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7 Celebrities Who Are Great Role Models for Our Girls

Photograph by UN Photo/Mark Garten

So often I’ll see a female celebrity (you know which ones) behaving badly and think to myself, “Wow, she is just a horrible role model for the youth of today.” Now, I know that being a role model is not what they signed up for when they started their career as a singer, actress or model. But like it or not, this is part of the job, and one of the MOST important parts at that.

As a mother of a young girl, I am not just trying to live my life to be a good example to my daughter, but I want to expose her to women who are really calling for positive change not just through their actions but also through their attention to matters that, well, matter. Although our list of celebrity role models is a short one, we have a new and impressive addition.

Over the weekend Emma Watson, aka Hermione Granger of the "Harry Potter" films, made a speech at a United Nations event in her role as the Goodwill Ambassador for U.N. Women.

RELATED: Great Celebrity Teen Role Models

She was there to promote a new campaign called HeForShe, which aims to encourage men to be active participants in the global initiative to stopping violence against women. In her speech she stated:

"My recent research has shown me that 'feminism' has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists ... Why has the word become such an unpopular one?

I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that affect my life. I think it is right that, socially, I am afforded the same respect as men."

Amen, sister!

She also made a call to action saying:

“In my nervousness for this speech and my moment of doubt, I told myself firmly: If not me, who? If not now, when? ... I invite you to step forward, to be seen and ask yourself: If not me, who? If not now, when?"

These are words our daughters, all our daughters, need to hear.

My 8-year-old may know who Emma Watson is, but she only knows her for her role in the Harry Potter films. Now it is my duty to properly introduce her to not just Emma Watson the actress but Emma Watson the woman.

This got me thinking, what other celebrities are out there filling the shoes of role model in a beautiful and honest way? Here are six that our girls should know about, not their entertainment per se, but for the other ways they contribute and inspire.

1. Tina Fey

Photograph by Rex / Rex USA

Author, Producer, Mother and Comic

"So, my unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this," she wrote in her best-selling book "Bossypants." "When faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism, or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: 'Is this person in between me and what I want to do?' If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you're in charge, don't hire the people who were jerky to you." — via SheKnows

Yup, Tina Fey is a trailblazer, a smart cookie and a mom—and hilarious. Pretty much the best combo ever.

2. Amy Poehler

Photograph by Rex / Rex USA

Author, Producer, Mother, Comic, Co-founder of Smart Girls at the Party and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls

“Girls have to fight against a lot of the same stuff we did growing up,” she said about her Web series and site Smart Girls at the Party. “Peer pressure, exploitation, etc. But what worries me the most is this trend that caring about something isn't cool. That it's better to comment on something than to commit to it. That it's so much cooler to be unmotivated and indifferent. Our culture can get so snarky and ironic sometimes and we kind of wanted Smart Girls to celebrate the opposite of that.” — via Feminist.com

Amy takes her fame (and humor) and created a site that "celebrates extraordinary girls who are changing the world by being themselves." She isn’t just a role model for her accomplishments but actually shares a role-model agenda with celebrating all sort of awesomeness.

3. Taylor Swift

Photograph by Instagram

Singer/Songwriter, Named the most charitable celebrity of 2013 by the nonprofit DoSomething.org

“I’m not uncomfortable with it,” she explains about being a role model to young girls. “You have to be conscious of that. If you’re choosing to put out music and be out there in the public, you have to be conscious of the fact that you are a part of the raising of the next generation and you do have an impact on that. So, choose your outfits and your words and your actions carefully. I think it matters. I think it really does. You can pretend it doesn’t, but it does.” — via Taste of Country

I love how, at such a young age, Taylor Swift totally gets it. Especially since a major part of her fan base are young girls and teens. She doesn’t have any “scandals,” and we haven’t seen her have behaving badly like so many of her peers in the music industry. Plus, she rocks.

4. Jessica Alba

Photograph by Instagram

Actress, Mother and Co-Founder of Honest Company

"When I was first auditioning, I had to work hard to win roles and overcome a lot of rejection. I’m Hispanic and looked a little different, which made it more difficult to get accepted. But I didn’t let that affect me. I learned to fight for what I wanted in life, to stand up for myself and not take crap from anyone. That experience made me stronger."

Jessica Alba doesn’t just stand up for herself these days, but she also stands up for families everywhere with her Honest Company line of family-friendly products. She saw a need, thought of a solution and a company (a hugely successful company) was born.

5. Angelina Jolie

Photograph by Getty Images

Actress, Director, Mother and Humanitarian

Angelina Jolie is even a role model for OTHER role models.

"My role model is Angelina Jolie,” Jessica Alba said. "She's so beautiful and has an incredible career. People talk more about her film career and her humanitarian work than about her looks."

Angelina Jolie may be pretty, but that really is the least of her positive qualities. She has been on field missions to refugee camps in over 30 countries, including such locales as Lebanon, Darfur, Sudan and Congo. Jolie has also started foundations to help those in need like the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation (in Cambodia), the Maddox Chivan Children's Center (also in Cambodia), the Jolie-Pitt Foundation (which aids humanitarian causes worldwide) and she opened an all-girls school in Afghanistan. She does all that, with a fulfilling career, while raising a large family (admittedly with a lot of help). She isn’t just a role model for our girls but for us all.

RELATED: 10 Reasons Why Angelina Jolie Should Be My Mom BFF

6. Kristen Bell

Photograph by Getty Images

Actress, Mother

“I like her so much. She’s me!” Kristen Bell said of Anna. “She’s who I wanted to see. She’s really who I, as a little girl, wanted on the screen for me. Someone who was goofy and bizarre and makes silly and dorky decisions, just like I did."

"I’m excited that this will be a movie my daughter will see and that it’s modernized,” she added about her daughter Lincoln. “In case she’s as goofy as I was when I was a kid, she’ll be able to have someone to look up to.”

It’s someone soooo many girls look up to. Kristen Bell really was thrust into all our daughter’s worlds when she took on that role in "Frozen." And while our kids may not know the name Kristen Bell, they certainly know her work.

Kristen dedicates her spare time to her charity work including Invisible Children, charity:water, Red Cross and the Alzheimer’s Association. She has also been very involved in trying to get protections for the children of celebrities, and while this isn’t something that affects us all, it is a worthy mission.

Who do you think are the best celebrity role models for our girls?

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