What Makes a Great Role Model? Famous Celebrity Examples




A great role model is someone who inspires us and whose footsteps we would proudly follow. They motivate us to be better people through their actions, accomplishments, values, and character. When a public figure or celebrity can leverage their fame into real positive influence and social change, it demonstrates tremendous leadership.

Many celebrities today are shining examples of great role models by how they carry themselves with grace, compassion, integrity, and courage. They remind us of our innate goodness and potential.

This blog post explores the essential qualities that make an impactful role model. We also highlight some celebrity role models from fields like entertainment, sports, and activism that embody those high standards.

They Are Authentic and True to Themselves

An essential quality for a robust role model is maintaining authenticity by staying grounded in their true personality and perspectives. Despite their spotlight, they don’t allow pressure to mold them into what others want to see.


Megastar Beyoncé has become a cultural icon renowned not only for chart dominance but also for boldly using her art and platform to amplify women’s narratives around identity, relationships, and social issues.

She conveys strong messaging about self-love and feminine power across lyrics, visual albums like “Lemonade,” and even her history-making Coachella performance. All while steadfastly protecting her privacy to nurture personal growth.

Taylor Swift

Swift grew into a global phenom not by chasing ephemeral trends but by committing herself to musicianship and songwriting guided by her life experiences and values. Her resonant lyrics about love, heartbreak, and standing up to critics come from an authentic place.

Despite intense scrutiny, she has maintained fidelity to her artistry from a young country prodigy into a pop culture colossus able to bridge generations of fans.

They Uplift Others

While a role model must have talent or accomplishments that set them apart, their greater purpose involves lifting others upwards, too. They leverage influence to provide opportunities for marginalized groups rarely spotlighted.

Ava DuVernay

This prolific director and producer has shined a light on powerful narratives around Black life in America through groundbreaking projects like “Selma,” “13th,” and “When They See Us.” Her ARRAY production company cultivates opportunities for women and people of color in the film/TV business.

Lauren Jauregui

As part of the massively popular girl group Fifth Harmony, Jauregui aligns herself with social causes like immigration rights and LGBTQ empowerment. She conveys pride in her Cuban heritage and bisexual identity as conduits for spreading tolerance.

They Overcome Adversity

All human beings face obstacles, and great role models are those able to transform hardship into positive change. Confronting challenges with perseverance and grace motivates us to summon our inner resilience.

Simone Biles

This record-shattering Olympic gymnast dared to prioritize mental health over competitive pressure. After early struggles in the Tokyo games, she withdrew to address psychological distress and a dangerous twisties condition. Her stand helped de-stigmatize athletes’ mental health issues.

Selma Blair

Blair demonstrated profound grace and grit in battling Multiple Sclerosis in the public eye after her shocking 2018 diagnosis. By candidly sharing her health journey from chemotherapy to a stem cell transplant, she educated millions on living with chronic illness.

They Lead By Example

An excellent barometer for a role model comes down to their actions and demonstrated commitment to aligning virtues with behavior. When public figures practice what they preach, it strengthens their credibility tremendously.

Phoebe Robinson

Comedian/actress Robinson has built a platform promoting black voices/stories in entertainment with shows like “2 Dope Queens” and books including “Everything is Trash But It’s Okay.”

She also invests in BIPOC creators directly by founding tinyrei productions. Her influence uplifts while putting skin in the game, too.

Leonardo DiCaprio

One of Hollywood’s biggest stars, DiCaprio leverages fame to make a real environmental impact. He runs philanthropies donating millions towards wildlife conservation and climate efforts. His dedication spans protests, financial offerings, and films like “Before the Flood.”

They Persevere Past Controversy

Even role models are imperfect and face scrutiny when falling short at times. But character surfaces through learning, making amends, and refusing to quit when confronted by failures or unforced errors.

Nicki Minaj

Minaj has faced various criticism, but her defiant spirit persists. From overcoming an abusive childhood to conquering music industry sexism, she’s shown unrelenting drive. She remains committed to creative flourishing despite controversies around vaccine opinions or collaborators.

Ryan Reynolds

Reynolds has built a personal brand around humor and fun. But he also acknowledges past mistakes around making light of serious issues like race that impacted marginalized communities. He demonstrates accountability and that education/growth matters.

They Give Back Generously

While most celebrities can access exorbitant privilege, noteworthy role models remember to pay blessings through generosity and authentic community engagement.

Dolly Parton

A beloved icon, Parton channels fortune/fame into an array of philanthropies covering important areas like literacy programs, poverty relief, and medical/science funding. She also gives back creatively by mentoring young musicians at her Dollywood Foundation.

During COVID, she donated $1 million to vaccine research through Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Cristiano Ronaldo

One of soccer’s contemporary greats, Ronaldo, has utilized his platform to give back meaningfully. He continually engages with various causes, from child hunger/education, disaster relief fundraising, and healthcare access.

The superstar athlete has offered his name/presence to vital issues and reportedly gives over €5 million annually to groups like Save the Children, UNICEF, World Vision, and his namesake foundation.

They Are Compassionate and Inclusive

While outside achievement makes strong role models notable public figures, how they treat people conveys more excellent lessons about dignity and shared bonds across diverse groups.

Ellen DeGeneres

While recent workplace culture issues on her show came under fire, DeGeneres still made history through her visibility and compassion as an openly gay woman in entertainment. Her fun and kindness towards unique stories helped advance inclusion.

Cara Delevingne

Model/actress Delevingne also champions LGBTQ visibility and acceptance, having revealed herself in revealing letters. She also uses her fame to support mental health resources for marginalized groups through her foundation.

They Take Creative Risks

Great role models are often boundary-pushing innovators who shake up the status quo. By taking bold creative leaps, they show courage and become catalysts for shifting culture forward.

Donald Glover

Whether acting, directing, producing, or rapping as Childish Gambino, Glover always brings fresh, visionary style to his art across genres. His Emmy-winning “Atlanta” especially captures unique angles on identity rarely explored on TV.

Janelle Monáe

With albums like “Dirty Computer,” Monáe has cemented herself as a creative vanguard weaving social narratives around race, gender, and sexuality into powerful Afrofuturistic musical motifs. Her artistry transcends boxes.

They Commit to Growth

Role models don’t pretend to have all the answers. They lead journeys towards truth- even when flawed or contradictory. Owning that humanness allows evolution.


He wasn’t always the visionary billionaire business mogul who landed on Forbes’ cover. Jay-Z built his empire after emerging from poverty and crime. His art traces that complexity with bravado and confessionals around destructive masculinity, unfaithfulness, and the quest for redemption.

Taraji P. Henson

The acclaimed actress built The Boris Lawrence Foundation to honor her father and help youths of color access mental health support. She draws from her emotional struggles after her sudden loss. Her transparency helps remove the stigma around seeking help.


In closing, exemplary role models like those profiled hold a clear-eyed grasp of their place in the pantheon. They recognize fame’s temporary nature and choose purpose over poems and people over personality. Their north star stays focused on how wide a doorway their hands can open for those still locked out of opportunity.

And such heroic figures need not always occupy red carpets or magazine covers either. Some of history’s most significant role models come dressed as quiet community pillars, diligent volunteers, or resilient caregivers bonding neighborhoods.

Great role models ultimately remind us that fame means little if not weaponized in service of others. Their light both reveals and warms.


mandy b.
mandy b.https://iammandyb.com
Founder, owner, writer Iammandyb.com & artistheat.com (coming up this summer)
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