Melissa McCarthy Reveals 10 Women Who Changed Her Life

Each month, Glamour asks one amazing woman: Who's made you you? Here, "Spy" star Melissa McCarthy discusses her dream team.

1. Ellen DeGeneresComedian and TV host
When she chose to come out on her sitcom, it damaged her career to the point that she didn’t think she would get it back. But she did, and she paved the way for women to be able to say, “This is who I am, and I don’t have to act any other way."

2. Jane Goodall | Anthropologist and author
I saw Jane Goodall speak when I was in college at Southern Illinois University. Hearing her talk about her work in the jungle had an incredible impact on me at 18.

3. Julie Bean | Co-executive producer, Mike and Molly
There usually aren’t many women writing on a sitcom. Julie has maintained herself in a boys’ club so well, and I’m always glad she’s got my back in that room.

4. Angelina Jolie | Actress and activist
Here’s someone who could lead a very pampered life yet has chosen to focus on children and people who don’t have a voice. She doesn’t have to do that; she just chooses to live the right way.

5. Björk | Musician
When I was younger, I was called Sugarcube — like Björk’s former band — because I looked and dressed like her. I love the visual aesthetic that she puts into her music. Start with her videos; you’re gonna lose several hours of your life.

6. Diana Nyad | Long-distance swimmer
What a wonderful maniac, right? At 64 she swims from Cuba to Florida? I always daydream about how many naysayers she had to listen to. In an age when there’s so much tearing down of women, I think someone who decides not to take that in is incredibly badass.

7. Louise Bourgeois | Artist
I had a big poster in my college dorm room of Louise in a dark fur coat, holding an enormous phallic object. She didn’t gain fame as an artist until late in her life, but she kept living and making art how she wanted.

8. Hillary Rodham Clinton | Politician
It’s so important for young women and girls in this country to see female politicians. And I’m so excited for her to run. My God, yes.

9. Nicole Holofcener | Director
She chose a path that has allowed her to make the exact type of film she wants. I love "Enough Said." There wasn’t a false second in that movie: not a look, not a shot. Someday I hope I can coerce that woman into letting me work with her.

10. Sandy McCarthy | My mother
When I told her all the crazy things I wanted to do, Sandy looked at me and said, “Why wouldn’t you?” I’ve asked her, “Why in the world didn’t you tell me to, like, try something else?” She goes, “You wanted to do it, so I just told you to do it.” I got hit with the lucky stick, because that’s the person who encouraged me. 

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