Top 10 Disney/Pixar Female Role Models

There are some standout Pixar female role models we absolutely love! These characters are not just role models for the younger audience but are great role models for everyone! We’re talking about Nala from the Lion King, Jessie from the Toy Story franchise, Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Moana, Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, Pocahontas, Judy Hopps form Zootopia and Fa Mulan from Mulan!

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Top 10 Disney and Pixar Female Role Models

Look no further than these ladies for lessons in morality. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we are counting down our picks for the top 10 Disney and Pixar female role models.

For this list, we’ll be looking at female characters from both Disney and Pixar films that stand out as excellent role models, not just towards a younger audience but to everyone in general.

#10: Nala
“The Lion King” (1994)

The future Queen of Pride Rock may not have had as much of a hero’s journey as her soulmate, but that’s not to say that she wasn’t a great character. If anything, she had the weight of the world on her shoulders while Simba was still singing “Hakuna Matata.” When we first meet her, she’s just as childish and fun-loving as he is. However, after Scar takes control of the Pride Lands, she hunts in order to keep her pack fed, but never loses sight of who she is. Needless to say that without her maturity and stern words, Simba would never have gotten his crown back and taken his rightful place.

#9: Jessie
“Toy Story” franchise (1995-)

You won’t find a more energetic cowgirl in all of cinema. At first glance, she may appear to be just a boundless frame of confidence and yodels, but over the course of this hit trilogy, we see there is a lot of pain beneath the surface. Don’t bother denying you didn’t cry when you heard Jessie’s story. After we see the despair she felt when she lost her owner, we come to understand just how hard it was for her to risk building new relationships with her fellow toys. Her thrill-seeking nature is utterly infectious, while her deep-rooted insecurities make her oddly relatable.

#8: Esmeralda
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996)

Disney often tries to teach its audiences to see the beauty in everything, and this gypsy continues the trend and fights hard for the justice of every outcast – especially the hero Quasimodo. Not only is she kind, caring and a HELL of a dancer, she throws the prejudices of the Parisian citizens and Claude Frollo back at them. Charming and daring, this lady is NO damsel in distress, and can get out of incredibly tough scrapes. The fire inside Esmeralda isn’t so easily extinguished, even when suffering the less than pleasant advances and/or death threats of the fanatical Frollo.

#7: Judy Hopps
“Zootopia” (2016)

You haven’t seen determination until you’ve met this rabbit. With the dream of becoming a police officer, Judy lets nothing stand in her way. Even as a little one, Judy’s sense of justice is fiercely strong, standing up to bullies. She encounters blatant prejudice when trying to reach her goal, but consistently proves those who underestimate her wrong, rising to the top of the class and thinking outside the box. Even when faced with a seemingly impossible case, she blows it wide open. Judy has become a modern example that even if your ambitions seem far out of reach, enough diligence and hard work do pay off in the end. Even if you constantly fail, it’s all just another stepping stone on the way to success.

#6: Tiana
“The Princess and the Frog” (2009)

Speaking of diligence, say hello to this New Orleans gal who doesn’t even let a little amphibian transformation slow her down. With a dream of opening a restaurant of her own, Tiana doesn’t wish on stars to get what she wants. Her commitment to achieving that goal is admirable, demonstrating a solid work ethic, but audiences young and old learn along with Tiana that all work and no play isn’t the ideal way to live your life. The love of family can be easily forgotten but is just as important. But honestly, Tiana’s a total badass, strong enough to say no to the tempting dark magic of Doctor Facilier. You don’t see Gordon Ramsay having to deal with that.

#5: Moana
“Moana” (2016)

There’s just no telling how far this amazing girl will go. In Disney’s 2016 masterpiece, we’re introduced to a heroine who even as a little girl is fascinated by her culture’s history. Moana is a true explorer, but also a natural leader, showing great potential for her role one day as chief of her island. Fiercely determined, Moana will work past fear and inexperience to go on the quest that the ocean chose her for, but also to save her island and the entire world. One thing is for certain: Moana knows exactly who she is.

#4: Helen Parr [aka Elastigirl]
“The Incredibles” (2004)
Full-time housewife, hands on mother, superhero. It’s a good thing that Helen Parr can literally stretch herself to such extraordinary lengths because that’s quite the balancing act. Not only is Elastigirl an awesome hero in her own right, more than capable of taking down any number of villains, but the love she has for her family and what she’s willing to do to protect them is where she truly shines. For all her husband’s super-strength, Helen just might be the most “incredible” of them all. How’s that for flexible?

#3: Belle
“Beauty and the Beast” (1991)

While everyone in her hometown may think she’s a little bit odd, we can’t help but think she’s a little bit marvellous. With a love of reading, a charming personality and independent attitude, it’s no wonder a gal like her managed to win the heart of the misunderstood Beast. It also takes an incredibly brave woman to get close enough to teach Beast a thing or two about manners and anger management. Belle still remains relevant and worthy of praise for her unrelenting belief in herself as well as the ability to look beneath the surface. Not to mention she can rock a gown like no other.

#2: Pocahontas
“Pocahontas” (1995)

Even as the drums of war thunder across her homeland, this spirited young woman is willing to die for the sake of peace. A lover of nature with a true connection to everything around her, Pocahontas not only won the heart of rather hunky outsider John Smith, but managed to inspire unity between her own tribe and the settlers from the New World. She can change the perspective of the most stubborn of men, and shows tremendous strength when having to choose between her home and true love. This gal can most certainly paint with all the colours of the wind.

Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few honourable mentions.

“Brave” (2012)

“Cinderella” (1950)

“Finding Nemo” franchise (2003-)

#1: Fa Mulan
“Mulan” (1998)

This courageous heroine proves her worth by taking her father’s place in a war, but ends up rising far and above to save all of China. Aside from being a more than capable warrior, overcoming both tradition and sexism in a period where all she could look forward to was an empty future, Mulan proves that being different and wanting a life outside of convention isn’t something terrible. She defeated the Huns, brought honour to her name and changed the hearts and minds of all those around her. Truly the flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and most beautiful of all – not to mention something of a badass.

Do you agree with our list? What female character from Disney and Pixar do you think is the best role model? With new top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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