Forty Under 40
BY Advocate Contributors
April 07 2010 4:00 AM ET
30 / Los Angeles
Some of the music videos and commercials directed by artist Molly Schiot are so low-fi (photocopied lip-synchers for Mark Ronson), so askew and self-assured (a pot-smoking Mexican granny for Nokia), that they thoroughly resist their genres. But Schiot wasn’t always so in control of her message. Her first paying gig—she won’t say what—is something she is now “morally and ethically” ashamed of. “Being a young, naive, fresh-out-of-college director and getting momentarily drunk off the Kool-Aid allowed me to pay off a big chunk of my student loans,” she says. “We all learn from experience.” Schiot is now directing her first short film, Pearblossom, featuring Jon Gries (Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite) and Kimberly McConnell. “It’s about eggs, gapped teeth, Koko Taylor, and sex.” Schiot, who is currently single, contributes a column to PaperMag.com called Check You Out, about L.A.’s creative creatures, and is preparing to photograph 92-year-old character actress Frances Bay, a shoot she is “very excited” about.
Luke Montgomery & Nate Guidas
36, 23 / Flagstaff, Ariz.
“We’re not missionaries—we’re just queers on a mission,” says Luke Montgomery of the relief work he and partner Nate Guidas are doing in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Montgomery, who once lived in Jacmel, Haiti, and founded an orphanage for HIV-positive children there, and Guidas were on their way to Haiti within days after the earthquake hit January 12. “I thought my time in Haiti was done, but Mother Nature had other plans,” Montgomery says. The two men brought in food, medicine, and other supplies, and they launched CauseCommandos.com to mobilize other gay people and allies to join in assisting the nation, which was in desperate circumstances even before the quake. They stayed six weeks, and now Montgomery, an activist once known as Luke Sissyfag who later became a media consultant and TV producer, and Guidas, a recent college graduate, are making relief work their full-time job. They plan to go back to Haiti in late May or early June, and they hope to take along others who want to pitch in with tasks such as rebuilding homes for HIV-positive Haitians. “It started as two gay guys with a mission, but we’re going to turn it into something the whole community can get behind,” Montgomery says.
25 / Philadelphia
When Kim Storm graduated from Wellesley College with degrees in feminist political theory and finance, she didn’t give much thought to a career in football—and never considered tackling and diving in her underwear. Storm is the lone out lesbian player for the Philadelphia Passion, one of 10 teams in the Lingerie Football League, a seven-on-seven indoor women’s tackle league. Storm says the stereotypes she held about her teammates when she started the sport, such as “they wouldn’t be very classy or educated,” couldn’t be more wrong. And the women, she says, couldn’t be more accepting of her. “We’re running around in our underwear tackling each other…we’re in the locker room completely naked sometimes. Nobody cares.” Storm spent three years playing for the Women’s Football Alliance’s Liberty Belles. She tried out for the Passion, she says, to bring more attention to the Belles, but never expected girls in only their underwear could actually play football. “Playing lingerie football, anything goes. If I have the ball and somebody punches me in the face, it’s fine,” she laughs. And at the end of the day, her reason for playing is simple. “I’ve come to the conclusion that I love sports and women are beautiful. These girls are all athletes, and they’re very good at what they do.”
29 / New York City
Executive producer, None on Record
The 2004 murder of FannyAnn Eddy, a Sierra Leone LGBT activist who was killed in the offices of the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association, was a wake-up call for Selly Thiam. Thiam, the daughter of Senegalese parents, now heads a project called None on Record, a sound documentary collecting the stories of LGBT Africans from around the world in order to create a living record of their struggles and successes. “This project definitely threw me into the media arena, made me realize how media is used for social justice and to document stories,” she says.