It was a big year for women in the Garden State. These 8 amazing Jersey girls accomplished quite a lot this year. From a 12-year-old literary advocate destined for a huge future, to a woman making history in politics, and a teen Olympian who made her home state proud, here’s our list of the most talked about New Jersey women of 2016.
At only 12 years old, Marley has become famous for her literary advocacy with her viral project 1,000 Black Girl Books. The West Orange tween did everything from interview Hillary Clinton, appear on Ellen and launch her own zine, Marley Mag, in conjunction with Elle.com. She also got to meet Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama. Watch out, world!
Joining Dolores Catania as one of the two new Real Housewives of New Jersey cast members for Season 7, relationship expert Siggy stood out with her outspoken views and willingness to say whatever she’s thinking, such as her infamous line, “I was born a Ferrari, I’m going out a Ferrari.” She garnered attention for starting the season with her face bandaged after plastic surgery and became a fan favorite, winning Plastic Surgeon General at the Real Housewives Awards. She also dished advice on her group podcast Just Sayin’. Though Siggy has said she’s “not sure” if she’ll return to the show, we and countless other RHONJ fans are hoping she does!
The Frenchtown based Eat Pray Love author made headlines this year first with news of her separation from her husband Jose Nunes, then with the revelation that she’d fallen in love with her female best friend, Rayya Elias. Elizabeth was also named one of Oprah’s Super Soul 100 honorees. There’s no word yet on whether her relationship with Elias will be the subject of a new memoir, but if it is, we’re sure it’ll be a riveting read.
The Washington Township native is only 22 and has already made a huge name for herself in the musical world. She was our Woman Crush Wednesday and we marveled at both her talent and her many flawless hair transformations. This year, she performed at the VMAs and her video with The Chainsmokers for their hit “Closer” topped 100 million views. Oh, and she also appeared on Today with Justin Bieber! James Corden, if you read this, we would still love to see Halsey as a guest on Carpool Karaoke!
The teen Olympian with the killer winged eyeliner wowed international audiences with her performance at the Rio Olympics as part of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, winning a silver medal for her balance beam work and a gold as part of the team. She’s even been credited with sparking a gymnastics boom in the Garden State! Post-Rio, Laurie has continued to impress us with her applause worthy Mets Game first pitch and win on Dancing with the Stars (with partner Val Chmerkovskiy).
The Englewood-based singer was all over this past year, causing a splash and starting a beauty movement with her groundbreaking makeup-free essay published in Lena Dunham‘s Lenny newsletter. Alicia also joined Miley Cyrus as two new judges on The Voice, debuted a new song, “Hallelujah,” from the film Let Me In, and sang “Empire State of Mind” in concert with Jay-Z in a pop-up Times Square performance that went viral.
Everyone’s favorite domestic guru was back in the spotlight this year with her return to television with the hilarious Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party. The show finds her and pal Snoop Dogg cooking and sharing hilarious banter and double entendres (including wearing a blinged out cheese grater necklace). Only New Jersey native Martha could serve up a show so ridiculous while still dishing out actual culinary advice. Martha also launched a line of meal preparation kits with Marley Spoon, appeared on thew new version of The $100,000 Pyramid (alongside pal Snoop) and made waves with her comment that life in prison during her jail time was “better” than what it looks like on Orange Is the New Black.