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These Strong Women Are Changing the Face of Girl Power As We Know It

Ronda Rousey Fights Clean

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This fighter sets the bar high for strong women everywhere. Defending her Bantamweight title, "Rowdy" Rousey defeated Brazilian fighter Bethe Correia in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it, 34-second cage fight back in the beginning of August, undoubtedly proving herself as the toughest badass in the sport. After kicking ass faster than we can even pull our hair into a ponytail, the female fighter then declared that she could easily take on one of the best boxers of all time, Floyd Mayweather, in a no-rules fight (because rings and regulations are for, well, girls). We applaud her brazen confidence—and pray we never get in a fight with her. (Feeling inspired? Check out these 18 Women in History Who Changed the Health and Fitness Game.)

Photo: Corbis Images

Cara Delevingne Says Goodbye to Modeling

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With the eyebrows that sparked a beauty revolution and a smoldering stare that has dominated practically every runway, Cara Delevingne has been fashion's It Girl for most of recent memory. (Check out our Delevingne-inspired Perfect Eyebrows Playbook.) Her modeling career could basically go on autopilot now and still earn her millions—which is why the world was shocked when the British beauty recently announced she's quitting modeling for good in order to focus on her acting career. In an interview with London's The Times, Delevingne cited the superficial nature of the industry as her reasoning. "Modeling just made me feel a bit hollow after a while. It didn't make me grow at all as a human being." Just when we thought we couldn't love her anymore, Delevingne reaffirms our girl crush with some #girlpower.

Photo: Corbis Images

Army Rangers Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver Make History

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For both Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver, making history is just another day. These two tough chicks are officially the first women ever to successfully complete the U.S. Army's Ranger School at Fort Benning, GA. Not only is this an incredible feat for women, but also for all attendees, as only a small percentage of all students actually complete the training. However, due to strict regulations by the government, women are still unable to join infantry, armor, or special forces units. Despite this setback, the women's incredible prowess has sparked a conversation at the Pentagon to overturn the outdated law. Until a decision is made, there's no doubt that these two strong ladies will be trailblazers in the armed forces for a long time to come.

Photo: AP Photo/John Bazemore

Kerry Washington Doesn't Want Her Pre-Baby Body Back

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After giving birth to her adorable daughter 16 months ago, the Scandal star is looking better than ever. But don't congratulate her for getting her pre-baby body back. Kerry Washington recently told SELF that focusing on your old body is essentially living in the past. She explained, "I've been really focused on not being 'back' to anything, but being the best version of myself right now. My body is the site of a miracle now. I don't want to be pre-miracle." We love her mentality and have to admit that post-baby looks fab on her. (Need another reason to love Kerry Washington? She's one of 8 of Our Favorite Philanthropic Female Celebrities.)

Photo: Corbis Images

Kiran Ghandi Goes with the Flow

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After training for a full year in preparation for the London Marathon, Kiran Ghandi woke up the day before the big race to find she had started her period. In an effort to raise awareness for period shaming around the globe, she opted to not use a tampon or pad during the entire race. As Ghandi explained to Cosmopolitan, "I have this vision that if men had their period, because we are in a male-privileging society, that rules would be written into the workplace, rules would be written into the social fabric that enable men to take a moment when they need to or enable people to talk about their periods openly." Whether or not you agree with her decision, she took a stand and got the whole world talking.

Photo: Kiran Gandhi

Sandra Bullock Crosses Gender Roles

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Sandra Bullock is one of the highest-paid actresses in the world and has proved to be a long-lasting A-lister, but even that status doesn't guarantee Oscar-winning roles. After failing to find a role that inspired her, she reached out to George Clooney and his producing partner Grant Heslov (the creative team behind the upcoming film Our Brand Is Crisis) and convinced them to give her the lead role—even though the character was written as a male. Many A-list actresses have commented on the lack of strong roles for women of a certain age, but Bullock has proven the solution is to simply look for strong roles period.

Photo: Corbis Images

Heidi Klum Is the Ultimate 10

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When Donald Trump opened his mouth about Heidi Klum's looks, we weren't sure what to expect, but we definitely weren't ready for this: He claimed that she was "no longer a 10" on the "hotness scale." Considering what Trump's been known to say, it could have been worse—but we couldn't have asked for a better response from Klum. She posted a parody video of a masked Trump taking away the .1 to move her down to a 9.99, which was met with a shrug and a smile proving that she's not only still a beauty, but she also has great comedy chops. During an interview with US Weekly, she shared some thoughts on the whole situation: "I don't think any woman deserves this, but we all do work so very hard and we always try our best, I believe... Any woman that works very hard, takes care of her kids, husband, family, and of herself—I do believe that we all deserve a 10."

Photo: Corbis Images

Whitney Cummings Says She's Happier After 25-Pound Weight Gain

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One of our favorite funny girls just gave us another reason to love her. On a recent appearance on the Today show, the comedienne chatted with hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, explaining, "I gained like 25 pounds, which I think I needed to. I was way too skinny before. Here's the thing: When you're on television, you get confused. I looked like I was passing away and I think it filled out... People think I got a facelift." She's always looked beautiful, but now that she feels more comfortable in her own skin, she glows like never before. And she's a reminder to all of us that you have to listen to your body and do what feels best, no matter what society says.

Photo: Corbis Images

Kim Chambers Makes Waves in San Francisco

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Feel like going for a swim? How does a 30-mile stretch of shark-infested waters between the Farrallon Islands and San Francisco sound? Ideal to Kim Chambers, a former ballerina and film star, who became the first women to ever complete the dangerous crossing in early August. And if the dangerous waters weren't enough, she was also swimming for just over 17 hours—talk about an unstoppable women!

Photo: CNN

The U.S. Women's Soccer Team Can't Stop Winning

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If you think the USWNT would take a long, well-deserved vacation after their World Cup win in Canada last month, think again. In the first game of their 10-game U.S. Victory Tour, the girls crushed it in Pittsburgh, PA, defeating Costa Rica in an 8-0 shutout, complete with a hat trick from Christine Press, two goals from Heather O'Reilly, and single goals from Whitney Engen, Julie Johnston and Pittsburgh native Meghan Klingenber. Not surprising: The crowd showed up in record-breaking force, with more than 44,000 fans ready to cheer on their team. We can't wait to keep watching our girls kill it on the field. (And to boost their badass credibility, the USWNT Wins 25 Sports Illustrated Covers Because "Each Player Deserves Her Own.")

Photo: Corbis Images

Anne Lorimor Reaches the Peak of Kilimanjaro

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Anne Lorimer has lived quite the life. At 85 years young, she's an accomplished philanthropist, hiker and most-recently world record holder. This past July, the great-grandmother officially became the oldest person to ever reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Although she faced challenges along the way, Lorimer, along with her niece and nephew, completed the trek in eight days. And if conquering the highest mountain in Africa at an age most people associate with walkers and bingo isn't badass enough, Lorimer made the trek to raise money for the charity she founded, Challenge Youth Fund, which makes donations to provide services for underprivileged children. She is a true inspiration in every sense of the word.

Photo: azcentral

Kristin Armstrong Wins Women’s USA Pro Challenge

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They say it’s never too late to make a comeback, and Kristin Armstrong couldn’t agree more: she came out of retirement for the second time to attempt to add a third Olympic time trial gold medal to her existing two. And she's already making waves: The 42-year-old professional cyclist competed—and won!—the inaugural Women’s USA Pro Challenge in Golden, Colorado this past weekend. "I'm here to come back and hopefully make the team in Rio," Armstrong told the Denver Post. "This alone, this race, I have to say has made my comeback worth it. This is historical. I'm so happy and proud to be part of this moment.” We have no doubt that this power player will be a strong addition to the 2016 Olympic team and we can’t wait to watch!

Photo: Corbis Images

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