Felicity Smoak, Phoebe Buffay and Princess Leia Among THR’s 50 Favourite Female Characters


Photos: The CW, Warner Bros, Lucasfilm

Females are strong as hell. That’s not only something that the Kimmy Schmidt’s title song is trying to pass on to the current generation of Netflix-bingers, but something that many women have taken on as their personal motto in life.

We would like to believe that over the last century of moving images women have come to represent just that. Strength, power, independence. Women come in all shapes and forms, and to honor all the wonderful female characters that TV and Film have graced us with TheHollywoodReporter has compiled a list of the most influential female characters in history.

THR’s latest poll had questioned industry professionals – men and women – on who their favorite fictional women were. The results were ranging from Hollywood classics such as Scarlet O’Hara, who scored at number 37, or Breakfast at Tiffany’s Holly Golightly (39) to the world’s latest obsessions such as Eleven (Stranger Things), who landed at number 31, or the tough as nails superhero Jessica Jones (28).

The list further included not just one, but all three women of the 90s fan-favorit sitcom Friends, proving what a truly significant effect the show had on the comedy genre, as well as on television itself. Monica Geller landed at number 47, Rachel Green at 29 and Phoebe Buffay at 11.

The Top 10 of Hollywood’s favorite fictional women is, among others, made of Elle Woods (9), the badass lawyer with a love for pink and everything feminine, as well as Leslie Knope (7), the fierce and ambitious government worker and caring friend, and Miranda Priestley (4), the powerful business woman we all aspire to be one day.


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The Top 3 is truly a reflection of both film and TV franchises that have changed the way we have viewed women and girls throughout the years. In third place the industry placed Buffy Summers, a girly vampire slayer that could easily take down any of her male enemies in hand-to-hand combat. “Buffy balanced the horrors of adolescence with the horrors of the Hellmouth, which made her extremely relatable,” so Sarah Michelle Gellar, who portrayed the character throughout the series’ seven seasons.

In second place we find a character that influenced not only the film industry in general, but truly redefined a woman’s role in the science fiction genre: Princess Leia, portrayed by the incredible Carrie Fisher. “I was something women and men could agree on,” so Fisher on the relatability of Leia. “They didn’t like me in the same way, but they liked me with the same intensity, and we were all fine with the other sex liking me, too. Isn’t that weird?”

The character that tops off the list is a young girl, smarter and more curious than any girl had been before. Hermione Granger changed the lives of many young girls when she first emerged from the Harry Potter books in 1997. Miss Granger’s claim to fame started with Emma Watson’s portrayal of the girl in the Harry Potter movie franchise.

And the actress perfectly sums up why Hermione had such an impact on the female gender and its representation on the big and small screen. “Hermione made it OK for girls to be the smartest in the room. To be a leader, the one with the plan,” so Watson. “She’s not just a role for me, she’s a symbol. I am deeply proud to have played her.”


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In general smart women, women with wits and a natural curiosity have been highlighted in the poll. We find Arrow’s Felicity Smoak in 15th place, whose adorable babbles and clever insights have resonated with the audience throughout five seasons now.

The same applies to two of Shonda Rhimes’ female heroes. Annaliese Keating (45) and Olivia Pope (17), both women of color and both women who essentially rule the fictional world that Rhimes has created. They are both fiercely strong and incredibly skilled and a force to be reckoned with.

Do yourself a favor and check out the full list of amazing female characters as published by THR. Do you agree with Hollywood’s choices or would you like to see another woman on top?


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