Image: Andrew Bayda/Adobe Stock
There is something about celebrity that attracts us. Whether it's the talent that a famous person offers, their looks, the power that comes with fame, or a simple case of enjoying their story, we just can't get enough of them. As evidenced by the endless stream of tabloids located at every checkout in every supermarket across the country.
Add to that our excitement over every book a celebrity releases, or their social media account, and any crumb our favorite famous person offers. It's normal to be fascinated by famous people and now, the gap between us is smaller than ever. All to say, it makes it much easier to answer the question 'which famous people would you invite to a dinner party and why?'.
1. Serena Williams
Serena has been in the public eye for decades and at 39, she has won 73 professional tennis titles, of which 23 are grand slams. She entered the public consciousness at age 14, competing professionally for the first time in a 1995 Canadian event. It was in 1999 that she won her first title and from there, she has just kept on winning.
With the resilient mindset she possesses, she has carved out success on her own terms. Not to mention the fact that she continued to play (and win) while pregnant and returned to the game quite quickly after giving birth to Alexis. This, despite being bedridden for six weeks due to a pulmonary embolism and struggling with postpartum depression.
I can't imagine a more interesting conversation than with this champion of her game.
2. Eva Longoria
You might know her best from her turn on "Desperate Housewives," but there is much more to Ms. Longoria. Long before she turned to acting (producing, entrepreneurship, and activism) she had secured a degree in kinesiology. Before she was famous, she was a keen political activist after moving to Los Angeles. In 2013, she returned to university to secure her master's degree (focusing on Chicano studies), with a thesis on Latinas in STEM careers.
By my reckoning, someone like Ms. Longoria would have a lot to talk about over dinner.
3. Taylor Swift
At the time of her first album's release, Taylor Swift was just 16 years old. No one could have imagined then that the country starlet would evolve into the global pop superstar she is today. Yet, eight albums later she is still going strong and breaking and making records.
With 841 award nominations and 365 wins, she is one of the most award-winning artists of all time. Most recently, she has become more vocal about her political views, encouraging people to engage in local elections, as well as national elections.
It isn't just her artistry and influences I'd be interested to learn more about. From growing up in the business, to dealing with stalkers, and carrying wound dressing with her everywhere she goes, she's definitely someone you could talk to all day.
4. Viola Davis
This Julliard attendee has an Emmy, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and two Tonys under her belt. Truly, she is one of the greatest actresses of our time and despite receiving some award attention, she is underrated and undervalued. From her TV work to her work in film, she is the consummate professional.
She isn't just an actress, though. Ms. Davis is also an activist and philanthropist, working to both eradicate child hunger and empower women. She grew up in poverty, the daughter of a civil rights activist, so hunger happens to be particularly dear to her heart.
I can't think of a greater dinner party guest than Viola Davis.
5. Malala Yousafzai
Miss Yousafzai was just 15 years old when a militant stormed the bus she was traveling on, shooting her in an attempt to assassinate her for her activism. Despite suffering a head wound, she recovered and went on to become the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. She was just 17. Since then, she has co-founded a non-profit organization, one focused on the right to education. She went on to move to the UK where she attended Oxford University.
To possess such courage in the face of violence, and at such a young age, makes Miss Yousafzai a fascinating guest for a dinner party.
6. Christen Press
A soccer star and Stanford University's top scorer of all time, Christen Press now represents both the US Women's National Team and Manchester United. She is spectacular to watch on the pitch and an entrepreneur and activist off the pitch. While she first turned out for the USWNT in 2008, it has taken her years of hard work to establish her place in the starting 11.
She has plied her trade in the US, Canada, and Sweden. Prepared to go wherever she had to, to play the game she loved, she is proof that if you're prepared to do anything to get what you want, that you will succeed. The result? She's a two-time World Cup winner and certainly someone I would love to chat with over dinner.
Nora Lum lost her mother when she was just four years old and was raised by her father and grandparents. She created her career from nothing, turning to YouTube to build her rap career and assuming the name Awkwafina and a disguise.
Her employer still recognized her and she was fired immediately. However, it was her acting that propelled her to international fame, appearing in several movies, as well as her own self-titled show ("Nora from Queens").
She's now an award-winning actress and highlights just how much you can achieve when you find creative ways to put yourself out there. A lesson we could all learn when it comes to getting out of our comfort zone and taking risks.
8. Betty White
What dinner party of famous people would be complete without a genuine national treasure? While she's best known for her work on "Golden Girls" as naive Midwesterner Rose Nylund, this gal had her television debut in 1939, shortly after graduating from high school.
Her career experienced many lows and highs between her debut, her role in "Mary Tyler Moore" (1973), and finally securing "Golden Girls." Despite this, she kept pushing and became the beloved superstar she is today, starring in "Hot in Cleveland" and movies such as "The Proposal" and "Toy Story 4."
Ms. White has long been a humanitarian, working with a variety of animal groups over the years. She has certainly seen plenty in her lifetime and it would be absolutely fascinating to sit down and have a conversation with her about the career she has built, the opportunities she has enjoyed, and the wisdom that she could impart to younger generations.
You might have noticed a theme with the famous people I'd invite to a dinner party. The overarching trait that all of these incredible women share is resilience and a desire to step outside their comfort zone.
They have faced their own unique struggles as they climbed to their current positions and despite people standing by, ready to knock them down, they bounced back and kept going. What better people to chat with and learn from than those who have managed to thrive under pressure?