01/05/2012 12:13 pm ET

Nikki Haley Talks Role Models, 'Little Girl' Remark In 'Marie Claire' Interview

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), in an interview in Marie Claire published Wednesday, discussed what lessons she has learned.

She named her role models. "Mine are my mother, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Martina Navratilova, Gabby Giffords. And Joan Jett. I tell you, Joan Jett is my idol. I would just love to meet her!"

She also advised readers to choose their words carefully, reflecting on an incident last September where she called a reporter a "little girl."

"This [Charleston] Post and Courier reporter had written a very unfair story, and I was on Laura Ingraham's TV show, and I said, 'God bless that little girl,'" she told Marie Claire. "I often use 'little fella' or 'little girl'; it's a Southern thing. It's part of my personality. I didn't mean it to demean the reporter, but it is something I should not have said."

The story in question, by Renee Dudley, described at least $127,000 that Haley and other state officials spent on a week-long trip to Europe to attract companies to South Carolina.

The interview steered clear of recent political controversies surrounding Haley. The Justice Department has rejected a South Carolina voter ID law signed by Haley, saying that it makes it harder for minorities to vote. A federal judge has also blocked several provisions in an immigration enforcement law she also signed. Meanwhile, Haley has come under fire for dictating the findings of a panel tasked with deciding how the state should implement the health care reform law signed by President Barack Obama.

After backing her strongly in her 2010 run for governor, some Tea Party members have also attacked Haley over her recent endorsement of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) for president.

In the Marie Claire interview, Haley didn't speculate on her future. "I've never been one to think far into the future. If you don't plan, God has surprises that are much more fun for you," she said.