Josie Maran's heroes who are changing the world
Mary Alice Onyura
I met Mary Alice through the Imagine Initiative which works for the empowerment of women in disenfranchised nations -a cause that's near and dear to me. Mary Alice is from Kenya, and she works with women in the slums of Nairobi, sharing the tools that can lift them and their families and communities out of poverty. She is the Josie Maran Model Citizen for 2014 and the recipient of a $25,000 award to help further the incredible work she does.
I was a little kid when Madonna burst onto the scene, and she inspired me from the minute I saw her on TV. She was, and is, so totally gutsy and brave and brilliant, and she seems unafraid to do things no one has ever done, even when it makes people mad or uncomfortable. She does a million things and she does them all really well. Most of all I love her because she's "full of herself" in the best possible way-she claims her power and she flaunts it.
Diane von Furstenberg
When I was starting Josie Maran Cosmetics, I needed a mentor-someone I looked up to who could give me tips and encouragement and the courage to keep going even when it all seemed impossible. I thought of Diane von Furnstenberg because I so admired the way her wrap dress revolutionized fashion. It looked great on women of all ages and body types-and it was easy to take off in a hurry for any reason! I contacted DVF and she was incredibly generous in giving me exactly the support and brilliance I needed.
Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta
The two of them started the first labor union for farmworkers. They not only fought for farmworkers' rights but all civil rights, and they did it nonviolently. The real reason they're my heroes, though, is that my parents met on a United Farm Worker's picket line-and I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that picket line!
Since I was born, my grandma, Rita Maran, has been an inspiration and a mentor for me. She's a PhD in human rights and at 85 she's still fighting the good fight, running a human rights organization and volunteering all over the world. I hope I have half her spirit and energy when I'm her age!