12 Women Who Changed the World by Smiling

12 Women Who Changed the World by Smiling

Tonight on Dancing With the Stars, Simone Biles — who, just in case you live under a rock, won 19 Olympic and World Championship medals in 2016, making her the most decorated American Olympian — received positive feedback on her second performance of the night. But that didn’t seem to matter to host Tom Bergeron. Instead of letting her listen to the judges’ feedback, the host interrupted her moment to ask the — again, I remind you — most decorated American Olympian why on earth she wasn’t smiling — after facing criticism for smiling too much during her first performance literal minutes before.

“Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals,” Simone replied, and the world applauded.


This cringe-worthy moment (that will admittedly make a badass GIF I’ll save and inevitably use literally everywhere) got me thinking: what on earth have women managed to accomplish without smiling? Here are just a few women who have accomplished a few small things, in no particular order.

1. Serena Williams

Image via SerenaWilliams

She won the Australian Open while pregnant. But she smiled the whole way through the match, and that’s what’s impressive.

2. Sacajawea

She traveled thousands of miles with a baby on her back and two men probably mansplaining the whole way, but she did it all with a smile. I’m sure of it.

3. Susan B. Anthony

Image via AskForKasasa

You can clearly see her smiling on the one dollar coin.

4. Joan of Arc

As we all know the story goes, Joan of Arc was the first (female) (17-year-old) military leader to lead an army with a smile on her face. Her winning smile was also the reason she was later deemed a saint. Nothing else. That’s it.

5. The Notorious RBG

Image via lindsey.z.briggs

She’s notorious for smiling.

6. J.K. Rowling

She wrote some book series that was adapted into a series of eight films and made millions of dollars. But more importantly, she has a really great smile.

7. Marie Curie

She won the Nobel Prize. Twice. For smiling. You know, not for developing the theory of radioactivity and coining the term. Nope. For smiling.

Via Giphy

8. Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Harver

They became the first two women to become Army Rangers in 2015. But it wasn’t blood sweat and tears that got them through Ranger School at Fort Benning. It was smiling.

9. Lupita Nyong’o

Image via LupitaNyongo

She won an Oscar. For Best Smile. (Sidenote if an award for Best Smile actually existed, this goddess would win it hands-down. But that’s not the point.)

10. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson

These powerful “hidden figures” sent men to the moon. Not because they worked hard, or were smart, or went to school, or challenged the system; no, it was because they had really nice smiles.

11. Anna Wintour

Image via marcopiracciniphoto

She changed the fashion game and Meryl Streep played her in a movie. Because she’s known for smiling.

12. Hillary Clinton

Image via hillaryclinton

She won the presidency in 2016 because of her winning smile. Oh wait…

Follow Elise on Twitter: @melisexo | Instagram: @melisewilliams

Subscribe to Earn Spend Live's Newsletter Get our freshest content in your inbox