Here at HELLO! we love telling stories about women who inspire, empower and inform our readers. And while lots of these stories involve famous faces, or members of royalty, sometimes the most inspirational tales are not about people who are well-known or in the news – many times, they’re about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and their stories are every bit as important.
As 2018 draws to a close, we wanted to shine a light on some of these everyday women, looking back on the past 12 months as a year of love. There are countless women doing amazing things each and every day, because of love – and there are many different types of love, be it a parent for a child, a wife for a husband, the love of a friend, of a community, for those they've yet to meet.
We thought it was time for some of these women to have their moment in the spotlight and to let them sparkle. And thanks to Swarovski, and their incredible crystals, we’ve been able to do just that. To recognise four extraordinary females who are going above and beyond as a result of their passion and love, changing people’s lives in the most inspiring and empowering way.
Often the ‘normal’ people in this world, who are doing amazing things, don’t want anyone to make a fuss about it. But the people around them often do – so we’ve teamed up with these women’s loved ones so we can reflect on their brilliance which has shone all year long. We hope you’ve got a tissue to hand! Learn more about these inspirational stories below and then watch their stories told through the eyes of their friends, or click through to HELLO! presents: A Year of Love, brought to you by Swarovski. Because without a doubt, it was time to Let Them Sparkle.
Natalie held one of the top digital positions at a women's magazine when she, one day, physically couldn't get out of bed – and came to the shocking realisation that she was suffering from a burnout. Natalie's ill-health meant she had to step down from her dream career and admitting she needed help was a difficult step for the 37-year-old. Her best friend Daniela says Natalie is the most inspiring, giving person and it's their shared love of one another, faults and all, that has helped spur Natalie on to becoming the strong, confident person she is today – including setting up her blog, A Peace Of Me, helping others benefit from the lessons she's learned. Natalie is a truly inspiring woman who deserves her moment to shine.
Chloe Stones was 37 when her world was rocked with the discovery that her newborn baby Elsie, now 4, had Down's Syndrome. Despite usual screenings, nothing had led her and her husband Adam to believe anything was wrong, and for a moment, they felt the exciting world of first-time parenthood come crashing down around them. But not for long. Little Elsie, along with her 3-year-old brother Seb, are the lights of Chloe’s life, and this incredible 41-year-old has manged to turn the challenges associated with having a daughter with Down’s Syndrome into incredible opportunities. Not only has Elsie started mainstream school this year, but Chloe has also put her unstoppable energies into giving back – now working for the Ronald McDonald House Charity, helping make sure parents of children in hospital can stay close to their little ones. She also volunteers for PSDS, a charity which provides support to children with Down's Syndrome and their families, as a way of saying thank you to the help she got with Elsie. Chloe’s friend of 25-years Clare says the love she shows her little girl is one of a kind.
Ren, 41, is an entrepreneur who founded X-Forces Enterprise, a company that offers support to former members of the armed forces and their families by giving them the chance to establish and grow start-up businesses. It's her belief in people that spurred her on to find a way to help those who have put their own lives on the line for others – but then found themselves on the outside of society, struggling to find their place. Ren was awarded an MBE for her services and it's her love of community that has helped countless ex-military personnel and their families in the most amazing ways. Veteran Tommy credits Ren with not only helping him create his charity, Sporting Force, but for saving his life too. Veteran Tommy wanted us to help Ren have her moment in the spotlight as she helped reignite his passion for his family, his friends and life in general. Without her and the incredible love she’s shown for his community of veterans, he literally thinks he wouldn’t be here - Ren isn’t just changing lives, she’s saving them too.
Jacqueline has empowered a legion of young girls with her mantra of beauty not being a 'one size fits all' look and when she was crowned Miss Black Africa UK in 2014, her achievements were clear for all to see. But she didn’t stop at inspiring young girls, promoting diversity and teaching people the very important lesson of how to learn to love yourself, she’s also now showing, by example, the importance of giving back and helping those less fortune than ourselves. Jacqueline’s set up I Am Able Nigeria, a charity raising money for disabled people in Nigeria. Her best friend Nikky thinks she deserves a moment to sparkle - we couldn’t agree more.