The Forgotten Women 2019

For the 2019 HerStory event schedule, click here.

For the last few years, this photoshoot has sought to recreate iconic images of influential women. This year, we want to focus not just on influential women, but on the ones you, unfortunately, haven’t heard about. The experience of HerStory involves relearning history with an awareness of the women who were forgotten by it. That is why we are dedicating our HerStory Photoshoot to telling the stories of those forgotten women. With the help of 28 models and 17 crew members, 43 women in total (some crossover), we came together to represent the lives of 28 incredible women of history. Here they are. #ForgedYetForgotten


About the Woman

Valentina Tereshkova is a Russian astronaut and engineer. She is the first woman to have ever flown in space and still the only woman to have completed a solo mission. Beginning on June 6th, 1963, she spent nearly three days, orbiting the Earth 48 times, in the capsule Vostok 6. Following her expedition, she focused on promoting education in science and got involved in Soviet politics.

Prior to going to school for cosmonaut engineering, Tereshkova was an amateur skydiver. She was accepted into the Soviet space program despite her lack of experience as a pilot because of her extensive parachute jumps. Her single flight on the Vostok 6 logged more flight hours than all American astronauts combined prior to that date. Tereshkova once said, “If women can be railroad workers in Russia, why can’t they fly in space?”

About the Model

Linda Shewokis is a freshman Theater Education and Performance student. She participated in the photoshoot because “I wanted to learn more and get the chance to represent one of these amazing yet underrepresented women.”


About the Woman

Isabel Allende is a Chilean-American author. She has written 23 books, which have been translated into 42 languages, sold more than 74 million copies, and won over 60 awards in 15 different countries. She is one of the most notable female novelists from Latin America. She was also a political activist, helping many escape Chile following the assassination of President Salvador Allende until she was targeted and forced to flee to Venezuela.

Using the success of her novel Paula, she founded the Isabel Allende Foundation. The foundation focuses on helping young women around the world gain reproductive rights, economic independence, and freedom from violence. During the 1960s in Chile, Allende worked as a translator for romance novels from English to Spanish. However, she was fired because of the discovery that she had been altering the dialogue to make the heroines sound more intelligent, even altering the end of Cinderella to give the female characters more independence.

About the Model

Gabriella Gonzalez is a freshman Theater and Performance student. She participated in the photoshoot because “I think it is an important message.”


About the Woman

On the night of April 26th, 1777, 16-year-old Sybil Ludington rode on horseback 40 miles to warn militia in Putnam County, New York and Danbury, Connecticut of approaching British forces. She was the oldest daughter of Colonel Henry Ludington and a frequent messenger during the Revolutionary War.

Many men, namely Paul Revere, are famous for similar rides, but few were as young and rode as far. Her ride was roughly double the distance Paul Revere went. Her heroism that night is a reminder to many of the roles that women played in the war to help the cause even when they could not fight. She is honored with a statue in Carmel, New York.

About the Model

Claudia Cooper is a junior Musical Theater student. She participated in the photoshoot because “I thought the work Sigma Pi Theta did last year was both powerful and empowering and I would be honored to be a part of it!”


About the Woman

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is an author, early American historian, and professor at Harvard University. She has written several books including the famed “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History.” She was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and often writes from a feminist and Mormon perspective.

Ulrich’s work both challenges and empowers gender roles throughout history from biblical archetypes to modern domestic stereotypes. In much of her writing, she emphasizes re-writing the narrative of history which so often forgot to include women. She wrote in one of her books, “An androgynous mind was not a male mind. It was a mind attuned to the full range of human experience, including the invisible lives of women.”

About the Model

Victoria Raschi is a senior Visual Media Arts student. She is also a sister of Xi Gamma Nu. She participated in the photoshoot because “I love this movement of HerStory and I think you all are doing a fantastic job.”


About the Woman

Jeanne Manford was an elementary school teacher in Queens for 26 years and the mother of three children. In 1972, she co-founded Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), America’s first organization dedicated to uniting allies with the LGBTQ community. She started the organization after her son, Morty, was beaten at a gay rights demonstration and the police refused to respond.

Manford gained recognition for a photo from the 1972 Gay Liberation Day Parade (Pride Parade) in which she marched alongside her son carrying a sign that read “Parents of Gays: Unite in Support for Our Children.” PFLAG now has over 200,000 members and more than 400 chapters across the United States. Manford was awarded the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal for her continuous work as an LGBTQ rights activist.

About the Model

Sophie Irina Pels is a junior Theatre and Performance student. She is also a member of Kappa Gamma Chi. She participated in the photoshoot because “history is a wonderful way to learn about the present. Looking back, and seeing powerful women helps me understand the world I live in now; what has been fought for, and what I still need to fight for today.”


About the Woman

Captain Nieves Fernandez was a Filipino schoolteacher who became the only known female leader of the guerrilla resistance during World War II. She lived in Tacloban and also owned a small shop in the area. When Japanese forces moved into the area, she took command of 110 guerrillas who managed to kill 200 Japanese soldiers with homemade shotguns.

Little is known about Fernandez’s life other than her skill in combat, with the bolo weapon in particular. At one point in time the Japanese government offered 10,000 pesos for her head, which was never collected. She trained her men extensively both in combat and weapon building. A famous image of her also shows her training an American soldier. Her dangerous efforts as a guerrilla leader likely saved the lives of many local people.

About the Model

Rosana Pena is a junior Business of Creative Enterprises student. She is also a member of Delta Kappa Alpha. She participated in the photoshoot “to bring more awareness to the amazing women many people don’t know. As a Filipina, I did not know of Captain Nieves Fernandez and it really excites me seeing that she was on the list representing my heritage.”


About the Woman

Lucy Burns was an American suffragist and women’s rights advocate. She co-founded the National Woman’s Party alongside Alice Paul in 1916. She was a militant activist who was arrested several times, organized hunger strikes in prison, and returned to picketing as soon as she was released.

Prior to becoming an activist, Burns was a high school English teacher. She studied at universities in America, Germany, and the UK before returning to America to fight for women’s rights. She was a gifted orator, going on speaking tours across the country and even speaking before Congressional delegates on behalf of the Anthony amendment.

About the Model

Annie Noel is a sophomore Political Communications student. She participated in the photoshoot because “It is true that the powerful write our history books, so as long as the patriarchy is dominant, we must fight to incorporate women into the narrative.”


About the Woman

Anna May Wong was an international film star. She is widely recognized as the first Chinese-American Hollywood “movie star.” She earned her first role at age 17 and went on to act in dozens of films over the course of her career. She braved a hostile and racist film industry at a time when white actors were more often cast to portray other races than actors of color.

Wong was born on the outskirts of LA’s Chinatown in 1905 to Chinese immigrants. In 1928, she temporarily moved to Berlin where she was finally able to star in her own films and experience moderately more freedom to interact with her white costars. She briefly returned to America before touring the Chinese countryside and exploring her identity as a Chinese-American woman. She continuously and publicly challenged the stereotypes presented to her by the industry, forcing the public to rethink the roles she was capable of playing.

About the Model

Sydney Rae Chin is a senior Visual Media Arts student. She is also a member of Alpha Phi Omega. She participated in the photoshoot because “I’m interested in portraying stories that are most often underrepresented in media especially featuring women of color… unlike how most Chinese American women are portrayed, Anna May Wong was fiery and bold. Contrary to belief, Chinese American women like Wong and myself are strong and outspoken.”


About the Woman

Kathrine Switzer became first woman to enter the Boston Marathon on April 19, 1967, five years before women were officially allowed to run. She followed in the footsteps of Bobbi Gibb who ran it the year before her without a number. Switzer used a gender neutral name on her application to obtain number 261 and became the first official female entrant.

Switzer’s story gained popularity when an imaged surface of a race official attempting to pull her from the road as her boyfriend, who ran alongside her, shoved him off. She finished the race and went on to run in over 30 marathons. In 1977, she created the Avon International Running Circuit, a series of women’s races around the world that would forge the path for the women’s marathon to become an Olympic event in 1984.

About the Model

Kelly McGarry is a senior Marketing student. She is also a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi. She participated in the photoshoot because “I think it’s an awesome way to bring attention to the stories of important women in history.”

DAY 10

About the Woman

Frances Perkins was a sociologist, workers’ rights advocate, and U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. When she was appointed in 1933, she became the first woman to serve as a cabinet secretary. She was a key contributor to the New Deal coalition and Social Security programs.

Perkins had a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and physics and a master’s in sociology. She was a teacher at an elite school for girls and spent her free time working at settlement houses. She left teaching for a job at the Philadelphia Research and Protection Association helping young immigrant girls avoid prostitution. Her passion for social reform lead her to New York City where she worked with organizations to improve working conditions and protection of laborers. Her strong presence at the forefront of legislative improvements lead to positions in local government that would catalyze her work with FDR.

About the Model

Lindsey Campbell is a freshman Visual Media Arts student. She participated in the photoshoot because “these women worked to prove themselves in a male-dominated world so that we, today, could have more opportunities.”

DAY 11

About the Woman

Simone Segouin is a former World War II French resistance fighter. At the age of 18, she joined the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans, a combat alliance that carried out armed actions against the German army. She was involved in many dangerous missions and helped in the liberations of Chartres and Paris.

When the war ended, Segouin was awarded the Croix de Guerre, a French military decoration. She was promoted to lieutenant and eventually went on to become a pediatric nurse. During her time with the Resistance, less than ten percent of the force was made up of women and very few were allowed to participate in combat.

About the Model

Lou Rasse is a sophomore BFA Theatre and Performance student. She is also a member of Zeta Phi Eta. She participated in the photoshoot because she “believes it’s important for everyone to learn the names and stories of significant women in history, as they so often are not taught to us in the same way the names of men are.”

DAY 12

About the Woman

On March 2nd, 1955, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin was forcibly removed from a bus by two officers in Montgomery, AL on her way home from school.  Arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white person, she became the first person to be arrested for actively protesting bus segregation in Montgomery, nine months before Rosa Parks would take the same stand.

Colvin’s arrest sparked outrage in the community and well-known leaders of the Civil Rights Movement including MLK and Rosa Parks rushed to her aid. She was a potential face for the movement, but was considered too young, “feisty” and unpredictable for the cause. Later in that year, she became pregnant by an older man and was quickly dropped from the public eye. However, Colvin was one of five plaintiffs and the last witness to testify in Browder v. Gayle, the Supreme Court case that ultimately deemed the segregation of buses unconstitutional and ended the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

About the Model

Mariama Conde is a freshman Theatre and Performance student. She participated in the photoshoot because she “loves seeing when ALL women come together and are recognized as a collective great force in which everyone receives the recognition, support, and appreciation that they deserve.”

DAY 13

About the Woman

Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician in the early 1800s. She is known for her work on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a prototype of the digital computer, for which she designed the world’s first published program or algorithm. She is often regarded as the very first computer programmer.

Lovelace was asked to translate an article about the Analytical Engine written by Italian engineer Luigi Federico Menabrea. She not only translated the article from French to English, but added a section of notes that extended three times the original length of the piece. Her notes explained how coding could take the Analytical Engine beyond its calculating abilities. She predicted future developments, including concepts such as computer-generated music. Her work was not recognized until long after she was gone and in 1980, the U.S. Department of Defense named a computer language “Ada” after her.

About the Model

Tea Kingley is a junior with an IDIP in Marketing and Film. She is also a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi. She participated in the photoshoot because she wanted to be a part of bringing such a powerful message to life.

DAY 14

About the Woman

When Isabel Ebel graduated from New York University in 1934 with a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering, she was the only female aeronautical engineer in the country. She graduated from MIT in 1932 with a bachelor of science in the same subject and was accepted at NYU as the only female student in a class of 3,000 men.

She struggled to find work after graduating from MIT, so she applied to NYU. She was admitted only after Amelia Earhart vouched for her. Ebel had helped Earhart plan her famous 1932 transatlantic flight.

About the Model

Madison Mehringer is a junior Writing, Literature, Publishing student. She is also a member of Xi Gamma Nu. She participated in the photoshoot because “Honoring these women is inspiring to all involved and this art will encourage women to support and empower one another.” Fun fact: Isabel Ebel was Madison’s great aunt.

DAY 15

About the Woman

Margaret Bourke-White was a photojournalist and documentary photographer. She is recognized as the first female war photographer accredited by the U.S. Armed Forces and the first Western photographer permitted to document the First Five-Year-Plan in the Soviet Union. She was also very active with LIFE Magazine, for which she photographed the first cover.

Bourke-White covered events all around the world including WWII combat zones, Buchenwald concentration camp, the Partition of India, and much more. She endured danger and violence, even surviving a torpedo attack on a ship and managing to photograph the disaster as it took place. Her work is displayed in the Museum of Modern Art and John Becker Gallery in New York as well as several other museums and facilities across the country.

About the Model

Melissa Moore is a junior Writing, Literature, and Publishing student. She participated in the photoshoot because “think it’s really important that we diversify what it means to be a successful woman and bring light to the incredibly overshadowed and unappreciated women who have impacted our world and have contributed to society.”

DAY 16

About the Woman

Komako Kimura was a prominent Japanese suffragist and actress. She also co-founded “The Real New Women’s Association” in 1913 and was the editor of its journal Shin Shin Fujin. She visited the U.S. to study English and the American suffragist movement to bring back to Japan. On October 27, 1917, she marched down Fifth Avenue in New York City alongside twenty-thousand suffragists demanding the right to vote.

Kimura also managed two theaters in Tokyo where she stirred controversy with the roles she chose to play and shows she opened up to the public. She made frequent public addresses in Japan which she received a mix of support and protest. She once said, “When my work has gone wrong and my weariness has been great, I have looked toward the day when we, too, would have our freedom, and a new courage has come to me to continue the battle for the women of my race.”

About the Model

Maria Sato is a freshman Journalism student. She participated in the photoshoot because “I admire these women and I would like to show my appreciation through this. I am grateful for their hard work for shaping our current world where women’s rights have been acknowledged more and improved.”

DAY 17

About the Woman

Lena Himmelstein was a Lithuanian-American fashion designer and entrepreneur. She was the founder of Lane Bryant, the first clothing company to mass produce plus size clothing. Her store first gained success when she started designing maternity clothing and quickly grew to include plus size lines.

Himmelstein was an orphan raised in Lithuania who moved to America when she was around eighteen to find work and live with her sister. After her first husband passed, she supported herself and her son making and selling negligees and nightgowns. As an employer, she was a leader in employee benefits, offering life insurance plans and other support beyond just wages. Lane Bryant grew rapidly, seeing annual sales increase from $50k to $5 million in just fourteen years.

About the Model

Tatiana Melendez is a junior Visual Media Arts student. She is also a member of Zeta Phi Eta. She participated in the photoshoot because “I love supporting other FSLs on campus and I LOVE this project and what it stands for.”

DAY 18

About the Woman

Gertrude Ederle was an American swimmer and Olympic champion. She became the first woman to swim across the English channel on August 6th, 1926. Five men had accomplished the swim before her, but she finished at 14 hours 31 minutes, beating all of their records by 1 hour 59 minutes. She also competed at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris.

Ederle started competing in swimming during her teen years, and between the ages of 16 and 20, she held 29 records. She first attempted the swim across the Channel in 1925, but was disqualified on a technicality. When she completed the swim in 1926, she gained significant popularity on par with notable male athletes of the time such as Babe Ruth. She dropped out of the public eye following a back injury that left her unable to compete. She lived out a quiet life then teaching swimming to children at a deaf school.

About the Model

Nieve Ferguson is a junior Visual Media Arts student. She is also a sister of Sigma Pi Theta. She participated in the photoshoot because “not only did I want to support my sisters, but because these women aren’t talked about enough. They deserve their legacy to be spoken about.”

DAY 19

About the Woman

Alice Guy-Blaché was a French screenwriter, producer, and studio owner. She started as a secretary for Léon Gaumont and created her first film in 1896 at his company. The film is often recognized as the world’s first narrative film. She went on to make nearly six hundred silent films and hundreds more synchronized-sounds films in her career and even founded Solax Studios in New York.

From 1904 to 1907, Guy-Blaché ran the Paris Gaumont studio and directed countless films. In 1912, she made A Fool and His Money, one of the earliest films to have an entirely African-American cast. Her filmmaking experimented with many new elements of the burgeoning film industry including color tinting, special effects, and sound syncing. Additionally, her view of films from a narrative perspective helped shape the role of a director into what it is today.

About the Model

Ansley Moore is a freshman Theatre and Performance student. She participated in the photoshoot because “I’m always excited to see women who were overlooked in most history classes get a chance to have their stories told and getting to help share their stories ignites the actor and feminist inside me for the same reason.”

DAY 20

About the Woman

Hannah Höch was a German Dada artist. She is considered one of the co-founders of the Berlin Dada Group and originator of the photomontage style. She is the only known female Dada artist of her time and used her work to dismantle ideas of gender norms and take on political issues.

Höch began training at the School of Applied Arts in Berlin-Charlottenburg when she was twenty-three, which is where she was first introduced to the Berlin Dada club. She supported herself with a job at a magazine publisher to pay for her schooling and work on her art. She wanted to challenge and explore the concept of the “New Woman”, an economically and sexually liberated woman of the era. This artistic emphasis combined with her presentation as a relatively androgynous, bisexual woman singled her out among the Dadaists as different.

About the Model

Grace Griffin is a junior IDIP student. She is also a sister of Sigma Pi Theta. She participated in the photoshoot because “I love Herstory and I think the theme this year is so great! I would love to help showcase forgotten women in history!”

DAY 21

About the Woman

Grace O’Malley, or Gráinne Ní Mháille, was a 16th century Irish chieftain of the Ó Máille clan, also known as “The Pirate Queen”. She became queen of the clan following her father’s death, taking command of hundreds of men and ships. She is known for defying Queen Elizabeth’s rule for over forty years in an attempt to preserve Ireland’s independence.

O’Malley married twice in her life, each time increasing her own power as a leader and building allies. Her feats as a ruler become legendary as she lead her troops across sea and land while maintaining multiple castles and bearing four children. She is also famous for a meeting with Queen Elizabeth during which she refused to bow, therefore not recognizing Elizabeth as a queen. The “pirate” part of her nickname comes from her clan’s continuous plundering of English ships when they entered her territory.

About the Model

Zoe Fenn is a freshman Visual Media Arts student. She participated in the photoshoot because “I think this is a very important and creative endeavor to be a part of.”

DAY 22

About the Woman

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (English: Sister Joan Agnes of the Cross) was a Hieronymite nun in mid-17th century Mexico, then known as “New Spain.” She was an almost entirely self-taught scholar, poet, philosopher, composer, and feminist of her time. Many recognize her as the first published feminist of the New World.

Sor Juana became a nun around age 19 citing reasons including a “total disinclination to marriage” and a hope “to have no fixed occupation which might curtail [her] freedom to study.” In her time as a nun, she wrote and studied voraciously, churning out poetry, essays, and plays in multiple languages. However, her outspoken nature and tendency to challenge societal norms brought a lot of criticism. The Bishop condemned her in 1694, forcing her to sell her entire library of books, and focus the rest of her life on charity.

About the Model

Ana Rosal is a junior Marketing student. She is also a member of Sigma Pi Theta. She participated in the photoshoot because she feels that it’s a cool concept that sets Sigma apart from other organizations on campus.

DAY 23

About the Woman

Emma Gatewood, famously known as “Grandma Gatewood”, was the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail by herself. In 1955, at age 67, this mother of 11 children, grandmother of many more, and survivor of domestic abuse packed up a homemade knapsack, put on Keds tennis shoes, and began her journey.

Within a year of her first hike, Gatewood became the only person to hike the Appalachian Trail twice and she hiked it a third time at age 75. Her initial hike gained a lot of support from the media and inspired a renewed interested in extreme hiking especially among women. It came out many years later through journals and stories provided by her children that she had survived 30 years of domestic violence before she was granted a divorce and found solace in hiking. She has also hiked the Oregon Trail and was involved in establishing the Buckeye Trail in her home state of Ohio.

About the Model

Julia Wu Saukkonen is a senior Visual Media Arts student. She is also a member of Sigma Pi Theta. I participated because it’s important to recognize the accomplishments of the powerful women who have come before me. Emma Gatewood was a survivor, both of abuse and on the Appalachian trail. This strength is inspiring to me and I hoped I could honor her in this photo shoot.

DAY 24

About the Woman

Rosalind Franklin was an English chemist and x-ray crystallographer. While working as a research associate in the biophysics unit at King’s College London, she discovered there were two types of DNA. This discovery led to a better understanding of x-ray diffraction photos. She is particularly famous for Photo 51, an image of DNA that provided the essential data for understanding its physical structure.

Prior to her work on DNA, Franklin studied the porosity of coal, which provided the basis of her PhD thesis. After she left King’s College, she worked at Birkbeck College using x-ray crystallography to study RNA viruses. She worked on structural virology right up until her passing at age 37 of ovarian cancer, leaving behind important research that would affect modern virology. Watson and Crick, the scientists who received the Nobel Prize for their discovery of the DNA double helix, acknowledged only after her death how pivotal Franklin’s data was to their discovery.

About the Model

Erin Hattamer is a senior Visual Media Arts student. She is also a member of Delta Kappa Alpha. She participated in the photoshoot because she “loves empowering women with stories of other great women.”

DAY 25

About the Woman

Margaret Keane is an American artist known for her paintings of people and animals with distinctly large eyes. She was one of the most popular and commercially successful artists of the 1960s. However, for years, her husband took credit for her paintings without her knowledge. After their divorce, she filed a defamation suit against him and won when the judge asked for a “paint-off” between the the two of them.

Keane attended the Traphagen School of Design in New York City at age 18. She married soon after and had a daughter. They eventually divorced and she met Walter Keane, who she married and who began to sell her paintings as his own. The relationship quickly turned abusive. He even sometimes locked her in the studio forcing her to paint work for him to sell. When she won the case against him in court, she was granted $4 million, which she would never see because he had spent all of the money, but she said she truly only cared about earning the credit she deserved. Her story was dramatized for the 2014 Tim Burton film Big Eyes.

About the Model

Jessica Meyer is a sophomore Theatre and Performance student. She participated in the photoshoot because “we see the potential for women of our generation to fill the shoes of women who fought for our rights before us. This is how we honor them, by finding them in ourselves and continuing their work.”

DAY 26

About the Woman

Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American film actress and inventor. She starred in several successful films during MGM’s “Golden Age” in the 1930s and ‘40s. In 1942, she was granted a patent for an invention developed with the help of a friend, composer George Antheil. The invention was a “secret communication system” originally intended for military use against the Nazis, but became the foundation for modern wireless communication.

Lamarr started her film career in Czechoslovakia before moving to the United States in her 20s. In her free time from films, she tinkered with inventing although she had no formal training. When she learned that radio-controlled torpedoes frequently jammed, she devised a solution involving a frequency-hopping signal that could not be tracked or jammed. She wanted to join the National Inventors Council, but was told she would make a greater contribution the war as a pinup than as an inventor. Her technology was not used by the military until the 1960s, but is now incorporated into modern systems like Bluetooth, CDMA, and Wi-Fi.

About the Model

Surrey Houlker is a senior BFA Theatre Education and Performance student. She participated in the photoshoot because she had known about the shoot in past years and was excited by this year’s theme of unknown ladies.

DAY 27

About the Woman

Maud Wagner was an American circus performer and tattoo artist. She was the first known female tattoo artist in the United States. As a contortionist and aerialist, having her own body covered in tattoos added a layer of intrigue to her performance. She specialized in stick-and-poke tattoos, although the tattooing machine was already in widespread use.

Wagner was born in Kansas and began working in traveling circuses and world fairs during her early 20s. In 1904, she met Gus Wagner, a well-known tattoo artist, who taught her the art and gave her her first tattoo. They married and had a daughter named Lovetta to whom she passed on the trade. During Wagner’s life, tattooing was heavily looked down upon, especially for a woman, but she continued to hone her talent and died one of the most famous old school tattoo artists in America.

About the Model

Isabella Kochakian is a freshman Visual Media Arts student. She is also a sister of Xi Gamma Nu. She participated in the photoshoot because When women work together, we create greatness! I believe that it is important to showcase these women from the past and incorporate them in a present sense. Forgotten or not, every woman should be given the opportunity to share their story. I am very grateful to be a part of something that shines a light on women that you don’t see in a textbook. In the end…we’re all just a bunch of badass ladies trying to make a difference in the world; Let’s celebrate it!”

DAY 28

About the Woman

Captain Niloofar Rahmani is the first female fixed-wing pilot in the Afghan Air Force. She is also the first female pilot in the Afghan military since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. In 2015, she was awarded the U.S. State Department’s International Women of Courage Award.

Rahmani grew up in Afghanistan dreaming of becoming a pilot. She enlisted in the Afghan Air Force Officer Training Program in 2010 at age 18 and graduated in 2012 as a Second Lieutenant. When her success hit the media, she and her family began receiving death threats from those who disapproved of her ambitions as a woman. She applied for asylum when she began to feel unsafe at work citing harassment from her male colleagues and her family in Afghanistan has had to relocate several times. The Afghan Government requested that the U.S. reject her request for asylum claiming she lied about the harassment, but she was finally granted it in April of 2018.

About the Model

Maryam Fassihi is a junior Visual Media Arts student. She is also a member of Sigma Pi Theta. She participated in the photoshoot because ”The purpose of this photoshoot and Sigma’s HerStory Month is so powerful and important for everyone, no matter their identity, to participate in and support. This photoshoot not only has been an amazing way to uplift women, but it has allowed me to connect with a part of my Middle Eastern heritage as I got to represent the incredible Niloofar Rahmani. It was such a personal experience but also an amazing collaborative project with many inspiring women.”

Notes from the Directors:

I had the honor of directing this shoot last year alongside the amazing Jenna Lennon and it is the project that I am the most proud of in my time at Emerson. I feel so grateful for the opportunity to direct it once again. For me, this shoot is important because it goes beyond telling these women’s stories. Putting Emerson students in these roles allows you to see yourself and the people you know as representations of greatness. As artists, we are here to tell these stories, but we are also living the stories that will someday be told. Thank you for taking the time to read them.

-Rebecca Johnson, Writing, Literature, and Publishing ‘19

The Herstory photoshoot has been such an amazing and rewarding experience to work on. I have never directed anything artistic on a scale as large as this, and it was one of the most eye opening and fun experiences I’ve ever had. I am so glad we were able to share so many stories of women who have #ForgedyetForgotten, and especially proud that this shoot was put on by so many amazing women at Emerson. I hope you enjoy both the stunning images and unforgettable stories of some of the most influential yet unknown women in history!

-Alexa Bodner, Political Communications ‘21

It has been an absolute blast working on this project. Even with the challenges that came every step of the way, I would not change it for the world. I am humbled and proud to highlight the stories of powerful women who were forgotten by time. I hope through this, people can see the impact women have had in every major historical movement. Special thanks to the most impactful and empowering woman out there, my mom, Heidi. 

-Jennifer Petrilli, Wriing, Literature, and Publishing ‘21


Monika Davis (Photographer) is a senior Journalism student who started photography when she was in high school as a hobby. At Emerson, she’s photographed for Atlas Magazine, the Berkeley Beacon, and is currently the editorial director for Your Magazine. She feels like HerStory month is an important acknowledgment of women’s history and is proud to work with other female leaders on campus for this project.

Lily Walsh (Photographer) is a sophomore Visual Media Arts student with a minor in Photography. She has been taking photos since middle school and started getting into darkroom and portrait photography when she was in high school. She is the current photo editor and director for Your Magazine. She loved being involved in a women’s shoot and working with great people for an important cause. It was fun for her to learn about all of the amazing women portrayed in the project and to pose the models accordingly.

Maryam Fassihi (Lighting and Photography Assistant) is a junior Visual Media Arts student

Brilee Carey (Behind-the-Scenes Videographer) is a sophomore Journalism student.

Shawna Konieczny (Costumes) is a freshman Writing, Literature, and Publishing student.

Josie Finn (Costumes) is a freshman Visual Media Arts student.

Bailey Bouchard (Hair/Makeup) is a senior Marketing student.

Madison Umina (Hair/Makeup) is a sophomore Marketing student.

Jen Scully (Hair/Makeup) is a sophomore Journalism student.

Grace Griffin (Hair/Makeup) is a junior IDIP student.

Molly LeGrant (Hair/Makeup) is a senior Visual Media Arts student.

Mairead Ganley (General Crew) is a senior Visual Media Arts student.

Ana Rosal (Costume Collection) is a senior Marketing student. 

Rachel Fendt (Costume Collection) is a senior Comedic Arts student.