From the Star Wars films, created by George Lucas
Nominated by Amy Hale-Janeke
I first encountered Princess Leia Organa when I was five years old and sitting in the front row of a theater watching Star Wars. Leia was everything that I wanted to be when I grew up: a smart (and smart-mouthed) leader who refused to be condescended to even by someone as good-looking as Han Solo. She didn't have kids. Instead, she had a career and a cause.
Leia also gave me the first inkling of the responsibilities that go with being a leader. Leaders get tortured. They get shot at and sometimes, they get dumped into sewers. But Leia demonstrated that it is your response to those situations that defines you as a leader. She also showed me that sometimes you are powerless to stop the suffering of those you love, and sometimes you fall in love when it is inconvenient. She is still my favorite heroine.