Working Mother

The 50 Most Powerful Moms of 2018

When The New York Times’ reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey received the Pulitzer Prize for their story that broke the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal, they framed their remarks in the context of what they will tell their daughters (both still in diapers) one day. “The easiest part will be telling them about the women who came forward,” said Twohey, “because those women will already be inscribed in the history books, their names synonymous not with humiliation or victimhood, but with courage, truth and optimism that things can change.” That declaration is the great hope that 2018 has brought. Our list this year—of moms who have at least one child 18 or under living at home—is filled with women in power who raised their voices, gathered their communities, leveraged their status and demanded respect, safety, and equity for women in the workplace.

*Denotes a first time member of the list.


Samantha Bee, television host/writer/producer

Samantha Bee

Samantha is mom to Piper Bee-Jones, 12, Fletcher Bee-Jones, 9, and Ripley Bee-Jones, 7.

Photo: lev radin /

Samantha Bee became a television pioneer when she launched Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and her frank feminist political satire quickly became a social media staple during the 2016 election. But last year, she really hit her stride, showing up on the Time 100 list, winning a Gracie Award for on-air talent and coming home with the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for her Not The White House Correspondent’s Dinner Special. She also raised over $1 million for Planned Parenthood with her “Nasty Woman” T-shirt campaign. Bee, who implemented a blind hiring process that resulted in a writing staff that was 50 percent female, made her mark on the #MeToo movement with a segment on the #MeToo backlash around the “sh*tty men in media list.” What many failed to understand,” said Bee in a characteristically powerful monologue, “is that it doesn’t have to be rape to ruin your life, and it doesn’t have to ruin your life to be worth speaking out about.” Preach.

*Kelly Clarkson, singer and voice coach on The Voice

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly is mom to River Rose Blackstock, 3, Remington Alexander Blackstock, 2, and stepmother to her husband Brandon Blackstock’s two children from a previous marriage.

Photo: Kathy Hutchins /

It must have been a sweet moment when Kelly Clarkson—who once stared down the very scary closed door of a reality show audition room—entered the studio to be a judge on The Voice last year. So much had changed in the years in between. Clarkson, who was just 20 when she auditioned for the inaugural season of American Idol, had just lost her home in a fire and was living in her car. And, focused on her singing career, she never thought motherhood would be part of her life. Sixteen years later, the singer and TV star is now a mom to two and has sold over 25 million albums and 36 million singles worldwide. She’s landed three No. 1's on the Billboard Top 100 charts and was the first artist to top each of the magazine’s pop, adult contemporary, adult pop, country and dance charts. Along the way she performed for the inauguration of President Barack Obama and won three Grammy Awards and two Academy of Country Music Awards, among others. It’s fitting that Clarkson would now sit in a position of power over a whole new crop of industry hopefuls since her rise has validated the artistic merit of these ratings powerhouses.

*Patty Jenkins, director

Patty Jenkins

Patty is mom to a 9-year-old son.

Photo: Kathy Hutchins /

After her wildly-successful reboot of Wonder Woman for Warner Bros. last year, rumors are flying that Jenkins’ paycheck for the sequel will make her the highest paid woman in Hollywood. That would be a big coup, since Jenkins hadn’t made a movie since her indie breakout Monster in 2003. After that success, Jenkins was courted for other projects, but transitioned into the less demanding world of TV direction after giving birth to her now 9-year-old son. She made careful choices. "There have been things that have crossed my path that seemed like troubled projects,"she told The Hollywood Reporter, "And I thought, 'If I take this, it'll be a big disservice to women … If they do it with a man, it will just be yet another mistake that the studio made. But with me, it's going to look like I dropped the ball, and it's going to send a very bad message.'” Her patience paid off. Jenkins’ Wonder Woman (which she initially pitched Warner Bros in 2010), was the biggest domestic opening for a female director. Jenkins’ goal, however, is to make distinctions like that insignificant. She told Time (where she was a runner up for Person of the Year in 2017), “I can’t wait till enough women filmmakers have had a chance to make movies of this size and scale and those movies have been successful … It will be nice that they can just be filmmakers making films.”

Nicole Kidman, actor, producer, founding member of Time’s Up

Nicole Kidman

Nicole is mom to Isabella Jane Cruise, 25, Connor Cruise, 23, Sunday Rose Kidman Urban, 9, and Faith Margaret Kidman Urban, 7.

Photo: Featureflash Photo Agency /

Nicole Kidman riveted audiences last year as Celeste Wright in the 7-part HBO hit . Her performance as a woman being abused by her husband who moves from shame and secrecy to freedom and redemption was a cathartic escape in the year that was 2017. And for it she was rewarded four-fold, bringing home two Emmy’s, a Golden Globe and a SAG award (which must share the shelf with her 2003 Academy Award for Best Actress for as well as nearly 10 other best actress awards from other organizations). A founding member of , Kidman made use of every

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