J K Rowling tops list of Britain's most influential women

Magazine editors select figures 'inspirational' to their female readers

She may lack Cheryl Cole's sway when it comes to hairstyles, or Victoria Beckham's sartorial clout, but that hasn't stopped J K Rowling from being voted Britain's most influential woman in a poll by some of the country's most powerful magazine editors.

The multimillionaire author will top a list of the 100 women who have the most influence over our lives when it is unveiled tomorrow, to mark the 100th anniversary of the National Magazine Company, whose titles including Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Company and Good Housekeeping.

Rowling's supremacy is all the more surprising given that despite her success, the 45-year-old keeps a very low profile. But Lindsay Nicholson, editor of Good Housekeeping, said: "Everyone felt J K Rowling was the one with the most influence across the widest audience. As a single parent who managed to cope and pull herself out of poverty and create a massive entertainment empire on the way, she is very inspiring."

She added: "Rowling is very careful about the way she uses her fame and is very true to herself. She didn't pursue power, fame and money in a conventional way but by writing her thoughts in a café while her baby slept."

NatMag, which was established in 1910 by the American media baron William Randolph Hearst, will hope Rowling's values resonate with the millions of women who read one of the 20 magazines that it publishes. Its best-selling title is its oldest, Good Housekeeping, which was started in 1922 and has nearly 500,000 readers.

Although beaten into top place, Cheryl Cole and Victoria Beckham are both in the top 10. Nicholson said Beckham, the former Spice Girl who has reinvented herself as a designer, was a role model who transcended the decades. "She is admired among older women for her commitment to family," she added.

The panel of editors also deemed Nigella Lawson to be influential. "She showed that curves can be fantastic and that you can love cooking as a woman because you can love it for your own sake. You can have a feminist mentality without that making you a doormat," Louise Court, editor of Cosmopolitan said. Also popular are glamour girl-turned-novelist Katie Price and Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of Kids Company charity.

NatMag toyed with making the list about powerful rather than influential women. Nicholson said: "In the end we went for influence because influential women are more the sort that our readers are interested in."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Recruitment Genius: HR Consultant

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An HR Consultant is required to join thi...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable