By Ruth 66
For 21 years, editor's of Glamour magazine get together to choose a plethora of women they deem worthy to call Women of The Year. They run the gamut from entertainment and art to activism. Singer Debbie Harry performed last night at this year's ceremony at Carnegie Hall in NYC.
The All Star: In one year, Jennifer Lopez, 42, has managed to go from superstar to megastar all thanks to a little thing called American Idol (oh, and her new album, Love?, and her new clothing line for Kohl's and, yes, even her very public split from Marc Anthony).
The Fashion Force: Tory Burch, 45, says she never expected to become so big in the fashion world. But she pulled off one of the quickest rises to icon status in fashion history, rocketing from "Tory who?" in 2004 to, today, a $330-million-a-year brand worn by everyone from Taylor Swift to Michelle Obama. Industry insiders predict that her 2011 revenue will jump an eye-popping 52 percent.
The Generations Award: Laura Bush and daughters Barbara Bush and Jenna Bush Hager. When Laura Bush left the White House in 2009, she could have quietly retreated to her Texas ranch. Her twin daughters could have launched lucrative careers or slipped back into private life. Instead, this trio have become hugely powerful advocates on behalf of women, children and the world's neediest. In Afghanistan, she's been a driving force behind girls' schools and women's empowerment programs. And building on her groundbreaking breast cancer work in the Middle East in 2006, Mrs. Bush just started the $75 million Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon campaign to offer cervical cancer care and breast cancer care in sub-Saharan Africa.
Jenna, 30, has promoted AIDS awareness and has helped raise more than half a million dollars for women's and children's health programs at UNICEF. Barbara, meanwhile, quit a museum job in 2008 to found the ambitious Global Health Corps, which dispatches young professionals to work in clinics in poor communities—from Rwanda to Newark, New Jersey—and then spread their work to other countries.
The Queen of the Night: Chelsea Handler, 36, multi-media mogul says, "My mouth has gotten me in trouble my entire life. I just happen to be making a career out of it." Handler is the only woman to succeed as a late-night-comedy host, ever. Though her E! show, Chelsea Lately, is not for the fainthearted—sex, drinking and masturbation are all on the table—it has pulled in an average of one million viewers nightly. She's even beaten Conan.
The Bravest Truth Teller
: Withelma Ortiz-Macey, 22, is becoming one of the nation's most effective voices on a problem many people think plagues only foreign countries: the sex trafficking of children. She overcame a horrific childhood being raised by drug addicts and 14 different foster homes until she was 10 and legally ended up in the care of a pimp. She escaped that life at age 17 and testified to Congress. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimates that roughly 200,000 girls in the United States are lured into the sex trade each year. She says, "Instead of being treated as victims of child rape, they're seen as bad girls making bad choices. There is more funding for animal shelters than there is for these girls." As the result of her work, for the first time ever, the President's budget proposed federal funding to combat domestic
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, 32. Her winning strategy? To stand up for her beliefs regardless of party—funding for stem cell research, border security and the military. The Harley-riding Democrat has another priority: getting young women into politics. Giffords amazed the world with her climb back from near-death in January after being shot in the head by a gunman who killed six people. While Rep. Giffords, who continues rehab in Houston, hasn't announced reelection plans for 2012, there's no question about her impact. Says Sen. Gillibrand: "There's a message in Gabby for all women. We can't control the things that happen in our lives, but we can control how we face them."
The Diva Next Door
: Actress, Lea Michele, 25, plays absurdly driven teen prima donna Rachel Berry on Glee.
Michele has used her killer voice and acting chops to help turn the show into a juggernaut. 2011 brought a sold-out cast tour, best-selling DVDs and the distinction of smashing the record held by the Beatles for most songs on Billboard
's Top 100 at once. Plus, she's taught millions of teen girls to sing and be themselves.
The Superstar Artist:
Cindy Sherman, 57. Before Lady Gaga, before Madonna even, Cindy Sherman was the queen of radical reinvention, taking nuanced photos of herself dressed as female "types": the Hollywood sexpot, the buttoned-up housewife, the society matron. In every picture she appears different, her face and slight form buried beneath wigs, makeup and vintage clothing, always challenging feminine stereotypes. Those photos have made Sherman, now 57, one of the most successful artists in the world.
Facebook Girl - The World Changer:
Esraa Abdel Fattah, 25. In January, a young Egyptian woman tucked her hair under a head scarf, pocketed her cell phone and met up with 20 other young people to march toward the center of Cairo. Soon hundreds, then thousands of others joined them, until 10,000-strong, they surged into Tahrir Square to make history. Over the next 18 days, Esraa Abdel Fattah live-updated on Facebook and tweeted her experiences in the Square—and the world followed along. The revolt she helped organize toppled the regime of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. She earned her nickname in 2008, when the Facebook group she started to support a textile workers' strike attracted 74,000 followers and ultimately landed her in jail. Today, the gutsy Abdel Fattah is working to ensure that women keep their rights in the new Egypt; she's founded a nonprofit to train women to become political leaders, and she plans to run for parliament herself.
The Woman Who Started it All - Lifetime Achievement Winner: Gloria Steinem, 77. First, a history lesson. More than 40 years ago, before Gloria Steinem helped launch what would become known as the women's liberation movement, this was the typical Glamour reader's world: Newspaper help-wanted ads were separated into jobs for men (i.e., budding executives) or women (i.e., secretaries); banks marketed credit cards and mortgages only to men; and in at least one state, birth control was illegal for unmarried women. Without the witty crusader for equal pay, equal rights and reproductive freedom, women would have lost their greatest modern leader. Says University of Chicago history professor Christine Stansell, Ph.D., author of The Feminist Promise, "Gloria Steinem is to the women's movement what Martin Luther King Jr. was to civil rights—the galvanizer."
Who are YOUR women of the year?