Texas state senator Wendy Davis announced her campaign for governor Friday, after catapulting to political stardom with her filibuster against a bill that would block abortion access for Texas women. But she’s not the only gutsy lady to be born or raised in Texas. Here are six other fierce Texas women who can welcome Davis into the sisterhood.
Ann Richards: The formidable Democratic governor focused on progressive reform and witty barbs. Although she served only one term in office before losing to George W. Bush in 1994, she championed more minorities and women in public office and helped use Texas lottery money to fund public schools. She is famous for her keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, when she said, “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”
Sissy Spacek: The Oscar-winning actress’s Texas drawl help her first role, in Terrence Malick’s 1973 crime-spree drama, Badlands. She went on to play dozens of iconic women throughout the 1980s, from Carrie in Carrie to Babe in Crimes of the Heart. In 1981, she won an Oscar for her performance as Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter.
Janis Joplin: The Texas-born rock icon couldn’t wait to get out of her home town of Port Arthur as fast as possible. “I read, I painted, I didn’t hate n*****,” she quoted as saying in the New York Times. “Man, those people back home hurt me. It make me happy to know I’m making it and they’re back there, plumbers just like they were.” Joplin fled to Haight Ashbury to join her friend’s band, and rose to stardom at the 1967 Monterey Rock Festival with “Love is Like a Ball and Chain.” She died of a drug overdose in a Los Angeles hotel in 1970 at the age of 27.
Mary Kay: Thousands of women made a living selling Mary Kay Cosmetics, but the empire started with one Texas lady with a thing for pink. By going door-to-door selling Mary Kay products, a whole generation of women who otherwise wouldn’t have worked were able to make a living. Mary Kay consultants ran their own operations and owned the products they sold, so many of them became businesswomen in their own right. Mary Kay herself was famous for her pink Cadillac, Liberace-inspired pink palace, and her penchant for diamonds.
Bonnie Parker: Parker was one half of the infamous crime duo that inspired the movie “Bonnie and Clyde.” She and Clyde Barrow went on a two-year crime spree in the early 1930s, robbing banks across the country and murdering 13 people. They were eventually gunned down by police in 1934, but their legend lives on in the 1967 movie starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty.
Molly Ivins: The satirist and columnist for the New York Times and Fort-Worth Star Tribune described herself as left-wing libertarian and made her name by employing incisive Texas-flavored metaphors. Her favorite target was George W. Bush whom she referred to as “Shrub.” Ivins died of breast cancer in 2007, but some of her best quotes live on, including this on guns: “I am not anti-gun. I’m pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We’d turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don’t ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.”