Celeste is best known for making fun of herself and the women we supposedly aspire to be. She reminds women to embrace their own bodies unlike anything we’ve seen before. Celeste has proven that being an average and relatable woman can be just as powerful and influential.
Celeste Barber, the Aussie actress and entertainer has made a global name by being ordinary, hilariously relatable and living in suburbia. With 6.5million social media followers, Celeste has empowered women to reject unrealistic body images and fanciful ways of life.
In 2015, Celeste started an experiment called #celestechallengeaccepted where she would mimic images of rich people looking perfect and doing luxurious things. Her approach has been simple but perfect in countering unhealthy and unrealistic ideals of mind and body. She has cleverly redirected our attention away from the rich and beautiful to the average (Australian) woman.
But building a movement and changing the way millions of women think was just the beginning. Celeste showed Australia, and the world, her real potential and charismatic leadership by raising nearly $50million for the NSW Rural Fire Service in less than two weeks. The devastating Australian bush fires and the personal impact on her family set Celeste into action. She started with a plan to raise $30,000 by reaching out to her online followers. Now a total of 1.2million people have donated to her fund, making her Australia’s second biggest donor for the bush fires.
Celeste has also broken a world record with Facebook by being their biggest fundraiser. A street artist has painted her mural in Melbourne’s famous Hoiser Lane with caption ‘Thank you Celeste’ and was quoted as describing her as “our beaming icon, a voice for the people’.
In times of crisis, we turn to leaders for direction, courage and reassurance, and in modern times we’ve seen women rise to the occasion. The world turned to Jacinta Arden when she led with sympathy and inclusiveness in the wake of the Christchurch Shooting. Her image was projected onto the world’s tallest building in Dubai hugging a Muslim woman. A society where women have very little say or rights and yet a foreign woman was honoured in their city, an unprecedented moment in history.
Anna Bligh brought Australia to tears with her uplifting speech in the aftermath of the 2011 flooding when she said “I want us to remember who we are. We are Queenslanders. We’re the ones they breed tough north of the border. We’re the ones that get knocked down and get up again”. She invoked undeniable raw emotion that reached the heart of every Australian.
Just imagine these women getting together in every crisis! Celeste connecting a cause to millions of people (and influential rich ones!), Jacinta breaking down social barriers through her actions and Anna speaking from her heart.
Women are and can be powerful leaders and because of that, we need more of them. In fact, institutions and organisations should take heed and reflect on the social power of women in contemporary society in times of crisis.
For Celeste, we’re more than lucky to have not only her incredible drive and foresight to fundraise for Australia’s tragic bush fires but also her humour to keep us smiling just a little bit when we need it most.