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Olivia Wilde: 10 Women Who Changed My Life

Olivia Wilde: 10 Women Who Changed My Life

1. Mali Finn, casting director
At 16 I was Mali's intern. I never figured out how to make good coffee, but she let me keep the job and taught me never to show up unprepared for an audition.

2. Carrie Fisher, actress
I relished her book "Wishful Drinking," which gave me perspective on how to find humor in life's insane obstacles. Her line, "If my life wasn't funny, it would just be true, and that is completely unacceptable" is a life raft of wisdom whenever my life becomes overwhelming.

3. Reed Morano, director
Reed and I collaborated on Meadowland, a film about a couple whose son goes missing. I remember watching her operate an extremely heavy camera hoisted up on her shoulders while simultaneously directing me. Only two months earlier we'd been waiting to hear if she was in remission from cancer. Her bravery comes from deeply rooted optimism, which I aspire to emulate in my own life.

4. Nora Ephron, author and director
Her commencement speech at Wellesley in 1996 should be required reading for all women turning 21. My favorite line: "I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women."

5. Solange Lusiku Nsimire, editor-in-chief and publisher, Le Souverain
I met Solange when she was honored at the 2014 Courage in Journalism Awards for her reporting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I was floored by her graceful bravery — and how she's willing to risk her life to make sure justice is won.

6. Sharlene Pope, my doula and nanny
People minimize the role of nannies in their lives, but Sharlene has been a teacher, a healer, and a sister. I would not be able to pursue my career without her presence, as she is almost like a second mother to my son.

7. Janet McTeer, actress
I was lucky to see Janet McTeer as Nora in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House when I was 13. She had a high fever and went onstage anyway, placing cups of water around the set and incorporating gulps seamlessly into her performance. I was gobsmacked by her brilliance.

8. Rebecca Lolosoli, founder, Umoja Women's Village
Umoja is a village in Kenya populated by survivors of gender-based violence. I visited Rebecca there as part of PBS's Half the Sky documentary, and I asked her why we needed men at all, since Umoja seemed so idyllic. She laughed at me and said, "Because we love men."

9. Tilda Swinton, actress
I met Tilda at a Golden Globes party when I was 20. Most people assume actresses fear aging, but she told me how happy she was to be past her youth because she found it more creatively liberating. Suddenly I was very excited to grow up.

10. Leslie Cockburn, journalist and my mother
My mother has won every accolade in journalism and could rest on her laurels, yet she continues to evolve as an explorer. Her example as a mother is what I aspire to as a working parent.

Olivia Wilde is the star and producer of Meadowland, out October 16.

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Photo Credit: Taylor Hill via Getty Images