As impressionable young women, it wasn’t just our moms who shaped how we saw ourselves. Whether we were singing in the shower like Whitney Houston, dressing funky like The Cosby Show’s Denise Huxtable, or hosting fake TV talk shows in our living rooms like Oprah Winfrey, these sisters made us believe we could do, and be whatever we wanted to be.

Today, ESSENCE editors salute the 15 Black women — real or fictional — we wanted to be when we grew up.