1. J.K. Rowling
When she began writing the Harry Potter series, and submitted the first three chapters to twelve different publishing companies, they all rejected her manuscript. She thought of herself as a failure, and began to seriously question her work. She was losing her confidence and her drive. Thank God she contacted that thirteenth company, because if she didn't, the world would have no Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling is the epitome of why you should never give up. No matter how many times you hear the word "No", don't let it hurt your confidence. You might be just one step away from hearing that "Yes."
2. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah was born when her mother was just a teenager, and they battled through poverty together. While growing up, Oprah was sexually abused by several male relatives while her mother was at work, and when she tried to run away from home, she was sent to a juvenile detention center. The center could not accept her though, because all their beds were filled. By the age of fourteen she had left home and was out on her own, but became pregnant. When the baby died during infancy, she was sent to live with her father, who set strict rules for her to live by. It was in that environment that she began to flourish. She became an honor student, won the Miss Black Tennessee Beauty Pageant, and was offered a job at WVOL, a radio station in Nashville. It was that job that sparked her career as a reporter. In 1976 she moved to Baltimore to join WJZ-TV News as a co-anchor. In 1984 she was invited to Chicago to host a morning program on WLS-TV, and the rest is history.
3. Ina Garten
She was a nuclear budget analyst at the White House with a passion for cooking, but no professional chef experience. Her lack of experience did not stop her from making an offer to buy Barefoot Contessa, a specialty food store in Westhampton, New York. She had never run a business, and in an article in The New York Times, she says she "didn't know how to slice smoked salmon, and didn't know how to chose brie." The Barefoot Contessa gained popularity amongst the locals in Westhampton, and was noticed by Martha Stewart. Ina later sold the store and used the money to tackle a new dream--writing her own cookbooks. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook was published in 1999, and since then, Ina has written seven more. She was noticed by the Food Network, and now we all know her as the Barefoot Contessa host.
4. Barbara Walters
In the 1960s, women did not have a variety of jobs. Many women stayed home with their children, or had some kind of secretarial job. So becoming part of TV journalism as a woman was basically impossible--yet, Barbara Walters made the impossible, possible. She worked her way up from the very bottom, beginning her career by doing the "fluff" interviews that NBC assigned her. In 1963 she was hired as a temporary replacement for a woman writer for thirteen weeks, and ended up staying for thirteen years. In 1976, ABC hired her to be the first woman ever to co-host the evening news, and the rest is history.
5. Marlo Thomas
This award-winning actress changed the world of American entertainment. Marlo struggled as an actress for years, going to auditions and getting minor roles that weren't doing anything for her career. She didn't want to play the role of someone's wife, or someone's mother, or someone's daughter, she wanted to play the main role in a television series. When she was noticed by ABC programming executives after appearing in a pilot for the sitcom Two's Company, she told them the role she dreamed to play. Her idea was something that had never been done before, so the network cautiously pursued her request. As soon as That Girl aired in 1966, it became a major hit. Marlo received fan mail from woman across the country, telling her how inspired they were to see an independent woman on television. The show won a Golden Globe, and Marlo was nominated for three Golden Globes, and was awarded one for best female TV star.