I wouldn’t classify Rey, Holdo, Rose or Phasma as strong characters per se.
She is an exceptionally strong person. Her life on Jakku has been hard, but she is still kind to others. She believes in doing what’s right. I attribute her success using the Force to her character. She has demonstrated a strong will and determination. Where we’ve seen others profess that it cannot be done or complain that life isn’t fair, she always believes in herself and her ability to overcome the challenges. Just because she perseveres through adversity, doesn’t mean she hasn’t experienced it. From her abandonment on Jakku and hard life of a scavenger, being pursued and captured by Kylo, seeing Han killed and Finn badly injured, the unwillingness of Luke to train her, further rejection from Kylo. She just keeps going. She is like the star QB. It doesn’t matter if the previous play went poorly. There’s no time to dwell on that. Just line up and execute this play. Just play this down, and then the next. She makes the people around her better.
I have no problem with her not wanting to sit down and explain every decision to a recently demoted Poe. You think an Admiral feels obligated to hold everyone’s hand and walk them through everything just to get their approval?
She is a villain, but is a very strong character. She commands the respect of those around her and is an intimidating foe. She makes a lot out of the limited screen time we get to see her.
Here is a post I made previously regarding Rose:
Rose Tico holds the entire movie together.
At the end of The Force Awakens, Finn had made some progress, but this arc was far from over. He cared about Rey enough to overcome his fears and accompany Han and Chewie to Starkiller in an effort to rescue her. But he wasn’t honest about his reasons for going. He exaggerated his knowledge of Starkiller because as he told Han, he was just there for Rey. He didn’t care about the Resistance, or their cause.
Finn meets two people in The Last Jedi who have a profound effect on him. Rose is in agony over the loss of her sister, yet is still holding to her ideals and devoted to the Resistance. She has lost everything but will simply not quit. Then in stark contrast he meets DJ who has no convictions at all. Finally the light bulb comes on and Finn takes a side. He faces off with the embodiment of his greatest fear in Phasma and pronounces himself “Rebel” scum. He is fully on board now and is a different person by the time they reach Crait.
Finn is so gung-ho, in a display reminiscent of Poe’s previous unwillingness to follow orders, he tries to take on the First Order all by himself. Rose saves him because she believes the way to win is not by throwing your life away, but by living to fight another day, obviously informed by the loss of her sister.
Poe learns to respect authority before he can be in a position of authority and a true leader. Rey goes from seeking to identify herself through others to being comfortable with who she is and understands her place in the galaxy. There is just so much character development and wonderful storytelling. The Last Jedi is a great movie.