Life would suck without Kelly Clarkson.
And not only because rocking out to her songs is so often exactly the cure for what ails us. Rather, from the moment she assured her place in pop culture history by becoming the first-ever winner of American Idol, a show that became so pervasive that TV just refuses to quit it, Clarkson has remained an inimitably appealing pop star—an artist who has never quite conformed to industry expectations or violated her own personal principals just because it would’ve been easier to not make waves, or to stay silent so as not to offend.
It’s no wonder she counts stealth feminist Jane Austen among her personal heroes.
Austen’s heroines “are always these heroic, intelligent, confident women,” Clarkson reflected to the U.K.’s Independent in 2015 ahead of the release of Piece by Piece, the final album of her Idol-mandated contract with RCA Records. “For that time, that was very risky. Women didn’t have a voice then. She’s actually almost political for her time. Very daring.”
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