Your question frankly surprised me when I first read it. I immediately thought there are a ton of strong female role models outside of Hollywood. Upon further reflection though, I realized that the answer to your question was that Hollywood women have a bigger platform and can reach so many more people. The women outside of Hollywood are busy being strong role models along with their everyday jobs and the news generally doesn't give them as much publicity. Headlines tend to neglect our most significant female leaders and focus more on the hollywood figures who easily generate money for the media companies.
There are a number of well-known strong female role models throughout history including Joan of Arc, Amelia Earhart, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, etc. but there are a number of women people have never heard about including Andree de Jongh (saved hundreds of allied airmen from the Nazis), Martha Gellhorn (war correspondent), Frances Perkins (first female cabinet member), Susan Kare (Helped Steve Jobs make the Mac user-friendly), Aung San Suu Kyi (the Nelson Mandela of Myanmar and was on house arrest for 15 years), Bobbi Gib (ran the Boston marathon after being rejected because she was a woman), Freddie and Truus Oversteegan (lured Nazi soldiers to their deaths by seducing them), Sybil Ludington (rode twice as far as Paul Revere to warn people of the incoming British) and so many more. I'm a history major so I get jazzed about women in the past, but I'm guessing you were looking for modern day role models.
Off the top of my head, I immediately think of Malala Yousafzai who was shot by a Taliban member for advocating for women's rights in Pakistan and became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. I think of Amal Alamuddin Clooney who long before she became Mrs. George Clooney was a human rights lawyer and continues to fight for women's rights in conflict zones. I think of strong political women like Michele Obama, Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel , who no matter your politics, are powerful, dynamic, and confident women who are working to make the world better. From a media standpoint, I think of Christiane Amanpour who has covered conflicts all over the globe on a major scale for more than 30 years. I think about women in the business world like Sheryl Sandberg who is COO at Facebook and has an amazing book called Lean In that I would completely recommend. I think of Serene and Venus Williams who dominate a sport, have created multiple businesses, and has dealt with so much criticism around her gender, race, body type, and temperament with grace. Before this post become a novel, I'm going to stop and try and address your actual question again. I was having too much fun thinking of amazing women.
The crux of your question is around actually finding the strong role models, because they are definitely out there, the Hollywood stars are just in your face all the time. I think you also have to dig deeper at your definition of a role model and what you are looking for. Are you looking for someone who is an advocate for women, strong business woman, or a leader of a non-profit, because I have found plenty of role models that don't make headlines. I still think my mom is an amazing role model and I have so many role models within my company who are helping me along in my career. I have friends who are single mothers raising kids and doing wonderfully at their job who I think are role models. The women of Hollywood use their stardom to get the headlines to share their platform, but I think some of the most amazing role models are women who have never and might never make headlines.
Allison recommends the following next steps:
So pick your field and go find them if they aren't super obvious ;)
Best of luck!