Ariel Schrag and Rebecca Walker are two of 10 women in The Advocate’s “40 Under 40”

The Advocate may have forgotten it’s a gay and lesbian publication. The magazine’s annual 40 Under 40 issue just hit the shelves, and features only 10 queer women. While the male-to-female ratio is disappointing (but, let’s face it, not surprising), the ladies that are included definitely deserve their spot.

Since the list focuses on nearly all aspect of life (arts, entertainment, media, business, politics and sports), it’s obvious that the gay ladies are involved in it all. There’s Natasha Kai, the 26-year-old tattooed Hawaiian soccer player; Amy Balliett, the 27-year-old founder of Join the Impact; Aisha C. Mills, the 31-year-old fund-raiser who’s worked with the Human Rights Campaign and the Congressional Black Caucus; and Betty Young, the 39-year-old director of American Airlines’ minority-directed marketing.

Natasha Kai

The other women featured are some of our power players:

Rachel Maddow

Probably the least surprising 40 Under 40 list-maker (since she finds a way to make it on just about every single one of our lists, including coming in at No. 6 on our Hot 100), 36-year-old Rachel Maddow is the epitome of why lists like these are made.

Maddow changed the face of news television with her show on MSNBC, which skyrocketed ratings and proved that gay is OK. She’s intelligent, funny and witty and makes people want to know what’s going on in the world.

Ariel Levy

The 34-year-old writer is possibly best-known to the general public as the author of 2005’s Female Chauvinist Pigs, but she’s consistently done a lot for the queer community with her pieces on lesbian boi culture and her own 2007 gay marriage (plus there was a Clay Aiken profile, which counts, right?).

Levy recently joined the staff of The New Yorker after a dozen years at New York magazine, and told The Advocate she thinks being gay helped. “I wouldn’t say I got my job because of affirmative action, but I certainly think it didn’t hurt. I think they were psyched to have diversity.”


Sia Furler seems to do a lot of things at once. Last year, she released her album, Some People Have Real Problems, and came out as having a “boyfriend” who was a girl. Her romance with JD Samson was quickly all over the blogosphere, and the two are still going strong.

Sia’s just wrapped up four songs with Christina Aguilera for her new album, is working on her own, fifth album and just collaborated with her parter on a song called “I’m Raising You to Be Average,” which, she told The Advocate, is an ode to their future offspring.

“If I’m the princess, JD is the prince,” she said. “If I’m the witch, she’s the warlock. If we have kids, she’ll be Poppy and I’ll be Mommy.”

Jamie Lauren

She may not have won season five of Top Chef, but 31-year-old Jamie Lauren has quite the following now, since she’s become an accidental “lesbian poster child” of reality television. The executive chef of San Francisco’s Absinthe Brasserie says she wanted to be taken seriously as a chef, but gets a lot of fans who thank her for being out on TV. “That’s the best,” she told the magazine.

Ariel Schrag

The 29-year-old NY/LA-based cartoonist is best known for her autobiographical graphic novels about her high school years, fittingly titled Awkward, Definition, Potential and Likewise. The first three were published a decade ago, and reprinted last year by Simon and Schuster, with the latter being published for the first time.

Schrag also wrote for The L Word seasons three and four, and is currently working on a live action/animation adaptation of Potential, which Rose Troche is set to direct.

Rebecca Walker

39-year-old Rebecca Walker (estranged daughter of Alice Walker) has made her own name for herself in the literary world. Her newest nonfiction book, One Big Happy Family, revolves heavily around gender identity and sexual orientation. She must be doing something right, as she says people write to thank her for her work encouraging them or making them feel less alone.

Are there any women under 40 that you think deserved to make the list — perhaps half of our Hottest Out Women list?