Dr. Sarah Harding from The Lost World: Jurassic Park petting a baby dinosaur

5 Fictional Role Models That I Had As A Kid

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Fictional role models are a part of growing up.

Everyone has those certain characters you grew up with that tweak something in your personality you wish was your own. As I’m sure many people with older siblings experienced, I watched some shows that were probably not appropriate for my age. You experience older storylines and characters while still seeing characters meant for your younger age. Here are some of my favorite fictional role models from when I was younger and if you don’t know who they are, I highly recommend you add them to your watch list.

“How Many Sarahs Do You Think Are On This Island?”

Dr. Sarah Harding from The Lost World: Jurassic Park taught me to be self-sufficient and that knowledge was power. She went to an island full of dinosaurs by herself that her boyfriend, Dr. Ian Malcom, had even warned her about.  She went there to do research regarding the dinosaurs and their nurturing habits.  Having a strong female like this in one of my favorite movie franchises really helps instill that need to be independent. 

First Fictional Role Model, Dr. Sarah Harding sneaking around a campground in The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Credit: Universal Pictures

Dr. Sarah Harding is a very underrated character and is often forgotten by many people in regards to the franchise.  But she continues to be one of my favorite characters because of this constant search for knowledge.  Dr. Harding focuses on helping the dinosaurs that have injuries and are captured.  She is also trying to provide the world with more information on the creatures.  In doing this, she informs people of the habits and abilities that these dinosaurs have.

Dr. Sarah Harding watching a T-Rex outside of their camper window.
Credit: Universal Pictures

I still love her as a character today and hope that I will become that independent eventually.  I share her thirst for knowledge and the constant wonder of animals (and dinosaurs). One of the things that draws me to her is her outfit, dressing for success in the wild rather than the viewers’ attention. In the movies, she has a “lucky pack” backpack that saved her on multiple occasions.  So of course, I have a very similar normal and laptop backpack.  When looking at my wardrobe, there’s no question as to the fact that I got some of my fashion sense from her.

Fictional Role Models: “What’s The Sitch?”

Kim Possible is a fictional role model who taught me that sometimes you just gotta kick some butt.  For Kim Possible, anything was possible. She had everything from monsters to a human arch-nemesis to fight.  Kim always had a great relationship with her friends from school that also helped her, Ron Stoppable and Wade.  Ron is a little dorky but that never seems to deter her. And no matter how much the school bully picked on her, Kim never seemed to care.  She was in control of her own emotions and had a wonderful relationship with her whole family. 

Second fictional role model, Kim Possible.
Credit: Disney Television Animation

To this day, Kim Possible is such an incredible role model that I still love now.  My love for her has changed in the days since I first watched her.  Obviously, her character never really lost its luster as I still turn on Kim Possible episodes from Disney Plus every so often. In some ways, her story is a very believable, accidental way to becoming a spy — it doesn’t seem very realistic. She created a website for her babysitting abilities and someone who needed help contacted her instead of Team Impossible and she still came to help. While this sense of helping others has stuck with me, her influence as a spy hasn’t left a lasting effect on me. Although, I believe she has influenced my taste in movies and favorite characters as an adult.

Why Is Lasor Lipstick Not A Thing?

Charlie’s Angels leaned me towards the spies in the universe that I could look up to.

Alex, Natalie, and Dylan--the live action trio fictional role models
Credit: Columbia Pictures

Since Charlie’s Angels is a live-action movie, it feels like the characters and the jobs were more real and caused me to have a small dream of becoming a spy. Which is probably why I am so attached to Natasha Romanoff from Marvel.  Both Charlie’s Angels and Totally Spies had such strong bonds between the three female characters that they almost felt sisterly. Both groups poked fun at the fact that Clover (Totally Spies) and Dylan (Charlie’s Angels) are totally boy crazy.

Alex, Sam, and Clover--my animated trio of fictional role models

Watching these types of relationships between women always made me strive to have that type of friendship. Both groups took their missions seriously but had fun with it all while making sure everyone was ok.  Alex, Dylan, and Natalie always seem to be giving each other dating or flirting advice and telling jokes all while having a stakeout waiting for the bad guy. Alex, Clover, and Sam are just in high school which causes there to always be a moment to talk about boys, the school bully, or the latest school activity. It also didn’t hurt to imagine the fact that I could easily handle myself in a fight if needed.

Fictional Role Models: Why Not Have A Monkey Friend?

Eliza Thornberry was a fictional role model from The Wild Thornberrys that influenced my love for all animals.  She reminded me of Steve Irwin, whom I watched every time he was on TV as a kid.  I had always dreamed of living my life like Eliza who ran around in the jungle with her crazy brother, a monkey she found in the wild, and sometimes her crabby sister. 

A fourth fictional role model, Eliza Thornberry. She hangs out a camper window smiling while an elephant trails along beside her.
Credit: Nickelodeon Network

I wanted to be a zookeeper for most of my childhood in order to be able to have that much interaction with the animals I knew I could never have as pets. The fact that she can talk to animals is also a dream I thought could become a reality when I was younger. That probably explains the number of times I read books out loud to my dog when I was a child.

“I Don’t Wanna Be Anything Other Than What I’ve Been Trying To Be Lately…”

Brooke Davis from One Tree Hill is the ultimate fictional role model. She taught me to be independent and to never let anyone put you down. From her high school days of deciding to be more than just the popular cheerleader to “zero is not a size” clothing company, I have learned that nothing is out of my reach if I want it bad enough.  In fact, one day I will have my favorite quote by her tattooed on my arm,

“You’re not just a survivor, you’re a warrior.”

Fifth fictional role model, Brooke Davis, holding a red solo cup at a high school party.
Credit: Warner Bros. Television

Brooke Davis is a role model that will influence you for the rest of your life.  She challenged herself after not being proud of herself in high school to change what she didn’t like.  In fact, she went through her own confidence issues, writing on an overhead projector all the words she had thought of herself, reflected by what she thought others thought of her. She also established her own size-inclusive brand, Bros Over Clothes, so no one felt left out. 

Brooke Davis is in her adult stage at her own fashion store.
Credit: Warner Bros. Television

Brooke will always be one of my favorite fictional role models because when she makes mistakes, she will learn how to deal with them.  She taught me that no one is perfect and no one is supposed to be. You need to be yourself and not let anyone make you feel like you have to change who you are.

Their Lasting Influences

Having these strong, female, fictional role models in my life was really what helped my imagination run as a child and as an adult. With the number of spy movies and TV shows I seemed to watch as a child, it makes sense with what I tend to write in my free time. I can honestly say that my strive for knowledge, independence, curiosity, and love for animals is nurtured with these characters from my childhood. What characters made a lasting impression on you as a kid?