Iconic You – paying homage to great female pioneers

08.03.2018 | Text Christina Betting | Photo Benjamin Pohle

Iconic You: Model transformed into Frida Kahlo
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To coincide with International Women’s Day, She’s Mercedes is presenting a short film to commemorate inspirational adventurers, scientists and artists. Its message is: Nothing is Impossible – Discover the Pioneer in You.

Bertha Benz, Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart – strong-willed, courageous women have been making history across the world for a very long time. Such women have always been at the forefront of ground-breaking technologies, scientific progress and revolutionary art – sometimes in public, but often behind closed doors.

To mark International Women’s Day, She’s Mercedes is paying homage to these and other exceptional women and their pioneering spirit in a short film entitled Iconic You. Using time-lapse photography and make-up artistry, it follows the transformation of a young woman into a series of iconic figures from the past – and delivers a reminder that every woman has the potential to shape the world.


Initially lacking a fixed date, International Women’s Day has been celebrated on 8 March since the early 1920s. Among its campaign objectives are equal pay, better access to education, and an end to child marriage. The enduring observance of International Women’s Day around the world bears witness to women’s ability to make their collective voice heard with courage, persistence and success. We look back at the lives of several inspirational women who exerted a defining influence on our world.

Bringing visions to life

In August 1888, the weather in the south of Germany was very hot. Smeared with oil and caked in dust, but nonetheless proud, Bertha Benz had just arrived in Pforzheim after a more than 60-mile trip in the patent motor car invented by her husband Carl. Buoyed by a firm belief in herself and the technology, Bertha embarked on the journey without her husband’s knowledge. Neither the long distance, nor the scarcity of fuel, blocked valves or frayed cables could thwart her pioneering ambition to complete her test drive.

Bertha Benz was the first woman in the world to drive a car. She was the mother of five children, a businesswoman and a visionary. A woman behind the wheel of a car? Although unthinkable for society at large, it was certainly no hindrance for Bertha Benz.

Breaking with conventions

Another continent, a different field, but similar fortitude – Frida Kahlo was born in Mexico in 1907. Following an accident in early adulthood, she was unable to leave her bed without a full body cast or wheelchair. Painting served as a distraction from pain and later as a means of coming to terms with a difficult marriage to Diego Rivera. Frida was a highly talented rebel. Despite her physical suffering, she created art that continues to inspire generations of people even today. Kahlo fearlessly disregarded convention and was a source of aggravation. She was a rule-breaker who determinedly followed her own pathway.

Iconic You: Woman was transformed into Amelia Earhart

Daring the impossible

Self-assurance came naturally to Amelia Earhart as well. In 1932, the American became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic – while breaking the world record with a flight time of just 13 hours. “Women, like men, should try to do the impossible,” insisted Earhart, “And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.” In 1937, Amelia was reported missing after taking off from California for another record-breaking flight, this time around the world following an equatorial route. Stories still persist that the brave women’s rights activist and aviation pioneer survived the journey on a remote island.

Iconic You: Woman in her own clothes

Iconic You

Self-confident women exert a captivating influence and inspire subsequent generations through their courage to discover and develop their talents in a quest to attack male strongholds and overcome social barriers. The short film Iconic You recalls the lives of exceptional women and delivers a clear message: you too have the power to go your own way and leave a mark on the world.

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