My Favorite Distinguished Women

By Devin Kerns
Distinguished Young Woman of Oklahoma for 2011

I was recently looking through my news app on my phone and was confronted by the shocking mug shot of a girl who I used to look up to—Amanda Bynes.  I was horrified. I have many memories of watching “The Amanda Show” with my friends as a little girl and laughing at the dancing lobsters on the show.  Throughout her career, I could always count on having a truly hilarious time watching Bynes’ movies—“She’s the Man” is my favorite.  She was funny, but in a way that could appeal to girls and guys, which is a rare and intriguing quality in actresses these days.  I never thought I would see her go down a path taken by so many other girls in the limelight—Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, and Mischa Barton have already PAVED that road.

In coping with the misery of the current demise of one of my favorite actresses, I decided to write this blog post and focus on the triumphs of some of the most famous women of our generation—women who truly understand and exemplify what it takes to be distinguished.

Emma Stone is one of the most unique actresses I’ve ever seen.  She was hilarious in Superbad, but really broke out in Easy A, a movie where she portrays a girl who really challenges her high school’s stereotypes (she also was nominated for a Golden Globe for it). The role I really love Emma in, though, is as Eugenia in The Help. She brings a refreshing light to any movie and she is never in news for being anything less than distinguished.

Tina Fey is definitely one of my role models.  Not only was she head writer of Saturday Night Live (Who can forget her hilarious impersonation of Sarah Palin?) but she wrote and co-starred in Mean Girls, THE movie with the best social commentary, albeit exaggerated, on what it is like to be a girl in high school today.  Now she writes and stars in her own TV show called 30 Rock as well.  She also wrote a book about her life (Bossypants). Oh yeah, AND she’s been married to the same man since 2001 and has two daughters.  Who says you can’t have it all?

I love Katie Couric.  She recently gave a lecture at my school, and she is one of the most inspiring women I have ever had the opportunity to see.  I even got the chance to ask her about her work in Miss Representation, a documentary about the exploitation of females in the media. Everyone watched her on Today, and she became the highest-paid news anchor at the CBS Evening News and the only female solo anchor. Now she’s going to begin a talk show under the name Katie. She has also been an inspirational spokeswoman about colon cancer since her late husband passed away because of the disease.  She is truly an exemplar of a successful, independent woman. 
Ever since Taylor Swift exploded on the country music scene when she was 16 to win multiple Grammy’s with her autobiographical pop country, she has been an example that a young woman can be on the top of the world AND stay grounded.  While her relationships are highly publicized, she is known for being intensely real in her songwriting style and staying connected to her fans.  Here’s one of my favorite quotes from her: “For everything I do, I think about a 6-year-old girl and her mom that I saw at my concert last night. I think about what those two individuals would think if I were at a club last night. I never want to be arrested, and I never want to get a DUI, those are my moral values.”

Thanks to and for the info!


Devin Kerns is a college freshman at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas majoring in Communications Studies with a minor in Italian. Originally from Stillwater, Oklahoma, Devin was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Oklahoma for 2011. Learn more about Devin here!
  • Sue Ford

    16th Apr 2012 at 00:09

    Devin, you are truly an excellant example of a “Distinguished Young Woman,” and we are so very proud of you and your example. You do OK proud!

    Sue Ford

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