Forty Under 40: Part One
BY Advocate.com Editors
April 12 2011 3:00 AM ET
Read The Advocate's interview with Forty Under 40 honorees and cover subjects Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge here.
33, Los Angeles, Actress
Janora McDuffie is nothing if not honest. She’ll tell you without hesitation that she had second thoughts about accepting the job as host of NoMoreDownLow.TV, a Web show highlighting positive stories of gay black Americans. The actress — who’s appeared in numerous projects, including 24, Lie to Me, and the Beyoncé film Obsessed — is bisexual, but she knows in Hollywood, that’s anything but an asset. “I talk a lot of shit about people not out in the industry and what powerful strides they could make if they just said, ‘Hey, this is who I am,’ ” McDuffie says. “I decided there’s no way I could point my finger at them and then have the opportunity to make a difference — and not take it.” So McDuffie told show creator Earnest Winborne that she’d take the job, and she’s never looked back. The North Carolina native has embraced her role on NoMoreDownLow.TV, which launched in October, pitching ideas about subjects like gay parenting and chronicling her training for the seven-day AIDS/LifeCycle bike ride. “It’s such a worthwhile experience working on something greater than myself,” McDuffie says. “Magic happens when you stick to your guns and live with integrity and character — even in Hollywood.”
24, Provo, Utah, Student, activist
Cary Crall had just returned from a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he learned of the church’s campaign to pass California’s Proposition 8. Crall, who knew he was gay but wasn’t out to his fellow students at Brigham Young University, wasn’t comfortable with the reactions he encountered to the measure. “I felt like [people] were very smug in their position on Prop. 8, as if their views were supported not just by their religious beliefs but by studies and science.” After district judge Vaughn Walker overturned the ban in 2010, Crall read the entire decision and was astonished by the lack of studies and science in the church’s defense. “There was no real support for these ‘rational’ arguments for Prop. 8,” Crall says, “and I wanted to point that out.” He wrote an editorial in the BYU student newspaper, calling on Mormons to question their reasons for supporting the measure. His letter was published in the paper’s print run but was quietly pulled from the online edition after a few hours. The attempt to silence Crall backfired when major outlets like ABC News began asking him to defend his letter, and his bravery and eloquence in doing so made him a hero to many. Crall, who graduated in April and will attend medical school in the fall, still considers himself a Mormon but plans to continue asking questions and supporting LGBT causes.
Heather R. Mizeur
38, Takoma Mark, Md., Maryland state legislator
Since her election to Maryland’s house of delegates in 2007, Heather Mizeur has had her eye on the future. A Democrat representing the state’s 20th district, she says she believes strongly in investing in a 21st-century economy and educating our children to manage it. She’s also a big proponent of building sustainable communities and has been fighting tirelessly for marriage equality in Maryland. After coming out as a lesbian in college, Mizeur has lived her life publicly and truthfully, and she says her sexual orientation hasn’t stood in the way of her political ambitions. She found that out while going door-to-door campaigning for Takoma Park’s city council, on which she served from 2003 to 2005. She was running against a Latino man, and a female voter told her that while she thought Mizeur was the better candidate, she preferred to stand up and vote for diversity. “I paused for a minute,” Mizeur recalls, “then I said, ‘I’m technically a diversity candidate too. I’m openly gay.’ And the woman answered, ‘Oh, dear—that is so not a diversity issue in our community.’
26, New Haven, Conn., Artist
Artist and sculptor Daphne Arthur, 26, focuses on memory in her work, which she exhibited in her first solo show, at the Rare Gallery in New York City last year. “Most of the time the work tries to captivate the remnants of an experience, a touch, a memory, a feeling, a color,” says the Yale University School of Art graduate. “I have always been fascinated by the way we create personal histories by the construction and deconstruction of memory.” The native Venezuelan finds inspiration in the past, where she names Berenice Abbott, Claude Cahun, Yvonne Rainer, Deborah Kass, Julie Mehretu, Mickalene Thomas, Reinaldo Arenas, and Federico García Lorca among her most admired predecessors. “In retrospect, being out has always kindled my curiosity of gay and lesbian artists and writers, maybe to establish a line of affinity, but I always felt that looking into their life, work, and anecdotes would give me a unique sensibility of a particular time in history,” she says. When not spending time with her partner, she works in her Connecticut studio, where she is preparing for the Florence Biennale this year.
36, Philadelphia, Marketing director
As marketing director for Chase Sapphire, Brent Reinhard oversees the entire portfolio of customers for the first Chase card to specifically target LGBT customers in media advertising. A Chase employee for eight years, the 36-year-old is actively involved in the LGBT community in the Philadelphia area, and he believes his contributions make him a stronger performer in the workplace. “Our cardholders are not homogeneous; they represent diversity across lifestyle, gender, age, and ethnicity — the full spectrum,” he says. “Having a team that resembles the population we serve makes it easier to put ourselves in our customers’ shoes. You can’t fake this — I always try to put myself in the customers’ mind-set, and I see this as key to winning in a competitive marketplace.” He is an adviser to JPMorgan Chase’s PRIDE employee resource group and the cofounder of the Philadelphia regional chapter of Out & Equal. He also sits on the board of directors of AIDS Delaware.