In America, we love to apply the word “icon” to people who sort of serve as symbols or are symbolic of something much larger than themselves, and are representative of an ideal that we, as individuals, hope to achieve in life. It's almost as if these people are idols. Almost.
A better way to explain our usage of this term would be by sharing my first time hearing it applied to a well-known figure. My first time hearing the word used was a report where people were speaking of Lee Iacocca. What did this man do to have people call him an “icon”? He's an American businessman, in the automobile industry, who (based on my recollection of events) brought the Chrysler Corporation back to life. Evidently, because of his prowess as a business warrior, he stepped up, took the helm as CEO of ailing and failing business entity, revived it and steered to success. For accomplishing this impossible feat, people showered praises on him as if he were a god of the American automotive industry.
As time passed, the word “icon” started popping up everywhere and is especially used for entertainers, such as, Madonna. Why is she an icon? “Madonna could be considered one of the most successful women of all time.” (Quote source: Madonna: Icon (and Single Working Mother with Custody Issues) | The Huffington Post)
Another example? Beyoncé was selected as the 2016 CFDA Fashion Icon. (CFDA = Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc.)
Once read an article published at Listverse.com about Hollywood suicides. The full title of the article is “10 Iconic Actresses Who Tragically Ended Their Lives”. After reviewing the list of female celebrities, the facts presented about their deaths were indeed tragic, but describing the actresses as “iconic” kind of made me bristle. It didn't seem to jive with other people in the entertainment industry who were being described as “iconic”.
So! Decided to compile my own list of actresses who should be considered “iconic”. Nixed the requirement that that they had to have committed suicide.
Hmmm …? Now where would be the best place to start to find those sort of people very quickly? The iconic Life Magazine. Of course!
Here's my list of ten (10) female iconic celebrities (not all are actresses, but they are famous or recognizable). The parenthetical notes are my rationale or reasons why these women measure up to the criteria that sets them apart as icons.
1. Shirley Temple (Child star, Goodwill Ambassador. She's an icon! No debate!)
2. Audrey Hepburn (Actress, Humanitarian ~ elegant, classy, possible!)
"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!"
- Audrey Hepburn
3. Hillary Clinton (See photo of her years at Wellesley, 1969 ~ on her way)
4. Jackie Kennedy (Before she married Onassis; born to serve as FLOTUS.)
5. Dorothy Dandridge (aka “Carmen”)
6. Sophia Loren (If only we could all wear spaghetti like her.)
“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.”
- Sophia Loren
7. Katherine Hepburn ("Really darling?" Yes Ms. K. You really are darling!)
8. Ella Fitzgerald (Jazz is to icon as icon is to jazz.)
9. Lucille Ball (Who could not love Lucy?)
10. Ingrid Bergman (Can't think of a word for her, except ... Indescribable!)
* Hepburn and Loren Quote Sources found at BrainyQuote.com
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