds of people while also being an introvert.
3. Rosa Parks
A reserved and quiet introvert, Rosa Parks made history by refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She demonstrated the power of passive resistance, as well as bold determination, by making a choice that was guaranteed to end in backlash.
She’s been called “the mother of the civil rights movement,” with the Montgomery Bus Boycotts occurring shortly after her arrest on December 1, 1955. In 1999, Parks was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, which was “a tribute to the power of one solitary woman to influence the soul of a nation.”
Rosa Parks is a deeply inspirational example of someone who harnessed quiet strength and courage to completely alter the course of history.
4. Meryl Streep
From playing the aristocratic Karen Blixen in Out of Africa to embodying the pee-my-pants intimidating Miranda Priestley, Streep seems highly intuitive when it comes to understanding the inner lives of her characters — which is common among introverts.
Streep says some of the most important qualities of an actor include the ability to listen and a desire to go deeper when it comes to getting to know other human beings.
Although she is a household name within the acting world, Streep’s natural tendency is to want to avoid the glamorous high-profile dinner parties and award shows. She’s said that if she had her way “…I’d just stay home and think about what ‘I’m having for supper.’”
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
5. J.K. Rowling
Introverts also make great writers, and J.K. Rowling’s introversion led to the creation of an entire fictional universe. She began developing ideas entirely in her head while on a train back in 1990. She says she was “too shy” to ask anyone for a pen, so instead spent those four hours dreaming up the world of Harry Potter.
Rowling apparently wrote the final book of her series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in a tranquil, quiet hotel room she rented out in Edinburgh. On being a writer, she has said, “As soon as I knew what writers were, I wanted to be one. I’ve got the perfect temperament for a writer; perfectly happy alone in a room, making things up.”
Introverts Are Not ‘One-Size-Fits-All’
A media mogul, comedian, political activist, academy-award winning actress, and prolific author all prove that being an introvert can, in many ways, be its own kind of superpower. The ability to be alone, reflect, observe, and listen are all qualities that invite creativity to emerge into this world.
These successful, influential women, and countless others, can serve to remind us just how much we introverts have to offer.
Who would you add to this list? Please share any other well-known female introverts who inspire you in the comments below.