Who do you look up to?

Role models don’t necessarily have to walk red carpets or lead countries. In fact, they don’t need to be famous at all. 

There is no doubt that the role models we choose significantly impact our lives. At their best, they can inspire us to grow, to learn and to be better human beings. They can show us that something is possible. At worst, they can compel us to take self-defeating actions, to empty our wallets, numb our brains and cling hopelessly to unhealthy habits and ideas.

When we look at some of the world most powerful women its hard not to ask how did they get there – and who inspired them? Quite aside from the influence of world politics, celebrity and the media, it remains true that the women who share the most intimate parts of our lives have real potential to influence us most. In fact, when I sat down to write this, it dawned on me that the three women whom I consider my role models are anything but strangers…

To read more purchase the latest October issue of Madison. (Pages 76-78)

Who do you look up to?

Your mum? Your first teacher? A friend? Tell us below.


  1. Karla

    I look up to my Nan, she is 84 strong minded woman who raised five kids, actively helped raise 9 grandkids and has just taken on helping raise her great grandson as well. But when someone asks me “Who is your role model?” I say Tara Moss.

    Why? Because I don’t aspire to have 5 kids like my Nan did, I aspire to be a published author. I also wish I had Tara’s height & looks so I could have perused a modeling career and be able to say I appeared on the cover of playboy!

    I have met Tara, although only briefly at a book signing. As I watched her talk about her research for her Mak adventures, I thought wow, she is one tough cookie! Not only is Tara a beautiful woman with brains, but she challenges herself to learn new things and acquire firsthand experience in the name of research for her writing. I also admire her articulation in debates and discussions on the TV circuit of late, as well as her ambassador work for breast feeding.

  2. Anthea

    It is true I have many role models who are not famous who play a huge part in my life.

    I would like to congratulate you though Tara as I view you as a brilliant role model in your role as a breast feeding ambassador. There were very few people in my Mothers Group Breastfeeding at the 6 month mark (in line with your statistics) and it really did help to think ‘hey Tara Moss is Breastfeeding’. I was surprised at the impact it had on me and that it validated what I was doing continuing to breast feed. So thank you for your hard work and insightful commentary.

  3. I have had a number of role models over the years. The cricketer, Dennis Lilliee, was my absolutely idol in my teens and in many respects he still is a major hero of mine. And while still much younger and even more foolish than I am now, he was a role model – not for his histrionics on the ground at times but for his consistent endeavour, never say die attitude. When I charged in, opening the bowling for my team, I sought to have the same attitude. Now I have other role models. The Irish gymnast, Keiran Byrne is one – condemned ‘permanently’ to a wheelchair twice in his life, he still came back to become an international gymnast. There is a role model for fighting against the odds (see the last issue of The Big Issue for my article about him)

    Then there are behavioural role models. Tara, you’re one – always eloquent and considered in your pursuit of various things that are for overall good (whereas I tend to lash out). Someone I worked with is another, having impressed on me to always think of a bigger picture (not that I always succeed in doing so).

    There are also anti-models – examples of how not to do things. I include myself in that – the still-drinking Ross was not nice. And one of my early workplace supervisors whose reaction to anything that he didn’t like was to start shouting and screaming at people.

    Now fast approaching 50, I like to try and learn from all sorts of people, emulating the positive (or at least attempting to).

  4. Tara Moss

    Thank you Karla, Anthea and Ross. It is wonderful to hear your influences were so strong. And thanks for the support, too x