12 Canadian Women To Watch In 2019

They’ll fight for women’s rights, release the biggest pop hits, whip the competition, expand our minds — and save the world.
By Katie Underwood
12 Canadian Women To Watch In 2019

Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images.

Women to Watch 2019

Bianca Andreescu

The tennis world is no stranger to wunderkinds, but it’s way better when they’re Canadian. Enter Andreescu, an 18-year-old from Mississauga who bested Venus freaking Williams and world third-ranked Caroline Wozniacki to score a spot in the final match of Auckland’s ASB Classic earlier this month. Not bogged down by her later defeat to Germany’s Julia Goerges, Andreescu is now prepping for Australian Open qualifiers in Melbourne. Make us proud, Bianca! And Serena? You’re next.

Canadian women 2019-Bianca Andreescu blows a kiss to the crowdPhoto: Hannah Peters/Getty Images.

Margaret Atwood

Last November, Atwood confirmed — on Twitter, her other preferred medium — a September 2019 birthday for The Testaments, a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. As those who’ve read the 1985 novel (and not just binged the series on Crave) will recall, it culminates with Offred in a cliffhanger of sorts. Atwood will put our worst fears to rest — or likely create more — next fall, via three female narrators.

Canadian women 2019-Margaret Atwood wearing a red scarf and black blazer stands against an orange backgroundPhoto: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Tory Burch Foundation.

Mona Awad

Her first book, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (published in 2016), was nothing sort of a sensation: It won the First Novel Award, was shortlisted for the Giller, and garnered Awad breathless buzz from publications that couldn’t get enough of her quick-witted, fictional takedown of bogus beauty standards. This June, she’ll release Bunny, a novel that tackles the cliqueyness of academia, female friendship and loneliness. You know, the light stuff.

12 Canadian Women To Watch In 2019

Ayesha Curry

She’s one-half of basketball’s most-adorable couple, mother to three almost-too-telegenic children, a cookbook author and a burgeoning lifestyle guru. But in 2019, she’ll meld her charming public personae — in the name of Ellen. Yes, Curry has signed on to develop a series with Ellen Digital centred on parenthood. Details, right now, are scant but we’re sure it’ll involve plenty of footage of the Curry kids. Cue the aww’s!

Canadian women 2019-Ayesha Curry wearing a leopard print shirt and purple lipstickPhoto: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for COVERGIRL.

Catherine McKenna

While many of Canada’s premiers will likely continue bristling at the prospect of carbon taxation, our minister of the environment and climate change will merrily continue her battle with climate change undaunted. McKenna, who once aptly noted that “women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men,” is poised to roll out the government’s new Climate Action Incentives (to offset costs of new pollution pricing on families) across four provinces in 2019. Will she face some haters? Probably, but she’s dealt with that before.

Canadian women 2019-Catherine McKenna wears a white blazer and stands smiling at the cameraPhoto: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images.

Maryam Monsef

Aside from, well, saving the planet, perhaps the most interesting portfolio in Canadian parliament belongs to Maryam Monsef. In 2018, the minister for women and gender equality (formerly the minister of the status of women) saw her file upgraded to full department status and introduced a $50 million investment to address gender-based violence across the country. This year will be similarly eventful for Monsef, who is planning to lead the charge on proactive federal pay equity legislation, roll out new resources that target on-campus assaults at post-secondary institutions, unveil the forthcoming Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Commemoration Fund, and release the “What We Heard Report” — a consultation with men and boys on how to better engage them in the fight for gender equality.

Canadian women 2019-Maryam Monsef speaks at a podiumPhoto: THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg.

Alanis Morissette

In addition to being a mom, a skilled podcaster and arguably the most-zen person on Instagram, Canada’s one-time angriest daughter has been hard at work on a new album (her “piano record”), the first in six years, which is slated for release early this year. A musical based on her seminal album Jagged Little Pill is aiming for a Broadway run at a yet-to-be-determined 2019 date. Oh, and a memoir is also in the works — but let’s not rush her.

Canadian women 2019-Alanis Morissette holds a sparkly black guitar as she stands at a microphone on stage wearing a red shirt and black leather pantsPhoto: Roberto Panucci - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images.

Sandra Oh

The eminently charming Korean-Canadian actor initially opened our hearts (doctor pun!) as Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy, but in her new role as the obsessive MI5 operative Eve Polastri on BBC America’s Killing Eve, she flat-out stops them. Fresh off her co-hosting gig at this year’s Golden Globes telecast — which featured a very Internet-friendly appearance by Oh’s parents, and their daughter’s historic win for Best Performance by an Actress in a Drama TV Series — Oh’s next big role is in the psychodrama’s forthcoming second season, delighting bingewatchers everywhere. And, well, her mom and dad.

Canadian women 2019-Sandra Oh wears a white dress with hold sleeves holding her golden globe awardPhoto: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Jessie Reyez

2018 was the year Jessie Reyez, a soulful 27-year-old Colombian-Canadian songstress from Toronto, “made it.” She earned a Juno for Breakthrough Artist and breathless accolades from the press, and her single “Figures” streamed 59 million times on Spotify. With plenty of love from the upper echelons of pop, courtesy of Elton John, Sam Smith and her homeboy Drake, and rumoured appearances on next year’s festival circuit, 2019 is shaping up to be her year, again.

Canadian women 2019-Jessie Reyez performs on stage wearing blue denim cut-offs and an orange t-shirtPhoto: Johnny Nunez/WireImage.

Vicki Saunders

In 2015, this serial entrepreneur had one goal: she’d recruit groups of 500 women to each donate $1,100 dollars to a fund that lends no-interest loans of $100,000 to five women-run companies. The result was SheEO, a Toronto-based non-profit run on a mandate of “radical generosity.” Four years later, the 54-year-old’s brainchild will continue to support 25 more women-led ventures across the Commonwealth, extending into the U.K. She’ll also launch RadGen, a program for 1,000 female high school students in Ontario. Who says women can’t have it all?

Canadian women 2019-Vicki Saunders wearing a white shirt and colourful necklacesVicki Saunders, courtesy

Christine Sinclair

Remember Rio? The glorious Olympiad where Canada’s most-athletic women put on the showing of their lives? Chief among them was Christine Sinclair, captain of Canada’s women’s soccer team, who lead her compatriots to bronze. This year — thanks to a sizeable win against Team Panama at qualifiers in October — Sinclair and co. will compete in the Women’s World Cup in France. (Fun fact: Sinclair is just seven goals shy of besting Abby Wambach’s all-time scoring record. So stay tuned for that in 2019, too.)

Canadian women 2019-Christine Sinclair running on a field wearing her red jerseyPhoto: Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Kim Thúy

In Chef Thúy’s words, Vietnamese “often display their affection more easily with food than with words.” It’s clear then, that her forthcoming first cookbook, Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen (out in April), is sure to be a real labour of love. Once the head of Montreal’s Ru de Nam restaurant — and an acclaimed novelist and lawyer before that — Thúy’s latest venture sees her combine forces with her mother and five aunts to spill their family’s cooking secrets. Thanks to Thúy (and fam), we’ll all be eating well in 2019.

Canadian women 2019-Kim Thuy looks straight-on at the camera wearing a white t-shirt against a grey-blue backgroundPhoto: Jean Francois.


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