Other children were "play outside" people. I was a "watch the same TV shows and movies 100 times until they're seared into my brain" person. And because of that, I had a set of role models that lived in the fictional realm of entertainment, but who also rubbed off on me in very specific ways.
1. Carrie Bradshaw
Sex and the City
I think this one is a bit of a no-brainer if you've met me before. Carrie (and moreso SJP, but since we're talking about fictional people) was a huge cornerstone of high school for me. I wore flower brooches to school, pearls stacked on top of each other, and, in one less fortunate instance, fishnets. (You read that right). I have a horseshoe necklace and a nameplate necklace. I've used photos of her for multiple hair color inspiration pieces. But it wasn't just about the style - it was her general wittiness, willingness to fail, romantic sensibilities, her ability to step outside herself and observe life as a writer. I think maybe more than anything else, it was the importance she placed on her friendships with women, which I did then and continue to do today.
Of course, watching Sex and the City as an adult is a very different experience. Carrie comes off as a little strident, a little immature, and a little promiscuous to my 28-year-old eyes. But her spunk, spirit, and commitment to writing (and her clothes, naturally) have stayed with me.
2. Carol Connelly
As Good As It Gets
Oh my gosh, who doesn't love Helen Hunt as this fabulous woman? I loved Carol for so many reasons, but I think chief among them was how honest she was on all planes of her life. If you haven't seen this movie, you should remedy that ASAP, but to brief you: her son is chronically ill, she lives with her mother, works as a waitress, and is fixated on by a man twenty years her senior who has debilitating OCD. Sounds like a dream life, right?
Something about this woman really got into my bones. I am not a particularly bold person when it comes to saying what I mean right in the moment I mean it, especially if it's unpopular or hard to hear. Carol doesn't care about such things, and that's what makes her so fabulous. She is still an aspirational character for me.
3. Maggie Carpenter
The killer combo of "knows how to fix a leaky faucet" and "is Julia Roberts beautiful" is hard to beat. This movie, like many others, taught me a lot about myself. Maggie cares about a fairy-tale ending more than actually being true to her own feelings (something I can identify with strongly as someone who has Kodak Moment Syndrome). Though this is a romantic comedy and isn't necessarily Best Picture-worthy, Maggie's journey to self-discovery in this movie (marked by finally deciding how she likes her eggs cooked) helped me figure out what of my personality was a show, and what was the real deal.
4. Anna Reilly
Keeping the Faith
Maybe a lesser-known character in the canon of fantastic fictional females, this is another movie you should see. Part of my fixation on her springs from the fact that this was a movie I watched on a loop with two of my dearest guy friends in middle school, but a bigger part was that Anna Reilly was a ball-busting career woman who knew exactly what she wanted. In the same way that Carol Connelly is aspirational for me, Anna Reilly pulls no punches and still manages to be beautiful, sexy, smart, and fun. (Go watch this movie if you haven't seen it. It's fantastic.)
Who are yours?? Am I crazy and weird that I love these not real people?? Help me feel better.