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Updated by Rajashri Venkatesh on Feb 13, 2017
Headline for 10 Most Inspiring Celebrity Women, 2017
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10 Most Inspiring Celebrity Women, 2017

Angelina Jolie

Glossy, eyes like diamonds, skin like  living alabaster, chiselled cheekbones and with a somewhat sophisticated demeanour, Angelina Jolie is considered to be bizarrely beautiful when compared with her fellow Hollywood contemporaries. Yet beneath the glitz and glamour, Ms Jolie represents the image of celebrity at its most humanising and aware. When she was in her mid 20s and on the set of her 2000 film Tomb Raider, Ms Jolie was filming in Cambodia, one of the poorer countries in Asia where one in eight children dies over the age of five and over 50% of its youth suffer malnutrition. It was here that she developed an understanding of the extreme poverty present in a war torn country, where both genocide and hunger are rampant.

Beyonce Knowles-Carter

All hail her majesty: Queen Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, the ruler of music, fashion and basically life. We could talk forever about our love and admiration for this beautiful angel on earth. So we decided to take our devotion to the next level and dedicate the entire alphabet to everything about Beyoncé that inspires us.

Audrey Hepburn

In her later years, acting took a back seat to her work on behalf of children. She became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF in the late 1980s. Traveling the world, Hepburn tried to raise awareness about children in need. She understood too well what it was like to go hungry from her days in The Netherlands during the German Occupation. Making more than 50 trips, Hepburn visited UNICEF projects in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. She won a special Academy Award for her humanitarian work in 1993, but she did not live long enough to receive it. Hepburn died on January 20, 1993, at her home in Tolochenaz, Switzerland after a battle with colon cancer.

Emma Thompson

Outside of acting, Thompson is a supporter of numerous environmental and social causes. She has served as an international ambassador for ActionAid and she joined Greenpeace in its action to stop the expansion of London's Heathrow Airport. Thompson is also active at her daughter's school, teaching drama to the students there.

Oprah Winfrey

According to Forbes magazine, Oprah was the richest African American of the 20th century and the world's only Black billionaire for three years running. Life magazine hailed her as the most influential woman of her generation. In 2005, Business Week named her the greatest Black philanthropist in American history. Oprah's Angel Network has raised more than $51,000,000 for charitable programs, including girls' education in South Africa and relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Ellen DeGeneres

Television host Ellen DeGeneres supports numerous organizations, and has won many awards for her charitable efforts. Recently, DeGeneres learned about an organization called The Gentle Barn, a home and hospital for animals that have been abused. On her website, DeGeneres urges her viewers to donate. With Ben Affleck, DeGeneres launched the"Small Change Campaign" to benefit Feeding America. Ellen supports the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund through the American Red Cross.

Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler makes people laugh for a living. Parks and Recreation, although it has its touching, heartfelt moments, fuels a lot of running gags and Poehlerisms, and usually causes more guffaws than tears. Similarly, Amy's tag-team efforts with Tina Fey in the upcoming Golden Globes are sure to be as hilarious as last year, making even the sober celebrities in attendance feel a little laugh-tipsy. But I want to talk about the side of Amy Poehler that too few people focus on: her Leslie Knope-sized enthusiasm for children's charities.

Christy Turlington Burns

Her current venture takes her equally far afield. Just before Thanksgiving, she made one of her annual trips to Haiti, where Every Mother Counts supports a rural clinic and trains midwives. Last spring she led a team of 26 to visit the three maternal health-care facilities the organization supports in Tanzania, a country she first visited in 1991 while on a British Vogue shoot with fashion photographer Arthur Elgort. “Christy was always the best traveler,” says Elgort now. “Her father was a pilot and her mother was a stewardess, so we used to laugh that she ‘flies well.’ We’d say, ‘No wonder she loves it. It’s in her genes.’ ”

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep and her husband Donald Gummer move their philanthropy through the Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts. The couple have given around $1 million annually of late and have interests in arts and culture, education, women, and more. Grantmaking focuses on the East Coast, and the couple lives in Connecticut, the site of recent funding. The foundation does not have much of a web presence.

Charlize Theron

The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) is committed to creating a safer and healthier life for impoverished, under-resourced children and communities of South Africa, with a particular focus on individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS. Born from a partnership between Academy Award winning actress and South Africa native, Charlize Theron, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), the project’s mission is to create and support programs that not only address the immediate needs of the areas, but also promote self-sustainability, growth and responsibility.