Timeless Beauty: 25 of the Most Stunning Female Icons of the 1980s

The 80s were a time of neon lights and big hair. From Madonna to Winona Ryder, women ruled the silver screen, the airwaves, and fashion. Anywhere you dared to look, a female icon was leading the charge. Here are 25 icons from the period that set the bar for brains, beauty, and boldness.

1. Whitney Houston

Image Credit: Roadside Attractions and Miramax.

We will always love Whitney Houston — she was all the woman we needed. She dominated the charts with a voice that could make a bald man's hair stand on end! Whitney was an absolute powerhouse of a person.

2. Princess Diana

Princess Diana
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Princess Diana was a fashion icon, humanitarian, trailblazer, and absolute royalty. She captured the hearts and attention of the world with her smile (and shoulder pads). The world mourned her passing and felt an absolute loss.

3. Madonna

Madonna: The Confessions Tour Live from London
Image Credit: Warner Music Vision.

Princess Diana might have been royalty, but Madonna was the queen. She was a true trendsetter no matter what venture she was involved in. Her fashion, music, and boundary-pushing attitude will always be iconic. Find me a guy who didn't have a crush on her.

4. Celine Dion

Celine: Through the Eyes of the World Celine Dion
Image Credit: The Hot Ticket.

Because of Celine Dion, our hearts will go on to the future, knowing that her music helped us in the darkest times. A global celebrity with the voice of a cherub, Celine is an icon to young girls and women in music to this day.

5. Vanessa Williams

666 Park Avenue Vanessa Williams, Terry O'Quinn
Image Credit: ABC.

Despite facing discrimination early in her career, Williams broke barriers as the first Black woman to be crowned Miss America in 1983. She went on to have a very successful career as an actor and singer.

6. Cher

The Player Cher, Peter Gallagher
Image Credit: Fine Line Features.

The critically acclaimed goddess of pop came in and took the entire genre hostage. You thought Lady Gaga had a crazy fashion sense? You ain't seen nothing yet.

7. Cindy Crawford

Conan Cindy Crawford
Image Credit: TBS.

She made the world stop and stare, and for a long time, we all believed that human perfection was possible. As a supermodel, she wasn't just mind-bogglingly beautiful, she was a figure for young girls and women worldwide.

8. Heather Locklear

Franklin & Bash Heather Locklear
Image Credit: TNT.

If you look closely at that old photo of your dad, you'll see he has a poster of Heather hanging in his college dorm. Heather was iconic for her hair, eyes, charisma, and charm. We'd watch a soap opera just to see her in it.

9. Kim Basinger

Charlie St. Cloud Kim Basinger
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Femme fatales have always existed, but none are as timeless as Kim Basinger. Kim was a symbol of female possibility with a voice that could melt the hearts of kings and a sultry look that shook up the silver screen.

10. Kathleen Turner

The Jewel of the Nile Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

She was the blueprint for the “strong independent woman,” taking long strides toward whatever she set out to achieve. No matter the role, Kathleen would take it on with a voice that would make men jealous.

11. Goldie Hawn

Deceived Goldie Hawn
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

We all loved Marilyn Monroe, but Goldie Hawn filled the void left in our hearts without Marilyn. The bubbly blonde was a bombshell who put a smile on our faces with her cheerful laugh and killer comedy that set the tone for countless female comedians.

12. Dolly Parton

9 to 5 Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

America's sweetheart, need I say more? The queen of country music made her way into our homes with her beautiful music. Her infectious spirit and generous personality continue to inspire to this day.

13. Tina Turner

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Mel Gibson, Tina Turner
Image credit: Warner Bros.

Finding a performer who can work a crowd like Tina Turner is hard. Her music was so moving that it would make the Queen's Guards groove. Tina was a rock goddess and her contributions to the genre shaped rock music.

14. Winona Ryder

Edward Scissorhands Winona Ryder
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

While no one can rock a pixie cut like Winona, seeing her in Netflix's Stranger Things is proof of her timelessness. She was the ultimate cool girl, with a style and attitude that inspired a generation. No matter the role, she'd eat and leave no crumbs.

15. Jane Fonda

The Newsroom Jane Fonda
Image Credit: HBO.

Those Saturday mornings when our moms would pull out the mat and join Jane in her fitness classes were among the best parts of the 80s. Jane inspired women to find strength through fitness, passion, and desire.

16. Demi Moore

Happy Tears Demi Moore
Image Credit: Roadside Attractions.

Not only is she a beauty on the big screen, Demi has done it all. An author, producer, and advocate for social justice and other noble causes. She gives to charities and aids in the fight against human trafficking and promotes women's rights.

17. Brooke Shields

The Blue Lagoon Brooke Shields
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Brooke Shields was one of the most recognizable faces of the 80s, thanks to her work as a model, actress, and spokesperson. Her iconic Calvin Klein ads set the tone for fashion and beauty in the decade. Her work and talents have made an enduring impact to this day.

18. Sarah Jessica Parker

All Roads Lead to Rome Sarah Jessica Parker
Image Credit: Momentum Pictures.

You probably know her as Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City but before that iconic fashion-forward role, she was kicking around in a variety of 80s movies and TV shows.

19. Phoebe Cates

Private School Phoebe Cates
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Although she took a step away from acting to focus on family, Phoebe Cates was a beloved staple of the decade. Her iconic performances in films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Gremlins made her an 80s favorite.

20. Sigourney Weaver

The Defenders Sigourney Weaver
Image Credit: Netflix.

You know all about Sigourney's acting, but did you know she's a staunch supporter of animal rights and has worked tirelessly to promote gender and racial equality in Hollywood? She is one of the hardest-working women in Hollywood.

21. Olivia Newton-John

Grease John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Olivia Newton-John was not just a talented and beautiful actress and singer of the 80s but a secret superhero fighting crime on the side. Okay, that may not be entirely true, but it makes you wonder, what couldn't she do?

22. Michelle Pfeiffer

Dangerous Liaisons Michelle Pfeiffer
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

She was the reigning queen of the silver screen in the 80s and 90s. Michelle has more nominations than a political convention. She proved she's not just a pretty face, with a career that's spanned over four decades.

23. Carrie Fisher

Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope Carrie Fisher
Image Credit: 20th Century-Fox.

Carrie Fisher was an iconic figure of the 1980s, best known for her legendary portrayal of Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise. Her wit, humor, and unapologetic honesty about her struggles with mental health and addiction made her a role model and inspiration for many.

24. Janet Jackson

For Colored Girls Janet Jackson
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Starting with two unimpressive albums, Janet took over her career and cultivated her voice and style. From there, she locked down show-stopping performances with her electrifying dance moves. Her music was a cultural phenomenon.

25. Naomi Campbell

I Feel Pretty Naomi Campbell
Image Credit: STX Entertainment.

When you think of an iconic supermodel, Naomi Campbell is the first name that comes to mind. Her fierce runway presence, iconic style, and heart-stopping looks made her a fashion and beauty symbol for young girls of color.

Boloere Divine Seibidor, fondly called B.S., is a Nigerian-based writer and poet. Her favorite topics include music, especially Hip-Hop, film, lifestyle, and fashion. She's been published by Feral Journal, Fantasy Magazine, The Temz Review, and most notably, Wealth of Geeks. She enjoys romantic dinners, movie nights, and touring new sights. When she's not writing, she's delving back in time to the underground world of Hip-Hop, watching TikTok, or visiting the cinema.