Diana – March 08, 2017 at 09:59 am

The Childhood Hobbies of Iconic Women

Published on 08 March, 2017

Before a great woman was, well great, she was once an inquisitive and possibly quirky child. Throughout history we have so many stories about the talented, intelligent and successful women who shaped our time but were they "Born that way"?

Looking at the hobbies these fantastic femmes had – you might find yourself agreeing that how they spent their time in childhood made all the difference!

1) The Pianist: Aretha Franklin

You cannot listen to Aretha's powerful voice and not feel emotional. With 18 Grammy Awards and 75 million albums sold – the effect is well-earned. But what kept a little Aretha busy in her early life?

She played the piano. Without a coach or lessons, Aretha taught herself to play the piano by ear at the tender age of 10. The music was in her and just waiting to show itself. At 14, she was on the road on Gospel Tours signing at churches around the country.

2) The Photographer: Frida Kahlo

Credit : theblackandwhiteedit

Known for her vibrant art and mesmerising sketches, acclaimed Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo surprisingly didn't start out with a drawing block. Young Frida was stricken by polio and in order to fight the disease, she was encouraged by her father to take up sports such as roller-skating, boxing, wrestling and swimming – activities which, were mostly reserved for boys.

Once she was well, her father taught her photography. She would help him take and develop photographs. A well-known German photographer himself, Frida's father had a studio at home where Frida learned how to make pictorial masterpieces via a camera lens. Frida's foray into the art world only came much later in her teenage years. But the early influences of her life with a camera, no doubt influenced her work.

3) The Reader: Jane Addams

Credit : UIC News Center

Jane Addams (1860-1935) was known as the Mother of Social Work. She as a social worker, philosopher, sociologist, leader of the women's suffragette movement and an authoress. But before Jane became any of those things, she was a great reader.

As a little girl, Jane spent many hours poring over Dickens and other literary gems and became fascinated with working for the poor (featured so prominently in all of Dicken's novels). Jane's father encouraged her thirst for knowledge by allowing her to gain higher education (something very rare in her time).

4) The Ballerina: Audrey Hepburn

The iconic elfin beauty from Breakfast at Tiffany's didn't always know she would be a legendary actress. Audrey spent her early years in the Netherlands where she diligently attended ballet classes from the age of 10. She was the 'star pupil' in no time. But then war broke out and Audrey was forced to give up her dancing dreams.

Audrey survived the German Occupation during WWII, beating severe illness on account of malnutrition, to pick up her dancing shoes once again. She returned to ballet school and even moved to London in a bit to make it as prima ballerina. Life had other plans. Audrey found the world of ballet not as welcoming as the film studios. She landed a role as a ballerina in a play and the rest, as they say, is history.

5) The Visionary: Ada Lovelace

Credit : IT Pro

Often called the world's first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace was a lady far ahead her time in Victorian England. The daughter of the poet, Lord Byron, was a gifted mathematician who would go on to write the first algorithm for Charles Babbage's proposed 'general purpose machine'.

But before she was stringing together complex code that would become the basis of computers today, Ada was planning to fly. At the age of 12, she studied the anatomy of birds with mathematical precision and wrote to her mother about her scheme to build a flying apparatus: "to make a thing in the form of a horse with a steam engine in the inside so contrived as to move an immense pair of wings, fixed on the outside of the horse, in such a manner as to carry it up into the air while a person sits on its back.” 

Ada's keen interest in science, minute attention to detail and boundless imagination no doubt set her up to be the technological pioneer she was.

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