Meet the 11 incredible women we've named as our 2022 MC Future Shapers

Introducing our Marie Claire Future Shapers 2022. Visionaries, innovators, activists and diversity champions - these 11 trailblazing women are at the forefront of positive change. Here, they share their inspiration, mantras, goals and crucially advice, because as you will read, we all have the power to become agents of change.

We're living through a revolutionary time, with the threat of climate change sparking action, the biggest feminist uprising of our time in Iran in the wake of Masha Amini and a constant strive towards equality. We need change-makers now more than ever. 

With the help of the Future Shapers judges, we've whittled down the most inspirational women of 2022 who are set to make waves in 2023 and beyond. These are the women our world so desperately needs right now. We challenged our equally trailblazing panel of judges with the task of selecting and honouring ten (in this case 11) extraordinary women whose tireless activism, campaigning and conviction continue to make the world a better place. 

Future shapers winners

The Marie Claire Future Shapers 2022

These are the ten women selected by our panel as the Future Shapers for 2022 and beyond. As the year draws to a close, we asked these inspirational women what being on the Marie Claire Future Shapers list means to them and the three pieces of advice they'd offer other women. 

Self Estemm

Self Esteem, The groundbreaking musician
Self Esteem (Rebecca Lucy Taylor) offers an unfiltered and unapologetically honest take on life as a young woman, tackling issues like toxic relationships, the male gaze, societal pressure and female pleasure. Bringing down the patriarchy one undeniably-catchy tune at a time, Self Esteem has captivated fans with her powerful lyrics. Take, for example, her song I’m Fine, where a woman acts like a dog to avoid to ward off unwanted male attention, "because there is nothing that terrifies a man more than a woman that appears completely deranged,” which saw gig attendees barking at the stage in solidarity. Rejecting the outdated notion that performers need to start in their teens or 20s, Self Esteem released her first album, Compliments Please, in her 30s, followed by the award-winning Prioritise Pleasure. Self Esteem explained to us, “Music has always been what I make and the form I thrive within - so luckily it was a good vehicle to peddle my agenda with!“

self esteem quote

What are the three values that you live by, that you would pass on to other women?

  • Exist unapologetically and free from fear.
  • Never adapt your behaviour in order to be ‘safe’.
  • You only get one chance to be alive - so don’t always listen to society or the circles you end up in.


Olia Hercules, The humanitarian hero
Not only is Olia Hercules a celebrated Ukrainian chef, food writer and stylist with three bestselling cookbooks in her arsenal, she’s also a powerful activist, rallying support for her homeland in its time of dire need. “Let’s not forget that Ukraine is not headlines, it’s people,” she urges us to remember. After Russia invaded Ukraine, Olia channelled fear into compassion, joining forces with Russian chef Alissa Timoshkina to launch #CookForUkraine as a way to raise awareness of and funds for the humanitarian crisis via Unicef UK. This led to her being named one of the World’s 50 Best Champions of Change. “The war in my beloved, native Ukraine has changed my life and made me act,” she tells us. “I am hoping to help fellow Ukrainians however I can here in the UK. And, when the war is over, I hope to be able to go back to my home town of Kakhovka, Ukraine and help rebuild the community there. A cookery school that will be free for local teenagers in Kakhovka is the ultimate goal.”


What are the three values that you live by, that you would pass on to other women?

  • Being kind has always been extremely important to me.
  • Do things that you love and that would also benefit your immediate and wider community.
  • However hard, try to take care of yourselves, otherwise you won’t be able to take care of others.

Clotilde Abe

Clotilde Abe and Atinuke Awe, The equality campaigners
Activists and founders of Five X More, Clotilde Abe and Atinuke Awe are making waves for Black women and maternal health. Atinuke was shocked to see statistics from MBRRACE-UK that revealed Black women are five times as likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than white women - and refused to take this information lying down. She collaborated with Clotilde, founder of social enterprise for women Prosperitys, and Five X More was born; a grassroots organisation committed to changing Black women and birthing people's maternal health outcomes in the UK. 

Clotilde and Atinuke are tireless in their pursuit of positive change, from the #FiveXMore Selfie (you can get involved here) to a petition surrounding Black women’s health outcomes that garnered 187,000 leading to Black maternal health being discussed in parliament for the first time. Not to mention the Black Maternity Experiences Report, a vital tool for spotlighting Black women’s experiences of maternity services in the UK. “We are honoured to have been awarded this amazing title by Marie Claire,” Clotilde and Atinuke told us. “It means that more people will become aware of the work we do and in turn we can empower more women with our resources and advice.”


What are the three values that you live by, that you would pass on to other women?

  • For pregnant people, always trust your gut. But this can be applied to all areas of your life. Your gut and intuition are almost always right, so believe in yourself and do what is right for you at all times, knowing what your limitations are.
  • Walk by faith and not by sight. This means even though you might not see the progress, trust the process - soon you will see the outcome of your work.
  • Follow your passion. No matter how big or small your passion is you can use it to inspire others and change the world.

future shapers

Nazanin Boniadi, The Freedom Fighter
Actress Nazanin Boniadi is known for her roles on Homeland, Hotel Mumbai and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (that she currently stars in), but it’s her relentless activism work that’s earned her a space on our Future Shapers List 2022. Since 2008, Nazanin has been campaigning for the rights of women in Iran and across the globe, selected for membership at the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as receiving the 2020 Freedom House Raising Awareness Award. But, for Nazanin, this award belongs to the women of Iran. “I’m obviously humbled and honoured by this recognition. But after witnessing the extreme courage the people of Iran have shown in the past few months - including young girls - in risking everything to shape a better future, I can’t help but feel that this accolade belongs to them,” she told us. “They have shown that changing oppressive laws, sometimes means breaking them. And, tragically, improving lives sometimes means sacrificing your own.

“That is what being a Future Shaper means to me; having the courage to stand up to power. I will carry this recognition with me as motivation to continue amplifying their voices, with the hope that they win their revolution and shape a future filled with the freedoms they deserve.” 


What are the three values that you live by, that you would pass on to other women?

  • My mother always told me, ‘compromise on everything but your dignity. Because your dignity is non-negotiable’. It’s one of my main mantras in life.
  • For high-functioning women, self-care can be a revolutionary act. Don’t forget to put on your own oxygen mask before you venture into saving the world.
  • Surround yourself with people with high enough EQ [emotional quotient, or emotional intelligence] to bring out your best and help you improve your worst. Be that way for others too. Particularly for other women. Diminishing each other sets us all back.

Serlina Boyd

Serlina Boyd, The media trailblazer
When Serlina Boyd first came up with the idea to launch a magazine for Black children, she was told by a colleague, ‘no one will be interested’. But this didn’t stop her. Instead, she went on to launch Cocoa Girl in 2020, telling the untold stories of Black people throughout history. Cocoa Girl was quickly followed by the launch of Cocoa Boy and in 2020, Cocoa Girl was awarded Launch of the Year by the British Society of Magazine Editors, as well as given the Newcomer Award at The Independent Awards. The franchise was inspired by Serlina’s daughter, Faith, who co-edits the magazines. “I wanted Faith to see her true beauty and not accept the beauty standards the world was trying to push on her. I also wanted other children like her to know they were important and special just the way they are,” Serlina told us. Serlina is set to launch the first journalism school for Black children to tackle the lack of diversity in newsrooms across the UK (just 0.2% of UK journalists are Black, according to research from Reuters). Serlina told us, “Being a Future Shaper means the world to me, I never thought I would ever be considered for an award like this. The work I do means that I will have a profound effect on the next generation,which is something I take very seriously.”


What are the three values that you live by, that you would pass on to other women?

  • If you have a problem, sell the solution. You are stronger than you think.
  • Take each day at a time, do not worry about tomorrow but focus on what you are doing now.
  • Keep a journal and write down all you have achieved so that when you have a down day, your journal can inspire you to keep going.

Simran Kaur

Simran Kaur, The financial gamechanger
Simran Kaur has dedicated her career to uplifting other women by empowering them to make smarter choices with their money. Simran’s research found a clear gender gap when it came to investments and the messaging surrounding them. Only 16-24% of women invest globally (and it’s even less so for women of colour) while 95% of money media articles direct women to save, whereas 70% direct men to invest. Girls That Invest is now the number-one stock market podcast for women, but also the inspiration behind the bestselling self-help book, also called Girls That Invest. “To me, being a Future Shaper means pushing back against decades of negative stereotypes and undoing the philosophy that money is taboo to speak on,” Simran told us. “It means being part of a mission that is much larger than you.” Simran is also a Stock Market & Financial columnist for Stuff (an Auckland-based media house) and a TEDx speaker, and has previously worked with Shopify, HSBC, Oracle, Salesforce, Allbright and will soon speak at the Houses of Parliament on financial equality. Financial freedom is at the heart of Simran's ethos, believing that for women, financial security ultimately means independence. 


What are the three values that you live by, that you would pass on to other women?

  • If someone tells you no, you're asking the wrong person. No doesn't mean your idea is bad, it just means it's not the right time.
  • If someone explains something and it goes over your head, find a better teacher, don't assume you're not smart enough.
  • Never leave your financial future in the hands of someone else. You are smart enough to do it, money media has told you otherwise.


Tori Tsui, The eco warrior
Tori Tsui is a pioneering activist and the founder of the Bad Activist Collective, a dedicated space for activists, justice seekers and change-makers across the globe, as well as the Bad Activist Podcast. “Climate change is a social justice issue because those who have contributed the least to it are going to be most impacted by its effects,” Tori explains to us. “And this is not a thing of the future either. The climate crisis is happening right now, and I want to inspire others to act according to the urgency of the matter.” Her debut book, It’s Not Just You: How to navigate eco-anxiety and the climate crisis is due to be released in July 2023 and, “explores the relationship between mental health and climate change, from an anti-capitalist, de-colonial and justice-oriented lens.” She explained to us, “While it is an honour to be chosen, I also want to reiterate that climate justice is a community movement - no one person is responsible for the change we see in the world. I want to use this as an opportunity to shine a light on others, such as those from an organisation I am part of, Unite For Climate Action.”


What are the three values that you live by, that you would pass on to other women?

  • Understand that you are not alone in the work that you do, that there is solidarity if you are able to look for it - that for me is a huge reassurance to keep doing the work I do.
  • Understand that community holds you; both in times of struggle and holds you accountable!
  • Question individualism - nobody is free until everyone is free - we need to act communally in difficult times.


Leah Williamson, The sporting champion
2022 has been an incredible year for Lionesses captain Leah Williamson, who led the England Women’s Team to a record-breaking victory this summer. Leah’s success as a woman in football makes her a key role model for the youth of today, but her reach extends further than just her sporting prowess. The 25-year-old has been a pioneer in bringing women’s football into the spotlight and changing perceptions around women in sport. “We don’t just play football for the next tournament, we have a responsibility to grow the game as much as possible,” Leah told GQ, adding, “This was never going to be an opportunity for us 50 years ago because we were banned from playing the sport!” 


What are the three values that you live by, that you would pass on to other women?

  • Tomorrow is not the end of a journey but the start of one.
  • Being an ‘active listener’ is a good trait for a leader to have.
  • You can’t care about everybody all the time, that’s impossible! 


Ellie Simmonds OBE, The inclusivity advocate
Record-breaking Ellie Simmonds OBE shot to fame after winning her first Paralympic medal at just 13, competing at the Beijing Paralympic Games. Her list of impressive accolades doesn’t stop there, she became the youngest winner ever of BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year later that year and has gone on to win 15 world and 10 European titles. A change-maker through and through, Ellie is the youngest person ever to have been appointed an MBE at just 14 and became the first ever Strictly Come Dancing contestant with dwarfism this year. 

Ellie has spoken out extensively on the importance of disability inclusion, leading BBC documentary, A World Without Dwarfism? and post-retirement, she’s determined to do more. “Doing what I can in representing the disability community is a huge passion of mine,” Ellie explains to us. “There are so many doing such important work, and hopefully I can help in some way.

“I don’t think it’s a case of ‘what’ when it comes to my career inspiration, but ‘who’”, Ellie tells us, before citing her parents and coach Billy Pye as instrumental. “But it was a swimmer called Nyree Kindred [nee Lewis] who inspired me to become a Paralympian”, she continued. “I saw her on the TV at the Athens 2004 Paralympics, when I was 9, and from that moment, I knew what I wanted to do.”


What are the three values that you live by, that you would pass on to other women?

  • Find some form of exercise or sport that you enjoy doing. It's something you never regret - it helps you feel good about yourself and clears the mind. 
  • I’ve realised as I've gotten older how important it is to speak and reach out. It's ok to use other people as a sounding board and for support. 
  • Don't be afraid to take some time out to look after yourself and your mental health. We live in a world that is very “go, go, go!” and sometimes we forget to look after ourselves. Just do something you want to do and that benefits you.


Hannah Graf, The LGBTQ+ activist
Captain Hannah Graf MBE is a former officer of the British Army and is the highest-ranking transgender officer in the British Army. Hannah’s journey to motherhood has provided hope and inspiration for those, who like her, originally believed that it wasn’t possible for them. In 2018, Hannah was made an MBE in the New Year's Honours List by Prince William for her services to the LGBTQ+ community in the military. Her work within the diversity sphere has also won her several other impressive accolades, including the Ultimate Trailblazer Award and an honorary fellowship from Cardiff University. She said of being named a Future Shaper, “Any form of recognition for what to me simply feels like a necessary endeavour towards understanding, empathy and kindness in this world feels like a wonderful gift. I can only hope that this award increases awareness of the current struggles and fear felt by the trans community for our rights and protections and helps people to see that we just are just human beings trying to live our lives.”

Hannah quote

What are the three values that you live by, that you would pass on to other women?

  • Do unto others as you would have them do to you.
  • I have always tried to listen to others, learn from their lived experiences and treat them with the kindness and compassion with which I hope to be treated.
  • I think that if we all did a little more hearing and a little less talking, the world would be a better place!


Lauren is the former Deputy Digital Editor at woman&home and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has bylines in publications such as Marie Claire UK, Red Magazine, House of Coco, women&home, GoodTo, Woman's Own and Woman magazine.

She started writing for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant and covers everything from fashion and celebrity style to beauty and careers.