International Women's Day 2013

To mark this year's International Women's Day we asked an actor, a director and a writer: Who is your female idol?

Roxana Silbert – Director, A Life of Galileo

Roxana SilbertI would put forward a radio producer, Marilyn Imrie, whom I met when I did a bit of radio. She was really ahead of the game – a woman in a very senior position at the BBC as programmer of Radio 4 drama.

She is a great role model because she is truly herself. She wears very flamboyant velvet and is sweet and loving and warm and funny and gregarious and feminine.

She's a real iron fist in a velvet glove. She has managed to retain a real sense of her feminine self and feel very comfortable in positions of authority. She's a great role model of how you can be very much yourself and still run things.

Tanika Gutpa – Writer, The Empress

Tanika GuptaThe person who influenced me was someone I never met - Toni Morrison. Reading her novels when I was about 15/16. I loved all the magical realism, I loved the fact that they were women, and they were telling women-centred stories. The book for me that kick-started it all off was Beloved by Toni Morrison. It's an amazing book.

Later I saw Top Girls by Caryl Churchill and thought, 'I could do this'. Even though I loved writing I quickly realised that I wasn't cut out to be a novelist, but seeing Caryl Churchill's work was quite a life changing event for me.

You need to have role models, otherwise why would you even attempt to do things? Generally people need to see things that have been done by others.

Charlotte Cornwell – Actor, Hamlet

Charlotte CornwellVanessa Redgrave. I don't really have to say any more!

I remember seeing her Rosalind [in As You Like It] when I was quite young. She has what to me is greatness in that she can be absolutely beyond anything and she can be awful, just very occasionally. But when you think of all the great things she's done..

There isn't a word to describe when she's 'on it'. She did a little cameo in a movie the other day, I wasn't expecting to see her , and she's completely mesmerizing and so beautiful. She just lives in the character and she's inspiring.

I don't think there's been anyone in my lifetime to match her. She's without comparison.

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