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I write about women for women. Marriage, motherhood and career, as well as art and fashion; these are the themes that most intrigue me and are what I want to read about myself. Let’s face it, the only men likely to read Precious Things are either in my group of friends or immediate family so I thought – given that it’s International Women’s Day – I’d share with you some of the women who most inspire me and why:


Elizabeth Gilbert
I went to see Ms Gilbert at the Seymour Centre for Sydney Writer’s Festival on Friday night, and she was just as warm, engaging and intelligent in person as I expected her to be after reading her work. The Signature of All Things was one of my favourite novels of recent years, but it’s her writing on writing in Big Magic that blows me away. It’s made me look at creativity in a whole new light and inspired me to change my own writing practice.


I think this British singer is the most talented woman in music today. She’s also willing to be raw but with real dignity – something we’re crying out for. The new album, 25, is all kinds of awesome. I heart it.


Frida Kahlo
What a life this woman had. Whenever I’m feeling weak or in pain I think of what she went through with her health and tumultuous marriage, and how she transformed it into thought-provoking and powerful art. Her work is rich, colourful and an enduring symbol of Mexico. Frida was the bomb.


Tamara de Lempicka
The original glamour woman of the art world, de Limpicka’s works are sumptuous and sensual and, for my money, the best examples of the cubism movement. The most fashionable portrait painter of her generation, she was feted at salons across Europe and didn’t give a fig what people thought about her fluid sexuality. All power to living such a fearless and adventurous existence.

'In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different' - illustration of Coco Chanel by Zoe Sadokierski for my book, A Life in Frocks

‘In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different’ – illustration of Coco Chanel by Zoe Sadokierski for my book, A Life in Frocks

Coco Chanel
Because she emancipated women through the power of fashion. Because she was unapologetic and impeccably stylish. Because she was, no doubt about it, a glorious broad.

Some other women I’m going to fangirl in the name of IWD: Cheryl Strayed, Isabel Allende, Joanne Harris, Kate Morton, Nigella Lawson, Cate Blanchett, the sass & bide duo, Helen Mirren, Sarah Jane Adams and the rest of Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style mob. There are many more examples in books, politics, charity and my own life (of course of course) but these very public women provide a blueprint for creativity, style and chutzpah.

Who are the women who most inspire you, either alive or from history?