Previous research has shown that exposure to successful role models can restore performance that had been impaired by stereotype threat, and that some role models are more effective than others. The present research examined the effects of role model deservingness on women's mathematics test performance after being placed under stereotype threat. In Experiment 1, a woman who attained success by herself (deserved) proved a more effective role model than an equally likable and successful woman whose success was handed to her (not deserved). In Experiment 2, women role models proved more effective at combating stereotype threat when their successes were attributable to internal-stable (deserved) than external-unstable (not deserved) causes, an effect that was partially mediated by reduction in extra-task thinking. The results are seen as having implications for theories of stereotype threat and causal attribution. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.