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Forget the headliners ... here's my six of the best


Christina Hendricks

Christina Hendricks

Frazer Harrison

Christina Hendricks

As 2010 draws to a close and I look back on the women who made headlines this year, I find few of the big names mean much to me.

Cheryl Cole, Kate Middleton, Katie Price and (remember she's a) hardline Tory Anne Widdecombe might have kept tabloid editors in Gucci and Givenchy, but for my money, these were the most inspirational women of 2010:

Christina Hendricks

Not only is her character in Mad Men, Joan Holloway, the sassiest and sexiest female on television, but Hendricks herself has almost single-handedly changed the dominant image of the ideal woman from a sickly giraffe to a fleshy, rounded boob and bum-touting mankiller.

And she did it simply by ignoring the instructions of the ignorant, obnoxious fashion and celebrity industry and doing things her own way. Most of us will never look like Christina, but as an aspirational model, she's 10 times more healthy and liberated than the self-denying bores who came before her.

Janis Sharp

If anyone can win the fight to save computer hacker Gary McKinnon from extradition to the US, it's his unbelievably tenacious and articulate mother Janis Sharp (above).

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This is a woman who will take on anyone - the PM, Obama, the CIA - and speaks with such passion and integrity about her son's fragility (he suffers from Asberger's syndrome and claims to have been hacking US state computers to find evidence of UFOs) that it is unimaginable that she will not triumph.

Sarah Brown

So long in the eye of the storm, the ex-PM's wife used every opportunity to draw attention to the numerous excellent causes she worked for, and supported her berated husband in the face of derision with a touching loyalty and fierce love.

She lost her daughter after only 10 days, and bears the fear and pain that comes with having a happy, vibrant little boy with cystic fibrosis, but Brown still managed to keep her cool while being attacked daily in the press for her choice in husbands and shoes.

If I were her, I'd have been done for GBH years ago, but her natural grace and focus on what matters made a quiet heroine of Mrs Brown to the end.

Amy Williams

You might not know the name, but Williams is the slight, shy 28-year-old who won a gold medal at this year's Winter Olympics by speeding at 80mph along an ice track on a state of the art tea-tray with her face an inch from the ground. She quite literally took my breath away.

Miranda Hart

I have no real idea why I love Ms Hart, she has none of the hardline wit or poetic profundity of the comedy I usually like.

But there's something so seductive and honest about this big, clumsy, eccentric woman - her total lack of vanity, her guilt-free love of chocolate and hatred of gyms, her insecurity about men yet bold refusal to change - that I adore. And God, it's funny when she falls over.


Many predicted she would be a one-hit wonder, but after a torrid time when the whole world knew her boyfriend, rapper Chris Brown, had been physically abusing her and threatening to kill her, the gorgeous and prodigiously talented Rihanna came back to rule the pop world (when Gaga wasn't around) with a series of brilliant, dark and chutzpah-packed tracks which have secured her a place in the music pantheon. Bravo.