The 80s were a time of neon lights and huge hairstyles on larger-than-life personalities. 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.
While we might not be able to replicate the fashion of the era without cringing, we can still appreciate the individuals who led the women's revolution. Here are 25 icons from the period which set the bar for brains, beauty, and boldness.
1. Whitney Houston
We will always love Whitney Houston; she was all the woman we needed. Dominating 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 was a fashion icon, humanitarian, trailblazer, and absolute royalty. She captured the heart and attention of the world with her smile (and shoulder pads). In her passing, the world mourned as one only could the death of an icon.
Princess Diana might have been royalty, but Madonna was the queen. She was a true trendsetter no matter what venture she went into. Her fashion, music, and boundary-pushing attitude will always be iconic. Please find me a guy who didn't have a crush on her.
4. Celine Dion
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 Lynn Williams
Despite facing discrimination early in her career, Williams broke barriers as the first Black woman to be crowned Miss America in 1983.
She also made history as the first African American actress to receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Television Drama Series for her role in A Horseman in the Sky.
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
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 mindbogglingly beautiful, she was a figure for young girls and women worldwide.
8. Heather Locklear
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
Femme fatales have always existed, but none are as timeless as Kim Basinger. Kim Basinger was a symbol of female possibility with a voice that could melt the heart of kings and a sultry look that shook up the silver screen.
10. Kathleen Turner
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 free men jealous.
11. Goldie Hawn
We all loved Marilyn Monroe, but Goldie Hawn filled the void left in our hearts. The bubbly blonde was a bombshell that put a smile on our faces with her cheerful laugh and killer comedy that set the tone for countless female comedies.
12. Dolly Parton
America's sweetheart, need I say more? The queen of country music made her way into our homes and mouths with her beautiful music. Her infectious spirit and generous personality continue to inspire to this day.
13. Tina Turner
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
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
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
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
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
You probably know her as Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City. Her portrayal of the fashion-forward and romantic columnist made her a style and feminist icon for a generation.
19. Phoebe Cates
Although she took a step away from acting to focus on family, her work makes Phoebe Cates a beloved icon of the decade. Her iconic performances in films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Gremlins pushed her into the Hall of Fame forever.
20. Sigourney Weaver
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? Weaver is one of the hardest-working women in Hollywood.
21. Olivia Newton-John
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 can't she do?
22. Michelle Pfeiffer
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. Bruno Mars wasn't joking when he called her “white gold.”
23. Carrie Fisher
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
Starting with two unimpressive albums, Janet took over her career and created 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
When you think of a black 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.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Boloere Seibidor, fondly called B.S. is a Nigerian-based writer and poet. Her favorite topics to cover 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 sites. When she's not writing, she's delving back in time to the underground world of Hip-Hop, watching TikTok, or visiting the cinema.