Jack Canfield Jack Canfield author. speaker. motivator.

Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]

 
Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

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Seth Godin Seth Godin author. speaker. linchpin.

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Krishna Kaur Krishna Kaur yogi. philanthropist. dynamic teacher.

Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]

 
Norman Lear Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]

 
Leilani Münter Leilani Münter race car driver. activist. carbon free girl.

Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]

 
Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]

 
Sophie Chiche Sophie Chiche mom. big dreamer. lady in red.

Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]

 
Mastin Kipp Mastin Kipp Writer. Entrepreneur. Daily Lover.

Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]

 
Liz Phair Liz Phair singer. musician. crier.

Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]

 
Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

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Zainab Salbi Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]

 
Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]

 
Kia Miller Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]

 
Simon Mainwaring Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

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Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]

 
Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

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Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com

 

pride

Cory Schneider Cory Schneider

Cory Schneider M.A., MFT Intern, is a gay-affirmative psychotherapist in West Hollywood, CA.  Cory is an associate at Gay Therapy LA and under the supervision of Ken Howard, LCSW. [www.affirmativefoundations.com]

At 23, I followed my dream to Hollywood. Upon arrival a casting director told me that I “read gay.” She said she could “de-gay me,” starting with my voice. It was then I decided that I had had enough of trying to be what everyone else thought I should be.

My effeminate expression had surfaced by the age of eight. I was more apt at playing house and Barbies with my sisters than playing trucks or sports with my brother or other boys. It seemed that all males had been indoctrinated into a sort of hegemonic masculinity that I was left out of. My sense of maleness was further eroded when I realized my sexual interest was in men, as this was considered a sin and a disease in the Texas town where I lived.

Between fourth grade and graduating high school, no matter how hard I tried to present myself masuclinely, it never worked. The bullying I endured because of my expressive differences all but destroyed any positive sense of self. My story never made it to the headlines since I survived the bullying, but it wasn’t without a cost. The shame and guilt attached to my feminine expression and homosexual orientation overshadowed any spark of pride I might have felt.

If gays have fairy godmothers, mine was Arthur. He was my acting teacher who cast me as a drag queen in a Tennessee Williams piece for the summer repertoire. I thought I had this character nailed, but Arthur challenged me insisting that I was playing a caricature rather than a person. He said my portrayal of this character was just a presentation of what I believed about myself. He explained that I had internalized all the negative things people had said about me. It was his belief that the only way I could release the negativities I had collected was to exploit them and play them out. He said this would illuminate the difference between what others thought about me and my essential self.

Playing “Candee” slowly chipped away at my own shame and guilt, and helped neutralize the homophobia that I had internalized. By exploring and exploiting who I was led to believe I was, I uncovered who I am, and I like him!  Not only did I play a hell of a drag queen, I played her with pride and discovered my own.

– Cory Schneider

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