[In celebration of the 10th issue of She Shreds, we will be posting some of our favorite selections from across our print catalog throughout April. The feature was originally published in the first issue of She Shreds Magazine, October 2012 and has been edited for timely accuracy. Subscribe here and receive your copy of She Shreds’ 10th issue when it is released later this month!]
The world is furnished with an unending array of boxes in which we place everyone from our dearest confidants to our most distant celebrities. The guitarist box is an exciting one — and, perhaps, a little bigger than we knew. Here are three famous women who, unbeknownst to most of us, fit right in.
Apparently this athletic powerhouse tears it up both on and off the courts. In 2012 Williams became the first person in history to complete a career Golden Grand slam in both singles and doubles, and in 2015 was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s sportsperson of the year. Widely regarded as one of the best players of all time, we’re proud to claim Williams as one of our own: The tennis superstar keeps a stash of five Stratocasters and used to jam with her sister in a band. “Venus played the bass, I’d play the guitar,” Williams told a reporter for The Independent. “We played lots of rock music, punk. Venus did more alternative stuff. It was fun.”
Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo
Consistently ranked by Forbes as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the world and respected for her emphasis on corporate responsibility as well as pushing Pepsi toward healthier products, Nooyi’s been kicking ass and taking names at a global level for a while. And somehow, between the board meetings and international acquisitions, one of the world’s most powerful women finds time to pick up the old electric guitar. It’s rumored that she even plays the occasional riff at less formal company parties. How badass is that? About as badass, we’d say, as Nooyi’s shreddy roots: She played lead guitar in an all-female rock band in Madras, India, during her college days.
Actor, model and musician
Widely recognized for her performance as Leeloo in “The Fifth Element” and for starring in “Resident Evil,” Jovovich is known primarily for her acting talents, but her performance roots are equally—if not more so—in music. Jovovich was signed to SBK Records at the ripe age of 13, progressing until she released “The Divine Comedy,” a critically acclaimed folk album, in 1994. She went on to play lead guitar in the experimental grunge band Plastic Has Memory, which had some well-reviewed shows in New York and Los Angeles before dropping off the map. These days, it looks like Jovovich’s style is a little more electronic.
Secretary of Homeland Security
It’s fitting, we suppose, that the head of the Department of Homeland Security would be the toughest person to get personal information on. Because of that, the only thing we can tell you is that Napolitano “became quite accomplished” at guitar as a kid. As much as we’d like to imagine that one of our country’s most powerful women still shreds once in a while, we figure taking liberties on the truthiness of personal details on the head of DHS isn’t the best idea. Here’s an interesting tidbit, though: Some hubbub erupted back in August 2011 when the DHS, under Napolitano’s guidance, raided Gibson’s factories for their alleged usage of illegally harvested rare wood. Sad irony, cried some guitar enthusiasts, seeing as how first lady Michelle Obama had gifted Carla Bruni-Sarkozy with a Gibson Hummingbird in 2009. Hmm.
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