1 TIM COOK
CEO, Apple, 52
When Cook took charge of the tech giant in late 2011, many regarded the enigmatic successor with skepticism. But over the past year, the CEO has guided Apple through significant upgrades on all of the company’s product lines and led the brand’s market share to increase to 20% of all money spent on U.S. consumer technology, up 2% from 2011. And did we mention Cook sat next to Michelle Obama at the State of the Union address?
2 ELLEN DEGENERES
Talk Show Host/Producer/Spokesperson, 55
It’s hard to believe that it ever seemed exceptional to have a lesbian hosting a daytime TV show, but Ellen was a pioneer whose sheer force of charisma, wit, and charm has earned her an enduring place in the affections of America. In March she posted her own public brief to the Supreme Court to strike down California’s gay marriage ban, writing that she and her wife, Portia de Rossi were “just trying to find happiness in the bodies and minds we were given, like everyone else.” Amen, sister.
5 ANDERSON COOPER
Journalist/TV Personality/Author, 45
Although his daytime talk show, Anderson Live, was cancelled after its second season, Coop hasn’t curbed his drive for media ubiquity. After publicly coming out last year via Andrew Sullivan’s blog, Cooper could finally let it all hang out (and he did, with Kathy Griffin during their annual New Year’s Eve lovefest). He remains anchor of the Emmy-winning Anderson Cooper 360, which has strong ratings despite CNN’s slump, and is a correspondent for CBS’s 60 Minutes. He was also awarded the Vito Russo Award at the 2013 GLAAD Media Awards.
10 FRANK OCEAN
The impact this young R&B singer has had on popular culture in such a short period shouldn’t be underestimated. Just before releasing his debut solo album, channel ORANGE, to wide acclaim, the news that he’d also loved a man ricocheted around the world, garnering support from members of the hip-hop and R&B music communities, more usually associated with outspoken homophobia.
The news didn’t hurt record sales either. Nominated for six Grammys, Ocean took one for Best Urban Contemporary Album, as well as the Album of the Year award at the Soul Train Music Awards.
13 NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
The indefatigable Harris has hosted the Tony Awards three times, received two People’s Choice awards for Favorite TV Comedy Actor, and signed a book deal for a tell-all memoir, set to be released in 2014. When he’s not having fun producing and acting in his own web series or collaborating on other side projects, he’s bringing home $200,000 per episode on the longest bedtime story of all time, How I Met Your Mother, to his adorable family, David Burtka and twins Gideon Scott and Harper Grace.
31 TOM FORD
Fashion Designer/Film Director, 51
The designer who built an empire on the motto “sex sells” is entering fatherhood and loosening up a little. This year, Ford embraced the global success of his own brand (100 stores worldwide and counting) and presented his first full-scale runway show at London Fashion Week, revoking the ban on bloggers and photographers he had applied in previous seasons.
43 DUSTIN LANCE BLACK
A tireless activist and advocate for LGBT rights, the writer best known for bringing queer stories to the masses (Milk, J. Edgar) has written 8, a staged re-enactment of a federal trial that led to an appellate court’s overturning of California’s Prop. 8, enlisting Hollywood’s elite to aid in spreading the message and raise funds. Now that the law will be up for review at the Supreme Court, we’ll see how effective his creative efforts have been.
50 RUPAUL CHARLES
Gender pronouns have never been as fluid in everyday conversation as they are after six successful seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race and its unprecedented ratings success for Logo, which is available in 51 million households across the country. The tireless drag performer, singer, and actor has certainly paid his dues with his ups (“Supermodel (You Better Work),” which charted at number 2 in ’93) and downs (the absence of media attention a decade later). But now he’s back.
COMPLETE LIST IS HERE.