When I think of fabulous women, I think of women who are successful in multiple areas of life. Women who embrace who they are, own it and make the most of it. Women who defy stereotypes and elegantly show society exactly what they have to offer. Here are seven such fabulous African American women over 50 who have put their stamps on the world.
Viola Davis. The daughter of a Civil Rights activist, 50-year-old Davis grew up in a working class family, but her love for acting landed her a spot at Juilliard School in New York. Though her acting career began in high school, she didn’t make it to the silver screen until she was almost 30. Davis appeared on Broadway and in a number of television shows and movies before her role in the 2011 film, The Help made her a household name. Today, she plays the lead role in the hit television show How to Get Away With Murder. She is among only 10 African American women to ever be nominated for an Oscar for “best actress in a leading role,” and is known for her stunningly elegant red carpet looks.
Michelle Obama. Regardless of your personal politics, there’s no denying what a powerhouse of a woman the First Lady is. The 52-year-old has spent her time in the White House advocating for children and families all the while breaking boundaries and crushing stereotypes regarding how a woman in her position should look, act and think. Even her official White House bio describes her as a lawyer before it does First Lady. In a realm in which women have traditionally fought to be seen as more than just arm candy, Mrs. Obama has carved out a legacy all her own.
Debbie Allen. Their parents must have done something right! Allen is the baby sister of Phyllicia Rashad, but she certainly was not content to remain in the shadow of her famous sibling. Though she’s acted on Broadway, television and movies, 66-year-old Allen’s true mark has been made behind the scenes as choreographer, director and producer. In fact she has directed for an incredible number of hit shows including Fame, Family Ties, Everybody Hates Chris, Grey’s Anatomy (on which she also has a recurring role), How to Get Away With Murder, Empire, Scandal and many more. In addition to her more public work, she also managed to achieve a lifelong dream of starting her own dance academy which opened in 2001. She has also appeared as a judge on various television dance competitions and done charitable work with the Dizzy Feet Foundation.
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Carla Hall. 51-year-old TV personality Carla Hall first became known to the public as the quirky but talented cheftestant on season 5 of Top Chef. A woman of many interests, Hall started out as a CPA, but eventually turned to modeling thanks to her tall, lithe frame. But her takeaway from her globetrotting days in the fashion industry was an unconventional one: the world is full of amazing food! Straight off the runway she started a career in the food industry and has never looked back. Thanks to her bubbly personality, today she is a co-host on ABC’s food-centric daytime talk show, The Chew, is an active philanthropist, has written several cookbooks, and this year she’s opened her first restaurant.
Valerie Jarrett. Senior Advisor to the President of the United States. Need I say more? 59-year-old Jarrett is not only helping Barack Obama lead the free world, she’s also been close friends with the first family since 1991 when she hired Michelle to work in the Chicago mayor’s office. Jarrett has used her passion for women’s rights and her political prowess to champion the causes she believes in. She’s chairperson for both the White House Council on Women and Girls and the White House Council to Protect Students Against Sexual Assault, among other roles.