15 Characters That Inspired Me. How About You?

The other day my friend Lynn sent me a Facebook message entitled, “15 Characters.” I usually never get around to Memes and Quizzes but I really liked this one. Here’s the deal, you pick the fifteen fictional characters (television, films, plays, books) who’ve influenced you the most—you know, the ones that will always stick with you. Don’t take too long to think about it! Just write ’em down. It’s pretty cool to see what characters your friends love and were influenced by. I especially loved seeing the difference between what my guy friends and girl friends listed. SOOOoooo let’s play a little game shall we? I’ll tell you my 15 and you tell me yours! Here are mine. I have to warn you, my picks are not very high-brow….but they’re all very “me”. Let’s go!

1. Nancy Drew, Mystery of the Secret Clock.

When I was in second grade I discovered Nancy Drew, girl detective. I would go to our public library and walk away with stacks of her books. I’ve always loved mysteries and Nancy really started it all.

2. Claudia Kincaid, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

Another book from my childhood and one I adore. The heroine, young Claudia, decides to run away from home because she doesn’t think her parents appreciate her. She and her younger brother Jamie sneak into the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City where they “live”  for several weeks. How cool is that?? It’s also a mystery story and I loooooved Claudia’s spunk and tenaciousness.

3. Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz.

I don’t think I even need to go into detail here. The braids. The sparkling shoes. The dog. One of my all time favorite movies. Ever.

4. Scarlett O’Hara, Gone With the Wind.

Did you know that Gone With the Wind was released the same year as The Wizard of Oz? WHAT a year for movies. I looooooved the book. And I loooooved the movie.  I was obsessed with Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara. She was brilliant—so gorgeously perfect. Scarlett as a character was amazing: feisty, fabulous and most definitely a fighter. AND she did it all in a hoop skirt.

5. Lynda Carter, Wonder Woman.

When I was a little girl in the 1970s almost all the fabulous famous ladies were blondes. But not Wonder Woman. She had magic powers. She drove an invisible plane. But most importantly, she was a brunette! What’s not to love?? And I can’t lie, she wore a hot satin little leotard and I thought she was THE COOLEST.

6. Princess Leia, Star Wars.

Oh Leia, Leia, Leia. Sorry Cinderella and Jasmine….THIS is the Princess for me. I loved her wit. I loved her sass. And she could tote a laser with the best of ’em. “Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?” Sorry Chewie….When I saw Star Wars back in the day as a little kiddo I was blown away. And Leia rocked my world. She was the first bas ass princess I’d ever seen and I was hooked.

7. Helen Keller, The Miracle Worker.

I know she’s a real life person….but in fourth grade I read a biography on Helen was very affected by it. Later on in high school I was part of a really amazing production of The Miracle Worker (as Annie Sullivan) and again I was profoundly affected by the power of Helen’s positive spirit.

8. Samantha Baker, Sixteen Candles.

I love all the John Hughes films and it was a toss up between Sixteen Candles and the Breakfast Club for me to add to this list. But as far as characters go, I loved Samantha Baker. She was such a great “every teen” … funny, snarky, quirky. AND she gets the guy. To this day I think Jake Ryan is quite possibly one of the hottest guy characters in any teen movie.

9. Sandy, Grease. 

OK. I have to admit. I was kind of a Little Mary Sunshine in high school. Not in a cloying, goody-goody way. But I def wasn’t a rebel….so it should come as no surprise that I thought Sandy was adorable. I totally loved her transformation to slightly-slutty sex pot at the end (hey, even goody goody’s like to vamp it up some time too, right??).

10. Maria, The Sound of Music.

Optimistic! Silly! Kind! Nobody has a joie de vivre like Maria von Trapp. Just think if SHE had a blog (“The other day the kids and I set did a marionette show! It was fantastic. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my tutorial on How To Make Play Clothes Out of Curtains!”). Nobody solves a problem like Maria and nobody sings with more joy. I so love this movie….my mother loves it too and we always watched it together. This movie will always hold a special place in my heart!

11. Indiana Jones, Raider’s of the Lost Ark.

OK, I totally had a crush on this swash bucklin’ hero BUT I also loved his spirit….he was brave but he wasn’t super human. (“Snakes….why did it have to be snakes??”) Indy was handsome but smart and had a great sense of humor…..I swear he’s why I decided to become an Anthropology major.

12. Ripley, Aliens.

Strong. Bad ass. With a mama gorilla mother-instinct. Yup. I love Ripley. I’d like to point out this is another of my mom’s favorite movies. My mom rules.

13. Miette, City of Lost Children.

This lush dark French movie is fantastic….I really love spacey futuristic stories and this one is like a twisted fairytale. At the center of it is a young orphan girl named Miette who leads a gang of street children. She is like an iron doe….wide-eyed and sweet yet totally a fighter. I used to wear stripey shirts and jumper dresses….I have brown curly hair and a beauty mark on the left side of my chin. I saw this movie and thought, “It’s me!!!!” (Well, if I was reeeeeeeeeallly pretty, an orphan and lived in a futuristic land taken over by an evil guy who is trying to rob children of their dreaam…..so, you know, kinda close.) Rent it. It’s amazing.

14. Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City.

This seems a tad frivolous and possibly expected, but you know what? I can’t lie. I loved Miss Carrie. I’ve always loved fashion but I was never the “sexy” one. Or the “put together” one. I was the bright/crazy/colorful/somewhat impractical one. And Carrie spoke to me.  I loved seeing Carrie week after week….with her girls, looking fabulous, living it up. She was witty, smart, stylish. She was a writer and career girl. It sounds cliche, but she really made it cool to be single and fabulous and in yer 30s. AND she made it cool to have CURLY HAIR! Whoo hoo!

15. Amélie, Amélie.

I have always been a “glass half full” kinda gal. When life hands me lemons, I make strawberry lemonade. Or add vodka and make a cocktail. Ahem. So it should come as no surprise that my last inspiration is Amélie Poulain. This is another movie that left me dancing out of the movie theater. Amélie is a pixie of a girl who decides to change the lives of those around her for the better. The movie is a celebration of life, with optimistic Amélie reminding us of the small wonders that fill the world around us — if we’d only slow down to take them all in.

So there you have it. It was actually really hard to pick only 15. I kept thinking of more (Mary Poppins! Hermione & Harry Potter! Eliza Dolittle!) but these are my 15 and I’m stickin’ with ’em. OK, your turn! What are your 15 Favorite Characters?? They can be recent, from childhood. Whatever! Just list ’em in the comments below. And if you’re feeling more ambitious, post it on your blog with pix and then link in the comments below!

23 thoughts on “15 Characters That Inspired Me. How About You?

  1. I just blogged about creating a Things That Annoy Me List, or else I’d totally blog this!

    In no particular order:

    1. Maria, Sound of Music
    2. Belle, Beauty and the Beast
    3. Scout, To Kill a Mockingbird
    4. Annie, Annie
    5. Kermit, The Muppet Movie
    6. Ramona, Beezus and Ramona
    7. Sally J. Freedman, Sally J. Freedman as Herself
    8. Rose, the Sandman graphic novel series
    9. Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    10. Sam, Life on Mars (BBC)
    11. Ripley, Aliens (good call, Alix!)
    12. The Tenth Doctor, Dr. Who
    13. Astrid, White Oleander
    14. Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter series
    15. Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty (OK, she’s not really inspiring, but she’s so fricking badass that I had to put her on the list.)

  2. I wrote #1-7 without even thinking, and realized they all have the “I HAVE BIG DREAMS! Bigger than this convent/provincial town/orphanage/swamp/family could dream!” philosophy. Growing up in rural PA has that effect!

  3. i am pretty much just going to sit before my bookshelves for this one. in no specific order:

    1. betsy ray from the betsy, tacy and tib series
    2. anne from anne of green gables
    3. jo from little women
    4. ramona quimby, especially age 8.
    5. nosy nora from the rosemary wells book
    6. betsy from the carolyn haywood betsy books (guess i could have been called betsy)
    7. ronia from astrid lindgren’s ronia the robber’s daughter
    8. pippi longstocking
    9. blythe
    10. laura ingals
    11. nellie olson
    12. jackie burkhart: that 70s show
    13. winona ryder in the movie mermaids
    14. foofa from yo gabba gabba (ok, this one is as an adult but…i like picking flowers cuz that’s what i like to do)
    15. mildred hubble from the worst witch book series
    16. hermoine granger.

    i did 16. see, i am a rule breaker.

    1. Oooh some good ones!!!
      (i mean they are all good but I don’t know them all!)

      Hermione/Harry were ones that almost made my list!

      Can i tell you that at first i thought Jackie Burkhart was Jacquie (JACK-KAY) from 227??? hahaha.

    2. I almost listed Betsy Ray in my list too! Which will be coming out shortly. I loved those books!

      I also love Petrovia from Ballet Shoes. OH Alix–we need to do a post on the books that inspired us!

      I love me some Nellie Olson–her fashion was pure genius!


    1. Aw I’m so glad you love Claudia Kincaid too! Lady, I have been soo soooo sick the last three days. Like, feverish and bedridden. I’m so sorry to miss the MCM Potluck!!!! I was really looking forward to it. Maybe we can squeeze in a ladie’s drink nite before xmas???

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