10 Fictional New York Women We All Aspire To Be
What is it about TV shows that raise a flag in our memory? Is a symbol of a time lost or a time found? Whatever the case may be, there are certain television moments and TV characters that have a strong hold over viewers, and for me, there has always been something about the New York woman that has been utterly captivating.
I have fond memories of New York and the female characters that existed within them. The way Betty Suarez entered the sleek Mode offices with beams of optimism and an even brighter ‘Guadalajara’ poncho, and how Serena Van Der Woodsen made her subtle yet grand return to NYC via Grand Central Terminal. The women of New York — Upper East Siders to Brooklynites, fun-loving gals to college nerds — encapsulated many elements that myself and other women admire, helping shape teen and young adult years across the world. Each of these television heroines had the inner spirit of New York within them: naughty but nice, and a standout personality which is a must have to make it in the concrete jungle.
From 2 Broke Girls to Broad City, Gossip Girl to Empire, we acknowledge ten awesome fictional women of New York who loved, lost, and continue to find themselves in possibly the best city in the world, shopping their way across Fifth Ave. and kicking ass in pretty much every other borough.
1. Blair Waldorf (Gossip Girl)
This list could only begin with the one and only ‘Queen B’ of New York City. You know, the one who walks around with a bow in her hair and a particularly loyal maid called Dorota. Blair Waldorf, played by Leighton Meester, was the teen dream and nightmare after our own hearts, as she brilliantly plotted and schemed her way through six seasons of Gossip Girl. But beyond Blair’s ‘mean girl’ exterior, she had a depth to her that was shaped by many different experiences.
From bulimia, that tumultuous-yet-epic relationship with Chuck Bass, her inferiority complex to Serena (don’t kill me Blair fans) and a well-documented obsession to be the best, all of those traits are relatable. We too have our moments of insecurity and a desire to be great at almost everything. But these qualities were part of Blair’s charm, especially as we watched her blossom over the years into a powerful woman with high standards and a killer wardrobe to boot.
2. Betty Suarez (Ugly Betty)
In the flashy, fast-paced world of fashion, where you must know your turquoise from your cerulean (see: The Devil Wears Prada), Betty Suarez was the opposite of the stereotypical fashion journalist and embodies the saying, “it’s what’s inside that counts.” Her character was a fish out of water — with her thick matted hair, glasses and gridlock braces — but most importantly, Betty had an incredible work ethic that eventually led her to a dream job in London. Ugly Betty broke boundaries, shattered fashion stereotypes, and for that, Betty’s journey makes her one of the best fictional women of NY.
3,4,5,6. Hannah, Shoshanna, Jessa & Marnie (Girls)
When it comes to Girls, you really can’t talk about just one. Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna and Jessa all have different characteristics that make up the 21st century New York girl: The inner free spirit that Jessa portrays, to the moments of neuroticism personified in Shosh, the self-absorption and confusion of Hannah, and the Ms. Perfect Girl Gone Bad of Marnie. Each of their personalities and their faults make moments that the typical cosmopolitan twenty-something girl goes through, and can relate to in the past, present, and future.
7. Ilana Wexler (Broad City)
Ilana Wexler is my hipster heroine — a fully-realized character who enjoys sex, weed, pop culture and just having fun. She embraces her lifestyle without feeling the need to ‘do better,’ and is content to bask in her world of chill. If only we could all be a little less neurotic, and a little more like Ilana.
8. Cookie Lyon (Empire)
New girl on the TV block is the vivacious character Cookie Lyon, played by Taraj P. Henson. The musical drama has been making strides across the board, from record-breaking viewing figures to addressing homophobia in the African-American community, and Cookie is right at the center of it all, kicking ass and taking names.
9. Max Black (Two Broke Girls)
Max Black is a wisecracker after my own heart. Each joke, each anecdote, each sarcastic saying is just another layer to Max’s awesome character and exterior. The reluctant Brooklyn gal — who relishes every element of her hipster surroundings — is played by the talented Kat Dennings, and even in her role as the ‘pessimistic’ one to her perky BFF Caroline, she shines bright in this offbeat comedy.
10. Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and The City)
No list is complete without mentioning the OG New Yorker: Carrie Bradshaw. She went through all the motions of being a woman in New York: The ups and downs of being a writer, almost-married life and much more. Her journey of self realization is something many of us can relate to, and the show allowed us to fall in love with the city of New York as much as we did with Carrie and the rest of the SATC girls.
May the city that never sleeps continue to inspire and create more awesome women — both in the fictional world and in reality.