Proof of the Power of Confidence

Photo: Horst Diekgerdes/Trunk Archive

We’ve had the privilege of featuring a parade of awe-inspiring women on Yahoo Beauty this year. From entrepreneurs to actresses, to the first woman to cross Antarctica with nothing but her own strength, each has spoken at length about confidence, both what they’ve learned about the invaluable tool and how life-changing even an ounce can be. We’ve rounded up their best quotes—if you take anything into the new year, make it this.

Olivia Munn, Actress

“Having self-awareness is very important, and I think that when you are comfortable with your imperfections no one can make you feel bad about them. I’m at a point where I know that there will always be people who are taller, thinner, more attractive, sexier, more beloved, and adored than I, and there will be people on the other side of that, and once you realize that everybody has that in life you just realize that you can’t go through life wishing I had this or that, and you just have to embrace it.”

Related: Kim Kardashian Wears Less Makeup as a Mom

Misty Copeland, Prima Ballerina

“I accepted a lot of mentors into my life that guided me and gave me confidence. You have to be open to help, you can’t be stubborn and think you can make it on your own. Everyone needs guidance.”

Related: Four French Women Shatter The Myth of Perfection

Felicity Aston, Explorer

“The experience [of crossing Antarctica] gave me so much more confidence, this whole idea that if you just keep going in life, everything will be OK. If you really believe that you can handle whatever life throws at you, and you will find your way through, it makes you much more confident.”

Related: How I Got to Be a Magazine Cover Girl (Without Any Makeup)

Olivia Wilde, Actress

“I feel more beautiful since I became a mother. I feel like my skin is better, I have a different attitude toward beauty, there’s a certain relaxation in becoming a mother. There seems to be an enormous sense of self-love; I can’t believe I created something so perfect and beautiful… I really care less about what people think.”

Related: Beauty Tips From Beautiful Women

Banks, Singer

“Life is a constant push and pull of being sure of yourself and not being so sure of yourself. I am most confident when I am fully me. When I allow myself to love what I think, when I free myself to do what I want despite what others are saying—that’s power.”

Related: Carol’s Daughter Founder: “Be Brave, Be Bold, Be Smart”

Charlotte Tilbury, Makeup Artist

“I started wearing mascara after I saw school-friends wearing it, and overnight, people reacted to me in a very different way. I was more popular and I felt more confident. While at first it seemed like a depressing realization, I soon realized that makeup is powerful; it’s every woman’s secret weapon. Makeup can give you the confidence to get that husband you’ve always wanted, change your job, move abroad, get a pay raise.”

Related: Helena Rubinstein: “Beauty is Power”

Kerry Washington, Actress

“I have been really blessed in my life with people who have really helped me be myself and not try to be anybody else. So whenever somebody says to me on Twitter or at the grocery store, “Oh my gosh, I just want to be Kerry Washington.” I always say, “No, you have to be you.” There is no other you in the world and the world needs what is unique about you. If you have the courage to do that, it will be much better for you than being Kerry Washington.”

Related: Rachel Fleit on Loving Herself From Head to Toe

Maria Bartiromo, Journalist & Anchor

“The only way to have confidence in a situation is to prepare for it. Every time I have been anxious about an interview or story, or worried about an outcome, my first instinct is to go long on studying. Bone up on everything about the situation, prepare and study as much as you can to gain the confidence you need.”

Related: Lauren Bacall’s “Studied Carelessness”

Elle MacPherson, Supermodel

“If I feel like my arms are in great shape, that is what I am going to showcase. I try not to focus on weight I’ve gained, or if my skin is really dry, but on what is working and making sure that is what people notice. One of the things I’ve noticed, that I want to share with other women, is that I vacillate between 10 and 15 pounds. And when I’m heavier no one ever says, “She’s put on weight.”  People don’t notice.”

Related: What if You Stopped Looking in the Mirror for a Year?

Senator Kristen Gillibrand, New York

“You can decide for yourself what you want to do and what makes you feel good. How you feel about yourself is important! If working out and spending an hour a day just doing something for yourself is what’s going to make the difference, then you should be prioritizing that time.”

Related: Drew Barrymore: “I’m in Anything but Exhibition Mode”

Jodie Patterson, co-founder of DooBop

“I have insecurities and doubts, as we all do. But I committed myself to being relentless. If you find something scary, lean into that area and keep doing it. Fight the fear and the lack of confidence. The instinct is to go in the opposite direction, but if you just start doing it a couple of times, it becomes a practice.”

Related: Inspiring Words From Glamour’s Women of the Year

Caroline de Maigret, Music Producer & Model

“Accept your body the way it is. What men like is a woman who’s glamorous and sensual, in harmony with herself and therefore with nudity. It is a woman who knows how to work with the body she was given. A confident person can make you see whatever she wants — it’s all about taking the power.”

Related: Ageless Gabrielle Union Uses Her Star Power for Good

Danica Patrick, Racecar Driver

“Being different and unique is something that has been a real positive for me. The double-edged sword is that people are watching, and people have a lot of opinions about you. You have to have some thick skin to handle what people are going to say about you, but I wouldn’t change anything.”

Related: Tinashe: “Make Things Happen For Yourself, Don’t Wait For a Guy.”

Sarah Robb O’Hagan, President of Equinox

“Having a physicality and the ability that a healthy body has, is such a blessing, and so beautiful in so many ways. It isn’t about fitting into size zero skinny jeans. It’s about how at every shape and size, people can be beautiful and that comes from within. If you just get your head around that, then somehow you get very good at blocking out the noise in terms of society’s perspective of what’s beautiful.”

Related: When “Healthy” is Actually Unhealthy

Janelle Monae, Singer

“This world is very diverse and as women, we need to be too. There are many different ways to be sexy. There are many different ways to be cool. I am a free spirit. I like the challenge of redefining what it means to be a woman, especially a woman of color creating music and telling a universal story in an unforgettable way.”

Related: Thandie Newton’s Teachers Deemed Her Hair “Too Ghetto”

Kate Upton, Model

“In the beginning of my career, slimmer, less curvy models were more popular and I got down on myself. I didn’t feel as confident or as beautiful, but it made me realize that it’s not about what people say to you or what people think, it’s about competing with yourself and being the best that you can be. But also, I don’t take myself too seriously.”

Related: What We Can Learn From the Supermodel Who Breaks All the Rules