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Women To Write About In Your Barnard Supplement Based On Your Zodiac Sign

Staff Writer Julia Tolda bases this assessment on the two most important questions asked in every ice-breaker (in no particular order): “What’s your zodiac sign?” and “Who did you write about in your application?.”

Capricorn

Known for their focus and workaholic tendencies, Capricorns are the realists of the zodiac. Persistent and ambitious, Capricorn women will break boundaries in their fields.

  • Madame C.J. Walker: Creator of a line of beauty products for Black women, which made her the first female self-made millionaire in America. She was also a philanthropist and activist.
  • Ching Shih: Chinese pirate leader, known for being the most successful pirate in history, commanding more than 80,000 people during her career.
  • Zora Neale Hurston: Barnard alumna and icon of the Harlem Renaissance, especially for her novels detailing the struggles of the Black community in the South in the early 1900s.

More options: Simone de Beauvoir, Joan of Arc, and Eartha Kitt.

Aquarius

Although free-spirited and easy-going, Aquarians are not afraid to be assertive and rebellious. Aquarius women are visionaries, at times eccentric, but always just. 

  • Carmen Miranda: Portuguese-Brazilian singer, dancer, and actress who rose to stardom in the United States, popularizing samba and Latin culture worldwide.
  • Angela Davis: American activist, author, and educator. Davis is known for her activism and writing on Marxism, feminism, and the American prison system.
  • Yoko Ono: Japanese artist and peace activist. Her work includes everything from avant-garde music to sculptures and performance art.

More options: Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker.

Pisces

Pisceans are imaginative and compassionate people, with incredible intuitions. Their empathy and elusiveness make them the shapeshifters of the zodiac. 

  • Augusta Savage: American sculptor of the Harlem Renaissance and teacher, known for her work as a portrait sculptor, especially her sculptures of W.E.B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey.
  • Miriam Makeba: Also known as Mama Africa, Makeba was a South African singer, human rights, and anti-apartheid activist.
  • Anne Bonny: Irish pirate in the Caribbean, who left her husband for a lover, with whom she sailed the seas.

More options: Harriet Tubman, Nina Simone, and Rosa Luxemburg.

Aries

Those born under Aries are fearless and passionate in their pursuits. Driven and energetic, they make compelling leaders, as they are always astonishingly honest.

  • Gabriela Mistral: Chilean poet, educator, and the first Latina to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Mistral was also a visiting professor at Barnard College.
  • Jane Goodall: English primatologist and anthropologist whose work with chimpanzees made her the leading scholar in the field.
  • Selena Quintanilla: Singer, model, actress, and fashion designer. She was one of the most famous Mexican-American entertainers, considered the Queen on Tejano music.

More options: Gloria Steinem, Billie Holiday, and Maya Angelou.

Taurus

The always patient Taureans are known to prize pleasure and comfort. Lovers of aesthetics, Taurus women are stubborn yet ambitious people.

  • Grace Jones: Jamaican model, singer, producer, and actress whose style influenced the ‘80s androgynous movement.
  • Audrey Hepburn: Oscar-winning actress, and humanitarian, who devoted most of her life to UNICEF working in Africa, South America, and Asia.
  • Catherine the Great: Russia’s longest-ruling female who overthrew her own husband. She’s responsible for the growth of Russia in the 18th century.

More options: Florence Nightingale, Ella Fitzgerald, and Shirley Temple.

Gemini

Geminis are expressive and intense people. Communicative and versatile, they are the life of the party with their youthful way of life.

  • Stevie Nicks: Songwriter and vocalist of Fleetwood Mac, known for her bohemian style and unique voice. She is the only woman inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Josephine Baker: American performer, activist, and spy, who fought against segregation and discrimination. She starred in Siren of the Tropics in 1927, making her the first Black woman to do so in a major motion picture. 
  • Zuzu Angel: Brazillian fashion designer and activist, whose protest-runways denouncing the Brazilian Military Regime gained international recognition.

More options: Patti LaBelle, Naomi Campbell, and Marilyn Monroe.

Cancer

Astoundingly intuitive, Cancerians are the most emotional of all signs. Loyal and charming, it is easy to be drawn to their kindness and depth.

  • Emma Goldman: Anarchist and activist in the early 20th century who spearheaded the anarchist movement in North America and Europe.
  • Artemisia Gentileschi: Italian renaissance artist who portrayed her abuse, and desire for vengeance on her canvases, graphically portraying herself murdering her abuser. 
  • Yang Jiang: Chinese author and translator, who wrote several plays and novels. She is known for being the first to fully translate Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote to Chinese.

More options: Frida Kahlo, Ginger Rogers, and Ida B Wells.

Leo

Exuberant. Loyal. Theatrical. Leos are natural leaders, constantly looking for excitement. Protective of those they love, Leos will always take a stand.

  • Marsha P. Johnson: Drag queen and activist, she is known for pushing back against the police during the Stonewall uprising, and her activism for gay liberation and AIDS. 
  • Rosalind Franklin: Chemist whose work was instrumental in discovering the structure of DNA, but was ignored by the mainstream narrative in favor of Watson, Crick, and Wilkins.
  • Marie Tharp: American geologist and ocean cartographer whose work on mapping the Atlantic Ocean floor was the first to show the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. 

More options: Amelia Earhart, Mae West, and Mata Hari.

*Bonus: writing about a family member. Intensely iconic Leo behavior. 

Virgo

Virgos are hardworking people. Lovers of logic, they are as smart as they are practical. But, behind their perfectionist facades lies a gentle soul.

  • Christine de Pizan: French poetess and author, most famous for her feminist writing, advocating for equality during the middle ages.
  • Queen Lili’uokalani: The only female monarch and last queen of the Hawaiian Kingdom, as she was overthrown and forced to abdicate in 1893. She was also an author and songwriter.
  • Tarsila do Amaral: One of the most iconic female modernist painters, known for her colorful portrayal of Brazil’s culture and nature.

More options: Mary Shelley, Junko Tabei, and Neerja Bhanot.

Libra

Balance and harmony are what Librans hold closer to their hearts. That’s why they are charming, diplomatic people. Idealists, Librans adore beauty and fairness.

  • Jan Morris: Trans writer and historian, who writes about her desire to hyperfeminize herself in her essay “Conundrum”.
  • Serena Williams: American tennis player who revolutionized the sport. Her wins include over 39 Grand Slam titles, 23 of those in singles. 
  • Hannah Arendt: German-American political philosopher, who fled Nazi Germany for New York. She wrote extensively about totalitarianism and human nature, and is known for coining the phrase “the banality of evil.”

More options: Rita Hayworth, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Mae Jemison.

Scorpio

Mysterious and cold, Scorpios are both calculative and passionate people. Ambitious, loyal, and strong, Scorpios are the most intense signs of the zodiac.

  • Toto Koopman: Dutch-Javanese model turned Italian Resistance spy, who escaped the fascists thrice during World War II. Later in life, she and Erica Brausen (her lover) established the Hanover Gallery in London. 
  • Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Pakistani activist, who directed “A Girl in The River: The Price of Forgiveness,” a documentary on honor killings in Pakistan.
  • Hedy Lamarr: Austrian actress and producer, considered the most beautiful woman in the world. Her work as an inverter lead to the creation of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

More options: Judy A. Smith, Sylvia Plath, and Amy Levy.

Sagittarius

Sagittarians are adventurous, brimming with energy. Honest and funny, they make the best story-tellers and philosophers. Optimistic, they hate to be stuck.

  • Shirley Chisholm: The first Black woman to serve in the US Congress, first Black major-party candidate for president, most successful female candidate for over 40 years. 
  • Sarah Grimké: Born to a slaveholding family in North Carolina, she later converted to Quakerism and fought for the abolition of slavery and 1st wave feminism.
  • Olga of Kiev: Regent of Kievan Rus’ who single-handily killed 500 men of the Drevlians, the tribe that killed her husband, and later became a Saint. 

More options: Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba, Ada Lovelace, and Fe del Mundo.

“Signs” by Beyoncé (feat. Missy Elliott) is the sole reason I know the order of the zodiac via Bwog Archives

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