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21 Amazing Role Models For Ambitious Twentysomethings

In case you need some inspiration for the next #WCW.

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1. For the budding politico: Audrey Gelman

Why Audrey rocks: As a vice president at political consultancy SKDKnickerbocker, contributing editor at Marie Claire, former press secretary for Scott Stringer, and guest actress on Girls, Gelman is working to bring voting in vogue for our generation.

Follow her on Twitter.

2. For the aspiring social entrepreneur: Khalida Brohi

Facebook: kbpakistan

Why Khalida is amazing: As the founder and executive director of the Sughar Empowerment Society, Khalida is dedicated to improving the lives of young women in Pakistan through social entrepreneurship.

Check out Khalida's work here.

3. For the future PR star: Bianca Caampued & Mallory Blair

Why Bianca & Mallory leave us in awe: Tapping into some serious girl power, these two founded one of the most successful boutique PR firms in New York City, Small Girls PR, when they were just 26 and 22, respectively.

Follow Bianca and Mallory on Twitter.

4. For the determined activist: Ai-Jen Poo

Getty Images / Valerie Macon

Why Ai-Jen inspires us: As a labor organizer, MacArthur fellow, and the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Ai-Jen is fighting hard for the rights of domestic workers and immigrant women.

Follow her on Twitter.


5. For the aspiring journo: Jenna Wortham

Why Jenna is killing it: As a New York Times technology reporter and columnist, Wortham has written some of the smartest and wittiest Bits about our digital lives. She's also hilarious on Twitter.

Follow her on Twitter.

6. For the passionate pre-med: Christina Agapakis

Why Christina is the coolest: Agapakis isn't just a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA's Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. She's also a writer, artist, adjunct professor, and design consultant. Killing it.

Follow her on Twitter here.

7. For the enterprising writer: Britt Julious

Why Britt should be your #WCW: As the senior editor at smart culture site This Recording, Julious is now using her hard-won cache to launch Inland magazine — a new online and print magazine dedicated to the Midwest.

Follow her on Twitter.

8. For the bold performance artist: Hari Nef

Why Hari wows us: Nef hasn't even graduated from Columbia yet and she's already making waves in both the performance art and sex-writing arenas, thanks to her phenomenal column at Adult Mag.

Follow her on Twitter.


9. For the aspiring nonprofit president: Yael Cohen Braun

Why Yael inspires: As the CEO and self-described "chief cancer fucker" at Fuck Cancer, Braun took her experience of her mother's breast cancer and turned it into a thriving community dedicated to doing just that: kicking cancer's ass by spreading awareness.

Follow her on Twitter.

11. For the feminist go-getter: Ann Friedman

Why Ann rules: After being a part of the kick-ass team that made Tomorrow, the "one-shot magazine about creative destruction," Friedman now has her byline all over the damn internet, from New York Magazine to The New Republic, from The New Yorker to The Guardian. She also has one of the best email newsletters ever.

Follow her on Twitter.

12. For the future community organizer: Maritza Alarcon

Why Maritza's awesome: Not only has she been instrumental at The Future Project and Motivation Opportunity Viability Enterprise, Alarcon has also worked as a volunteer teacher in Ghana and is currently working on a new project, I Am Happiest.

Follow her on Twitter.


13. For the dedicated artist: Molly Crabapple

Why Molly's killing it: Crabapple's beautiful art is matched only by her powerful writer's voice as a columnist at Vice. As one of the major artists to come out of the Occupy movement, Crabapple is a hyperaware artist-activist who never backs down.

Follow her on Twitter.

14. For the energized environmentalist: Danielle Fong

Why Danielle rules: As the co-founder and chief scientist of LightSail Energy, Fong is at the front lines of fighting for clean energy. In her own words, Fong is "working towards futures enlightened, grand, and infinite."

Follow her on Twitter.

16. For the aspiring entrepreneur: Svetha Janumpalli

Why to watch Svetha: The super-motivated Janumpalli serves as founder and CEO of New Incentives, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping HIV-positive mothers give birth to healthy babies.

Learn about her work here.


17. For the future war reporter: Julia MacFarlane

Why Julia rocks: This brave Scottish-Indonesian journalist has reported on regional conflicts in Lebanon and Gaza for the BBC as a videographer, TV editor, and broadcast journalist.

Follow her on Twitter.

18. For the rising novelist: Catherine Lacey

Why Catherine inspires us: Not only does Lacey have a heart-stopping novel on her hands, Nobody Is Ever Missing, she is also the co-founder and co-owner of 3B, an awesome Brooklyn B&B co-op.

Follow her on Twitter.

19. For the beauty mogul: Emily Weiss

Why Emily kills it: This founder and CEO grew her personal beauty blog, Into the Gloss, into a renowned beauty website and company with a following around the world.

Follow her on Twitter.

20. For the aspiring educational reformer: Zakiya Smith

Twitter: @SmithZakiya

Why Zakiya inspires us: A former White House senior policy advisor for education, Smith is devoted to making college more affordable as the strategy director for student financial support at the Lumina Foundation.

Follow her on Twitter.

21. For the future CEO: Sophia Amoruso

Why Sophia's a boss: Amoruso's best-seller, #GIRLBOSS, describes her fight from the bottom to the top of the online fashion sales world. Amoruso's website, Nasty Gal, is probably where you buy those outfits that make you feel like you can conquer the world.

Follow her on Twitter.