Coco Chanel was a French fashion designer and founder of the Chanel brand. She is credited with replacing the corseted silhouette as the feminine standard of style with a sporty, casual chic. Her work as a designer redefined the fashionable woman in the era post World War I. She also played a vital role in revolutionizing jewelry, handbags, and fragrance.
The veteran actress of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Olivia de Havilland shot to fame with Gone With the Wind and later established her cinematic career with movies like To Each His Own and The Heiress. Her rivalry with her sister and the court battle against a powerful studio also made headlines.
Olga Kurylenko is a Ukrainian-French model and actress. She gained international recognition after playing a Bond girl in the 2008 film Quantum of Solace. Olga Kurylenko serves as an inspiration to many young girls as she overcame her difficult childhood to become the face of popular brands like Clarins and Bebe.
Brigitte Bardot is a French former singer and actress. One of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s, Bardot remains a major pop culture icon despite quitting the entertainment industry in 1973. Bardot is credited with popularizing the bikini. She also popularized the town of Armação dos Búzios and the city of St. Tropez in Brazil.
Success came early to Canadian singer and songwriter Avril Lavigne. At fourteen, she performed with Canadian icon, Shania Twain, and at sixteen, bagged a two-album recording contract with Arista Records. Her debut album Let Go released soon, became a huge success, made her a teen idol and earned Grammy Award nominations. With subsequent albums, her popularity has only increased.
Considered a great saint and a symbol of French unity, Joan of Arc led the French army to the watershed victory over the English forces in Orleans in 1429. In 1430, she was captured by the Anglo-Burgundians while defending Compiegne. She was burned at the stake at the age of 19 in 1431. Pope Benedict XV canonised her in 1920.
12 Eva Green
French actress, Eva Green, gained instant fame in 2003 with her first film The Dreamers, directed by the eminent Bernardo Bertolucci. Subsequently she went on to act in a number of notable films like Kingdom of Heaven, Casino Royale, Dark Shadows, Home for Peculiar Children, Franklyn, Cracks and Proxima. She has also acted in television series like Penny Dreadful and Luminaries.
14 Léa Seydoux
Léa Seydoux is a critically acclaimed French actress who gained international recognition after playing a Bond girl in Spectre. Also known for her modeling career, Seydoux has posed for popular magazines, such as Vogue, L'Officiel, and Numéro. She became the face of Prada's 2013 and 2014 campaign for its fragrances.
Algerian-French dancer, actress and model, Sofia Boutella garnered fame with the hugely successful international commercial campaign for Nike. The success paved way for her to become a star dancer with Rihanna and Madonna. Later, she starred in films like StreetDance 2 and Star Trek Beyond. Earlier, she was a part of French national gymnastics team.
French singer and actress, Vanessa Paradis, became a celebrity at the age of 14 with the French song Joe le taxi in 1987. She tasted further success with English songs like Be My Baby and many other French songs. She has also acted in several French films and has modelled regularly for high-end fashion products by Chanel like perfume and handbags.
Wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, Brigitte Macron was, interestingly, her husband’s literature and theater teacher at Lycée la Providence. She was the chief strategist during Macron’s 2016-2017 election. Twenty-four years Macron’s senior, Brigitte, was to be the official “First Lady” of France, until a signature campaign thwarted such plans.
18 Emma Mackey
French-British actor Emma Mackey is best known for her portrayal of Maeve Wiley in the Netflix series Sex Education. Some of her upcoming projects include Emily Brontë’s biopic and the thriller Death on the Nile. She has also appeared in the TV projects Badger Lane and Summit Fever.
19 Carla Bruni
Carla Bruni is an Italian-French fashion model and singer-songwriter. She gained international recognition after marrying the then president of France Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008. Also known for her political activities, philanthropy, and charity work, Bruni established the Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Foundation in 2009; the foundation helps promote access to knowledge for all. She also supports organizations, such as PETA.
Kathie Lee Gifford achieved celebrity status by working as a television presenter. She then became a singer-songwriter and author, cementing her place in the entertainment industry. Also known for her charity work, Kathie serves as an ambassador for Childhelp, a non-profit organization working towards preventing child abuse.
22 Edith Piaf
French actress and model Pom Klementieff is internationally known for her role as Mantis in Marvel Cinematic Universe films. She had a difficult childhood and struggled a lot in her youth. She started acting when she was 19 and appeared in many French films. After establishing herself in French cinema, she made her Hollywood debut in 2013.
French actor Mélanie Laurent shot to fame with her Étoiles d'Or-winning role in Dikkenek and her César Award-winning performance in Don't Worry, I'm Fine. She made her Hollywood debut with Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, and was also seen in Now You See Me. She has also released a music album.
French politician and lawyer Marine Le Pen, daughter of politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, has been the president of the National Rally since 2011. She is also serving as the member of the National Assembly for Pas-de-Calais's 11th constituency since 2017. She was previously a member of the European Parliament.
Charlotte Gainsbourg, daughter of French singer Serge Gainsbourg and English actor Jane Birkin, made her singing debut at age 12. She is best known for her César Award-winning roles in La Bûche and An Impudent Girl. Her performance in Antichrist won her an award at the Cannes Film Festival.
French actress Catherine Deneuve is considered one of the greatest European actresses. Beginning her career at the age of 12, she gained international prominence with her role in the movie The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. She is a 14-time César Award nominee and the recipient of a David di Donatello award. She is multilingual and speaks fluent French, Italian, and English.
Isabella of France, also known as the She-Wolf of France, was the Queen of England as the wife of King Edward II. She was known for her diplomatic skills, intelligence, and beauty. Her marriage was a troubled one and she probably had an affair with Roger Mortimer. It is believed that Isabella then arranged the murder of Edward II.
Golshifteh Farahani is an Iranian actress renowned for her achievements on the international stage. She is one of the few Iranian actresses to have worked in Hollywood films and many of her films have received international recognition. Farahani has also been advocating for the eradication of tuberculosis in her home country and often gets involved in environmental causes as well.
37 Leslie Caron
38 Tina Kunakey
Tina Kunakey is a French model. As a young woman, she signed a contract with Mad Models Management, a Spanish modeling agency, and took part in many assignments. She has also appeared in a few TV series and music videos. She is married to actor Vincent Cassel and has one child with him.
Cheyenne Brando was a French model and daughter of legendary American actor, Marlon Brando. Troubled by drug addiction and bouts of depression throughout her teenage and adult life, Cheyenne also struggled to cope with personal losses, such as the death of her partner Dag Drollet, who was fatally shot by her half-brother Christian. Brando committed suicide at age 25.
42 Élodie Yung
Colette was a French author who received a nomination for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. She is remembered for her novella Gigi, which inspired the 1958 movie and the 1973 musical of the same name. Her life and work have inspired several films, including the 2018 biographical drama film Colette, where Keira Knightley played the title role.
Marie Curie and Pierre Curie’s daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, herself a brilliant scientist, won the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with her husband, Joliot-Curie, for discovering artificial radioactivity. She was also one of the first three female French government members. She tragically died of leukemia caused by exposure to radiation.
Christine Lagarde is a French politician, businessperson, and lawyer. She is the current president of the European Central Bank (ECB), a position she has been holding since 1 November 2019. Prior to this, she was the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is the first woman to head both the ECB and the IMF.
50 Jade Jagger
Jewelry and home designer Jade Jagger, daughter of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, has also been a model. She launched the fashion brand Jade Inc. and a lifestyle concept called Jezebel. She has also worked for Garrard and designed luxury apartments in New York and Mumbai.