Hello folks! I am Chloe, a 24-year-old dyspraxic and dyslexic woman from the UK. I, along with many other neurodivergent women, received my diagnoses in adulthood after years of emotional, academic and social difficulties which I could never explain. For my entire life, I was the odd woman out and had to work twice as hard to achieve average grades with little to no support. Once I received my diagnosis, I discovered that it is common for neurodivergent women to get diagnosed late, that is if they are lucky enough to even have access to a diagnostic pathway. I realised that there is little awareness of neurodiversity in general and that most celebrities or depictions that are out there tend to be male. As a result, I made it my mission to seek out a list of famous neurodivergent women to raise awareness but also so that neurodivergent girls and those who suspect they may have a form of neurodiversity can realise that their condition is not a weakness, but a strength. In the future, I will produce a similar blog post around fictional neurodivergent women. Without further ado, here is your list of 13 Famous Neurodivergent Women!
Having been diagnosed with Tourette’s as a child, Billie Eilish is now one of the most successful musical artists of 2019 and I am sure will have more to come this year! She has reached number 1 in the UK and US charts with her album becoming the pest performing of 2019 in the US. In addition to her chart success, Billie Eilish has won some prestigious awards including five Grammys, two AMA’s, two Guinness World Records and three MTV Video Music Awards. Billie is absolutely rocking it at the moment as she is the youngest person and the first woman to win the four main Grammy categories in the same year!
DYSPRAXIA/DEVELOPMENTAL CO-ORDINATION DISORDER
Cara was diagnosed with dyspraxia in childhood and has opened up in interviews about it as well as her mental health. She is widely known as a model even having won model of the year at the British Fashion Awards. That’s not all she is known for though as she also has a successful career as an actress having been in blockbusters like Suicide Squad. Cara is also a musician and has her own recorded albums as well as a published book!
Carrie Ann Inaba is an American TV personality, dancer, singer and actress who has opened up on a talk show she presents about how Tourette’s affected her as a child. She has featured in many dance-related TV shows including Dancing With The Stars and has appeared in one of the Austin Powers movies. Carrie Ann founded her own video production company EnterMediArts Inc. She has also been a producer on Broadway.
Cher has got to be one of the most famous names on our list and one of the oldest too, and there is no denying that she is one of the most successful pop artists in history. She has graced our screens in movies like Moonstruck and in more recent years appeared in a Mamamia sequel. Despite her fame, you might not know that Cher has both dyscalculia and dyslexia. It was difficult to find any celebrities with dyscalculia, but in this instance, Cher shone bright like the star she is!
Courtney Love is famously known for her marriage to Kurt Cobain but has also been successful in her own right as the lead singer of the band Hole. Courtney was diagnosed with autism at age 9 and now at age 64 has been dubbed “one of the most influential singers in alternative culture of the last 30 years” by NME. On top of her career in music, she has had success in acting and is also a writer. Fun fact – Love has been involved in writing manga books!
Daryl Hannah is an actress who has appeared in classic films such as Blade Runner and Splash. Despite her fame, one thing you may not know is that Daryl Hannah is autistic. Autistic females seem to be trailblazers when it comes to the environment as much like Greta Thunberg, Hannah is an active environmental activist. There is much more to this woman than her fame and she is a brilliant role model!
Many of you may remember Emma Watson gracing our screens in the film adaptation of Harry Potter playing the role of Hermione Granger. More recently you may recognise her as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. What you may not know about her though is that Emma was diagnosed in childhood with ADHD. Despite this, she is a successful actress, has a degree in English literature and is a UN Women Goodwill ambassador. In addition to winning awards and having success from a young age, Emma is also known for modelling.
You may know Florence Welch as the singer behind Florence and the Machine – the award-winning, chart-topping band that has had great success in both the UK and the US. What you may not know though is that Florence has both dyspraxia and dyslexia, not unlike myself. Florence sees her dyspraxia as a strength for her career as a creative and a musician. She has even publicly mentioned being proud to be dyspraxic.
Jennifer Aniston’s difficulty in school, her lack of support and the low self-esteem this caused hits close to home as her experience in this area are very similar to mine. Jennifer has dyslexia but was not diagnosed until her early 20’s. Getting diagnosed late or in adulthood is a regular pattern with neurodiversity, particularly when it comes to women, and it seems not even household names like Jennifer are immune to the lack of awareness and support we receive. Despite her difficulties, Jennifer is now a household name bursting into fame with her role in Friends and has been one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood!
Kiera Knightley is a well-loved actress who is widely known for her role as Elizabeth Swan in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. She has had much success in the world of acting and has won many awards, but she got into acting in a rather unique way. Kiera has dyslexia and as such this caused her to struggle greatly with reading. To aid and incentivise Kiera into learning to read, her parents made a deal that upon learning to read, they would higher her an agent for acting. The rest is history!
Paris Hilton is a media personality, businesswoman, fashion designer and general entertainer (acting, singing, modelling etc). She has had many scandals and many successes. She has been involved in alternative projects such as ‘Repo the genetic opera’ and has in her time also been referred to as “New York’s leading It Girl”. One thing people may not know about her is that she has ADD, she does not let this get in her way and remains a hugely successful woman to this day!
Simone Biles is a 22-year-old American gymnast who boasts 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, some of which are gold! Some people have tried questioning her success due to the fact she is on prescription medication in relation to her ADHD but she clapped back loud and proud to defend herself and others with ADHD helping to fight stigmas they face. Simone is certainly an inspirational role model for young women worldwide and is rocking it like a Queen!
Solange Knowles is the sister of Beyoncé but is a successful artist in her own right having released her very own album. In addition to this Solange has appeared in films, was a backup dancer for Destiny’s Child and is a Grammy award winner. She has also won a Glamour Award for Woman of the Year and was the first person to win the Billboard Women in Music Impact Award. One lesser-known fact about Solange is that she has ADD. As Beyoncé’s sister, it may seem like she has big shoes to fill, but I think she is a Queen in her own right!