1. Pina Bausch
I always say that before my husband [Marco Perego], I'd never really been in love. But that's not true, because my first love was ballet. Pina's performances have intelligence and curiosity that push the boundaries of dance. Start by watching "Rite of Spring" or "Trust"—they're on YouTube.
2. Julie Hanna
Entrepreneur and chair of Kiva
Julie is an Egyptian refugee and a survivor of war. She was full of hope when she came to the U.S., only to find that immigrants face different challenges. So she sought out groups that help, like the micro-finance organization Kiva. Her story and her passion really moved me when we met.
3. Mary Oliver
A friend introduced me to her work, and I'm so thankful because "The Journey" is a poem I read whenever I'm doubting myself. I read it and think, I will dare myself to want more because I deserve more.
4. Frida Kahlo
I love her self-portraits and the way she used to see herself as two different people—the internal and the external Frida. And I admire how honest she was about both personalities. Her womanhood was timeless. God, she's my favorite!
5. Gertrude Stein
Besides being a successful writer in her own right, Stein challenged and enabled some of the greatest artists of the twenties and thirties—people from Picasso to Hemingway—with her Paris salon. I love how confident she was.
6. Oprah Winfrey
TV host and executive producer
Every time I see Oprah, I just hug her and close my eyes. One day someone's gonna be like, "Get that woman away from Oprah." But I love the Oprah idea of, Make a list. Have a goal. Throw it out there in the universe. It will bounce back at you.
7. Diana Vreeland
When I saw the documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, I just thought, She's fabulous! She oozed culture, and she made the absolute most out of her life. And it was a very beautiful life!
8. Eleanor Roosevelt
I mean, the greater of the two Roosevelts—everybody knows it. One of my favorite quotes of hers: "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face."
9. Marian Anderson
Marian was the first black opera singer to perform at the Met, and she had a voice that would make you cry. It was Eleanor Roosevelt, actually, who helped arrange for Marian to sing at the Lincoln Memorial after the Daughters of the American Revolution turned her away because of her race. (Find that historic performance on YouTube.) She inspires me to be a better artist. She needs to live on.
10. Argentina Cassé
She emigrated from the Dominican Republic to New York in the sixties, and worked in a sewing factory downtown. Then she helped raise my sisters and me to be tough, loving women. She's the most unassuming queen.
Photos: Getty Images
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