While we’re looking forward to saying hello to new things in 2024, we first want to take a moment to say goodbye to the remarkable women we lost in 2023.
This list of quotes pays homage to the enduring impact they’ve had on their respective sectors, from politics and music to sports and culture.
Join us in revisiting the profound insights and timeless wisdom of these ladies, as we pick up the torch they passed on to us.
“Society as a whole benefits immeasurably from a climate in which all persons, regardless of race or gender, may have the opportunity to earn respect, responsibility, advancement and remuneration based on ability.” –Sandra Day O’Connor (1930-2023)
Sandra Day O’Connor was a trailblazing figure in American legal history. In 1981, she made history by becoming the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, nominated by President Ronald Reagan. O’Connor’s tenure on the Court spanned nearly 25 years, and she became known for her pragmatic and centrist approach to jurisprudence. She’s remembered for her strength and “cowgirl” spirit – she battled breast cancer during her tenure and only missed two weeks of work. Beyond her groundbreaking role as the first female Supreme Court justice, she left an enduring legacy with iCivics, her nonprofit dedicated to promoting civic education and understanding.
“But who wants an easy life? It’s boring!” –Jane Birkin (1946-2023)
Jane Birkin was a versatile British-French artist celebrated for her contributions to film, music and fashion. Renowned for her roles in films like “The Swimming Pool,” Birkin achieved international fame, but her impact extends far beyond the silver screen. Collaborating with Serge Gainsbourg in the late 1960s, she became half of one of the most iconic duos in French music history. Their controversial yet immensely popular song, “Je t’aime… moi non plus,” showcased Birkin’s distinctive voice and marked a cultural milestone. She is also synonymous with the coveted Hermès Birkin bag, which has been popular since the 1980s – a testament to Birkin’s timelessness.
“I don't do anything in order to cause trouble. It just so happens that what I do naturally causes trouble. I'm proud to be a troublemaker.” –Sinead O’Connor (1966-2023)
Sinead O’Connor was an acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter recognized for her emotive performances and distinctive voice. Her debut album, “The Lion and the Cobra,” catapulted her to international fame in the late 1980s, and her 1990 rendition of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” earned her widespread acclaim and Grammy nominations. Beyond her musical career, she was a controversial figure, notably tearing up a photo of Pope John Paul II in a live television protest against the Catholic Church’s handling of child abuse cases. Her outspoken advocacy on issues such as women’s rights and mental health, coupled with her tumultuous personal life, has made her a complex and influential presence in the music industry.
“My legacy is that I stayed on course… from the beginning to the end, because I believed in something inside of me.” –Tina Turner (1939-2023)
Tina Turner was a global music icon renowned for her powerful voice and electrifying performances. Starting her career as part of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, she rose to fame in the 1960s and 1970s, delivering hits like “Proud Mary.” In the 1980s, she broke free from her tumultuous marriage with Ike Turner and redefined herself with solo success, with Grammy-winning hits like “Better Be Good to Me.” Beyond her musical achievements, Turner’s journey, documented in her autobiography and the biographical film “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” highlights her strength and resilience, making her an enduring symbol of female empowerment in the music industry.
“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” –Rosalynn Carter (1927-2023)
Rosalynn Carter served as the First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981 during the presidency of her husband, Jimmy Carter. During that time, she was actively involved in policy matters like mental health awareness and played a key role in the passage of the Mental Health Systems Act in 1980. Post-White House, she continued her advocacy, co-founding the Carter Center with her husband, which addresses global issues such as health, democracy and human rights. She has also authored several books, including her memoir “First Lady from Plains.” Carter’s legacy is marked by her significant philanthropic contributions and her active involvement in social and humanitarian causes.
“Toughness doesn’t have to come in a pinstripe suit.” –Dianne Feinstein (1933-2023)
Dianne Feinstein, a U.S. Senator from California, is remembered for her work in paving the way for women in politics. She began her political journey as the mayor of San Francisco, becoming the first woman to hold that office. Then in 1992, she and former Sen. Barbara Boxer became the first women from California elected to the Senate. She has been recognized for her work on issues such as gun control, national security and environmental conservation. The longest-serving female senator in U.S. history, Feinstein also holds the honor of having won the most votes in any single Senate election in history.
“Being a runner has brought me a lot of patience, and patience goes a long way in life.” –Tori Bowie (1990-2023)
Tori Bowie was a highly accomplished American track and field athlete renowned for her prowess in sprinting and long jump. Bowie gained international recognition after winning three medals, including a gold, for the U.S. Team at the 2016 Rio Games, then went on to win another gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in London in 2017. She also had a passion for hair and makeup, and was praised for pushing back against criticism that this passion could not co-exist with her athletic ambitions. Her tragic death, caused by childbirth complications, shined a light on the alarming maternal mortality rate for Black women in the United States.
“Give yourself the right to fail.” –Ellen Holly (1931-2023)
Ellen Holly was an actor who made history as the first Black woman to land a leading role on daytime television. She portrayed Carla Gray on the soap opera “One Life to Live,” which garnered attention for its progressive approach to racial issues during the 1960s. Outside her acting career, Holly was a strong advocate for racial equality and wrote about her experiences in the entertainment industry. She also wrote honestly about her personal struggles with alcoholism and depression, offering hope and guidance to others with the same struggles. Her contributions to television and her impact on breaking racial barriers in the industry make her an iconic figure in television history.
“Music has always gotten me through life, particularly honest, real music.” –Lisa Marie Presley (1968-2023)
The daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie Presley spent her whole life in the spotlight – so it wasn’t surprising that she pursued a music career of her own. She established herself as a singer-songwriter with a musical style encompassing rock, folk and blues elements. In addition to this, she had a passion for philanthropy, founding the Presley Charitable Foundation in 2007. Despite the public scrutiny that comes with her fabled family background, Presley was praised for the candid way she spoke about personal challenges, from highly scrutinized marriages to Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage, to the death of her only son. She’s remembered as an iconic figure in American pop culture.
“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.” –Suzanne Somers (1946-2023)
Suzanne Somers was an American actor, author and businesswoman. She gained widespread fame for her role as Chrissy Snow on the television sitcom “Three’s Company” in the late 1970s. Beyond her acting career, Somers was a notable author, writing a series of self-help and health-related books. She also carved out a space for herself in the wellness and lifestyle industry, developing health, beauty and exercise products. While some criticized her advice regarding anti-aging and alternative medicine, others praised her for her dedication to nutrition and holistic health. Regardless, Somers made her mark as an unignorable figure in both the entertainment and wellness sectors.