To me she was. She had her own hero's journey trying to get the droids and the DS plans to Obi Wan. That is not to say that I did not identify with the journey Luke was on or later the journey Anakin went through. As a young girl, Leia was like no other female character I had seen before. Before her, I watched Linda Carter in the Wonder Woman tv show and the only other female character I remember seeing most was Daisy Duke. Leia went straight to the head of the line. She was the reason I fell in love with Star Wars.