Glamour's Women of the Year 2008
Nicole Kidman: A-List Activist
Nujood Ali & Shada Nasser: The Voices for Children
Tyra Banks: The Media Mogul
Body confidence isn’t new to Banks. She started modeling on fashion runways, but when her curvy frame threatened her career, she asked her mother’s advice. The two went out for pizza and devised a new strategy: working with what Banks had. She soon found commercial success as the first solo African American cover girl on magazines like GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Today a bona fide TV titan, Banks draws comparisons to the queen of talk. “If Oprah is America’s mommy,” an MSNBC writer quipped, “Tyra is the cool big sister.” In that role, she runs the TZONE Foundation, which raises funds for groups that empower young women and girls. “I can’t change society,” Banks says. “[Right now] zero is the most attractive size. But I can help women feel good about themselves.”
Maureen Chiquet: The Fashion Force
Hillary Clinton: The Trailblazer
Jane Goodall: The Environmentalist
Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh: The Olympians
Nobel Women’s Initiative: The Peacemakers
Condolezza Rice: The Champion for Women
Kara Walker: The Artist
Kara Walker, 38, makes black-paper silhouettes that at first glance might remind you of the antique portraits hanging in your grandmother’s living room. But look closer. You’ll see that Walker’s art is complicated by race, sex and the history of slavery in the plantation-era South.
From the start, her provocative images have mesmerized audiences and critics. The daughter of painter Larry Walker, she won a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant at 28 (one of the youngest-ever recipients); later came a spot on Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential list, and shows at top museums, such as New York City’s Whitney. This year her art toured the world.
“Something that might be missed is how beautiful her work is,” says Michael Jenkins, whose New York gallery represents Walker. “It wouldn’t be half as interesting if she didn’t have
this ability to draw with a knife on a near-life scale.” As to why she traded in her paintbrushes for an X-Acto knife while in art school, Walker says, “there’s a sweet violence in the act of
cutting, of accepting and rejecting cultural stereotypes.”
Walker found her subject matter while working in an Atlanta bookstore, where she stumbled upon a genre of pornographic novels that both glorified and distorted interracial sex.
That mix of attraction and repulsion provides endless fuel for her work. “Once you open up the Pandora’s box of race and gender…,” she’s said, “you’re never done.”