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13 Portraits Of Britain's Most Successful Senior Women

Nancy Honey's 100 Leading Ladies project aims to "transform the perception of what is possible for women to achieve in their lives".

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In addition to being shot by acclaimed photographer Nancy Honey, each of the successful British women in the 100 Leading Ladies project was interviewed by former Times journalist Hattie Garlick, who asked them all the same questions: "How on earth did you manage it? What advice would you give to your younger self?"

Here is what 13 of Honey's 100 Leading Ladies had to say:


"I don't think fashion and feminism should be enemies. ... There's nothing anti-feminist about being able to make your own version of a Vogue pattern."

"People who come to power need not simply to be women, they need to be feminists and they need to have an agenda, which is the defeat of masculinism, of chauvinism, of competition as a way of life. I don't think we've got a prayer, frankly, at this point."

"I understood how women were excluded from law's making – it was all made by men with men in mind. I clocked that early on and I wanted change."


"I made a decision not to have children because I do not think that it is possible to combine both without significant help."

"I made a conscious decision to choose work over having a conventional family life. Every woman knows how hard it is to have it all. Each of us has to make decisions about that for herself. I had work to do."


"My philosophy of life is that I am deeply, deeply serious about my work and for the rest I like to have a few laughs."

"Today, I can't go back to Iran. ... I've written extensively on the Iranian government not delivering on its Islamic duty to women. ... My argument is that the Iranian government is barring the way to education for women because they're scared of educated women. Because educated women can actually read classical Arabic, access the Koranic teachings, and demand their rights, contextualised in the Koranic teachings. They would then be taking on the Iranian government on its own terms. ...

Having said that publicly, it wouldn't be safe, now, for me to go back. I wouldn't like to put it to the test."

"This isn't about political correctness. It's about what works, what's economically smart. It's not soft and fluffy, it's where we need to be in order to be competitive and keep our place in the world."


"The whole 'superwoman' thing is a misnomer. All working mothers struggle and you get through it however you can. I mentor young women and it's still one of the biggest questions I hear. ... "Am I being a bad mother?" "Can I cope with juggling the two?" We beat ourselves up. Home-based mothers face their own challenges too."

"In America, I almost became a movie star. The news went out that a big picture was looking for a young actress and every region of the country was invited to put up a name. The requirements were that they should speak 'English English,' be blonde, be good riders, and have a little experience of acting. We had screen tests and I was narrowly beaten by Elizabeth Taylor."


"I was brought up by strong women: my mum – who was half Italian, half Irish – my Italian grandmother, and the Scottish ladies who worked in my father's business. Women were very strong presences in both the Scots and Italian cultures, so we had a very rich mix of influences."

"I also don't want the beauty industry to be viewed as being just about lipstick and Lycra and fluffiness. Because it isn't. It puts £17 billion into the British economy."

"Growing up, I had five maiden great-aunts who were farmers. These women were going to market, going hunting, drinking whisky... They made their own cheese and butter, milked their own cows. It looked to me, growing up, like a much more independent and fun life than conventional women of the time were having."

100 Leading Ladies is published by Dewi Lewis Media, 2 October, £30. The accompanying exhibition is at Somerset House, London, until 26 October, admission free, open daily.