Forty Under 40
BY Advocate Contributors
April 07 2010 5:00 AM ET
38 / New York City
Its name may seem salacious, but Carl Sandler says his five-year-old dating website, DaddyHunt.com, is tamer than one might expect. “The whole idea of being a ‘daddy’ is owning your age. It’s a playful use of the word rather than some old-school concept,” he says, alluding to a connotation that means something akin to silver fox. Averaging a quarter million unique visitors a month, DaddyHunt is not for the money-hungry and their older admirers, Sandler says, but rather anyone who values maturity over abdominals. That definition includes younger guys seeking older men, older men seeking younger men, and the over-40 set looking for partners their own age. “My generation needs a place online that isn’t just about hooking up,” he says. So, is there a definitive age when a man crosses over from “hunter” to “daddy”? “I’m not a person fixated on a certain role,” Sandler says. He’s looking for a boyfriend too, and all ages are welcome.
32 / Long Beach, Calif.
City council member, educator
Robert Garcia has a distinct voice—authoritative, assured, the product of life experience. Born in Lima, Peru, Garcia moved with his family to Southern California at age 5, and lived with his mother, aunt, and grandmother in a cramped apartment. He later attended California State University, Long Beach, and was elected student body president. When he ran last year for a city council seat in Long Beach, he pledged to improve the lives of the city’s gay and Latino citizens. After becoming the youngest person and first openly gay man elected to the council, Garcia proposed, and the council passed, a measure that requires Long Beach to do business exclusively with companies that provide domestic-partner benefits. Garcia, currently single, has a passion for teaching too—he hopes to earn his doctorate in higher education this summer. It’s not clear, even to Garcia, which field he’ll end up in, but he admits, “I love representing people. I love doing good.”
31 / New York City
Lead singer, Scissor Sisters
“If I had to hide being gay, I wouldn’t have a creative process,” Jake Shears says. “I wouldn’t have a career.” The unapologetically gay lead singer of Scissor Sisters is in full creative bloom, and fans have two of his projects to look forward to. Scissor Sisters will release a new, as yet-untitled album (their first since 2006’s acclaimed Ta-Dah) in July. “It’s the first record that genuinely sounds like us,” Shears says, describing the new material as being “about an imaginary New York that exists only in my head.” Shears also has teamed with Avenue Q playwright Jeff Whitty for another exciting project: the stage musical version of Tales of the City, Armistead Maupin’s beloved novel about a group of friends in 1970s San Francisco. “The characters are so established, strong, and familiar to me that it’s been a pleasure to write for them,” says Shears, who has contributed the music for the production, which is currently in the workshop process.
36 / Los Angeles
As more than two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, the country needs some serious whipping into shape. That’s where Jillian Michaels steps in. Michaels may be known as TV’s flintiest trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, but she wasn’t always a tough cookie. Overweight as a child, she didn’t start to shed pounds until age 13, when she hit the mat at karate class. Twenty-three years later she’s the face of a growing fitness empire, with workout DVDs, best-selling books, a Web community, speaking engagements, and an upcoming NBC show of her own. But Michaels pulls no punches. Her straight talk about her sexuality finally put to rest any question that she plays for Team LGBT. “If I fall in love with a woman, that’s awesome,” she told Ladies’ Home Journal. “If I fall in love with a man, that’s awesome. As long as you fall in love…it’s like organic food. I only eat healthy food, and I only want healthy love!”
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