According to Greek philosophy there are actually five (not four) cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance, courage, and fierceness. And in recent years Beyonce has put this oft-ignored virtue back on the map, essentially becoming synonymous with it. Heck, it’s even the surname of her alter ego: “Sasha Fierce.” But the quality is not exclusive to contemporary pop singers. Thus, I have compiled a list 9 fierce divas from various realms, ranging from a comedienne and super models to a cancer survivor and a college basketball star. Though each respective figure manifests this cardinal virtue in a unique way, they all have one thing in common: they are arguably (forgive my potential blasphemy) fiercer than Beyonce:
1. Naomi Campbell
Each time Naomi Campbell plants a stiletto on the runway, an angel gets his wings. In a light-hearted game at the end of an intense confrontational interview with Tyra Banks, the two super models delight the audience with a playful walk-off—each diva impersonating the other’s signature gait. Surprise, surprise: Naomi does Tyra’s walk better than she does, making the former talk show host look like a clumsy foal by comparison. Sorry, Tyra. Try again! I’m pretty sure this episode was shot on location in Antarctica because the very spot where Naomi pivots at the end of the catwalk is likely the South Pole (since we all know the world essentially revolves around her).
2. Amy Schumer
Strap on your Depends folks because Ms. Amy Schumer is about to make you piss your pants laughing. I stumbled on this up-n-coming comedienne by accident. I swear. Some inexplicable malfunction on my TiVo recorded an episode of The View on the precise day that Amy happened to make her appearance.
Not a fan of the vulgar, incoherent, likely-inebriated antics of Chelsea Handler or the “femme-bro” shtick of Tina Fey? Amy Schumer, with her intelligent and self-depreciative flavor, might be just the female jester you’re looking for.
3. Whitney Way Thore
Whitney Way Thore may have a few extra pounds on her, but those are just more reasons why her dancing chops seem to defy the laws of physics. Homegirl has more moves than Bobby Fischer! As if killing the choreography wasn’t enough, Whitney does a little freestyling toward the end as if the say “checkmate!” to all the aspiring video vixens coveting her rhythm. This is a must watch! I swear, Ms. Whitney is fixed with hydraulics! To top it off, she’s also spearheading a fierce size acceptance movement called the No Body Shame Campaign.
4. Shoni Schimmel
Shoni Schimmel is a Native American basketball star at Louisville University. Many Americans were first introduced to Shoni through a documentary about her and her family aired on TLC. But while TLC made an A-lister out of Honey Boo Boo, Shoni didn’t reach that level prestige until her heroics on ESPN when Louisville defeated heavily-favored Baylor University in what is considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Women’s NCAA Tournament. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the game was when Schimmel went one-on-one with Baylor’s 6’8” Brittney Griner, the all-time leading shot blocker in collegiate history (men’s or women’s), and came away with a backwards circus shot for the and one. Despite their nearly one-foot height differential, Schimmel even had the chutzpah to growl at her intimidating opponent after the play.
5. Leiomy Maldonado
I think the only reason Leiomy Maldonado is not a household name is because she prefers to stay underground. She’s above the mainstream. Although she did deign to appear on “America’s Best Dance Crew” in 2009, she mostly spends her time ruling the vogue ball circuit. This transgendered savant is so acrobatic you will cringe for her poor knee ligaments when she plunges to the ground, bending one leg back, and using it as a lever to resurrect herself. Beyonce, Britney Spears, and Lady Gaga bite Leiomy’s moves so often they ought to audition for “True Blood” by now.
6. Janet Jackson
You know your annoying bisexual friend that you just wanna grab by the shoulders and shake screaming “Pick a damn side already!” at the top of your lungs? Show him/her this video and make them pay extra close attention at 2:02 in. That should settle the debate. But if you’re a straight woman or gay man, shield your eyes, because the clip might result in a confusing sense of arousal that will have you questioning YOUR sexual orientation. This is not Janet Jackson’s fault—she simply can’t help oozing sensual and sultry nirvana during perfectly-timed song transitions mid-VMA performances. And the dancing is impeccable. How one can deliver such dope choreography to accompany a slow-tempo song like “That’s the Way Love Goes” is beyond my imagination. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore!
7. Kathy Delaney-Smith
You would expect Kathy Delaney-Smith, the head women’s basketball coach of Harvard for no less than 32 seasons, to wax poetic about the trigonometry behind the triangle offense during a post-game interview. But no, the cancer survivor and certified boss bitch talks that talk like Rihanna, calling out their archrival opponent Yale for “subtleties that are pretty disrespectful” in her gruff Bostonian accent at 1:16.
8. Mariacarla Boscono
Mariacarla Boscono is as thin as Whitney Way Thore is thick. But even though she is all skin and bone, she throws that skin and bones like a quarterback! Watching her strut down the runway will have you petitioning the IOC to make the catwalk into an official Olympic sport. I have no idea how they would award scores based off degree of difficulty, but I would be an expert eye at judging style points.
9. Me At 8 Years Old
Here’s some raw footage of me as an 8-year-old gayby getting nonchalantly dressed in drag by Mom as Mrs. Doubtfire for Halloween in 1994. If only YouTube existed 20 years ago! I could have been a gayby micro-celebrity like Lohanthony! The footage is a fun, unstaged, “Pre-YouTube era” scene. Our relatives always told us, “You should submit this to ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos!’” But my family was much too lazy for that. So in essence, Bob Saget’s loss is your gain! Oh, the footage was also repurposed by filmmaker Mike Costanza (who has shown at Sundance, Cannes, yada yada yada) into a video trailer for my newly-published short memoir Ebook American Psychonaut which is (cue shameless plug) available on iBooks, and Kobo. It can be read right on your personal computer with the simple app you’re directed to upon checkout!