Hard to say about role models. Some place great value in them and others not so much. When I was a kid, some of my peers want to be the next Willie Mays or Hank Aaron. That was OK, but there was little to be transferred if you turned out to be, say, a truck driver.
I think where the concept is significant is if you do, or do not, see yourself replicated in certain arenas. Before Obama no Black person has ever been president. Before Dr. Mae Jemison there were scant women in space and no Black women. Before Michele Mouton, no woman had ever won a World Rally Championship event. Before Mary Barra, no woman had ever been CEO of a major auto manufacturer. If you connected with one of those, or others, it could prove to be useful.
Role models also work in reverse. I think my first wife and I both had warped views of how marriage is supposed to work based on the experiences of our parents. Consequently there were a number of aspects that never got resolved.
Anyway, the concept is a bit of a crap shoot because what may seem good and appropriate at one point may choose to be totally off the mark later. For example, Caitlyn Jenner represents that datapoint…