In any culture, a cancelled wedding can be a great embarrassment (particularly to the bride), but when Nisha Sharma called off her wedding at the last minute, she not only made front-page headlines in her native India, but became a role model for young women in India and across the world. Shortly before the ceremony, her future husband's family suddenly demanded an illegal dowry payment of $25,000 from her father.
Russell Simmons heads an empire built by rap music. As cofounder of the pioneering record label Def Jam in the 1980s, he helped launch the careers of a number of important artists, such as Run-D.M.C.
Pop star Jessica Simpson's career has been something of a roller coaster ride, rife with stomach-lurching highs and lows and unexpected turns. She began singing Christian music professionally as a preteen and earned a record deal in her early teens.
Jeff Skoll was the first employee of the online auction Web site eBay. As president during its crucial early years of the mid-1990s, Skoll was a key player in the growth of the company from one of the first financial phenomenons of the new Internet age to a literal online community, with millions of users around the world.
Many writers publish their work under a pseudonym, or alternate name. But Daniel Handler, a.k.a.
Swedish golfer Annika Sorenstam is one of the best golfers to set foot on the green. She won the first two U.S.
Gary Soto is a man who writes from experience. He grew up in one of the many barrios (poor Mexican American neighborhoods) of Fresno, California, and since the mid-1970s he has borrowed from that community to create an astonishing number of works.
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are considered to be one of the top comic duos of the 2000s. But, they are also compared to such legendary comedians as Bud Abbott (1900–1974) and Lou Costello (1906–1959), who appeared as Abbott and Costello in a bevy of films in the 1940s.
Teen singing sensation Joss Stone came out of nowhere to take the music industry by storm. The British blues singer grew up listening to American music as well as several other genres.
Pat Summitt, head coach of Tennessee University's women's basketball team, the Lady Vols, is one of the most successful coaches in collegiate basketball history. She has won six NCAA titles—only John Wooden, former coach of the men's basketball team at UCLA has won more, with ten NCAA championships to his credit.
Ichiro Suzuki has millions of dedicated fans in his native Japan, with his image appearing in daily newspapers and smiling from billboards, coffee mugs, and T-shirts. There is even a museum dedicated to him.
Most people talk to God in the privacy of their own homes, but when Amber Tamblyn talks to God she does it while eleven million other people watch. As the star of the surprise CBS television hit Joan of Arcadia, the twenty-one-year-old Tamblyn plays Joan Girardi a normal teenager who just happens to have the extraordinary ability to have one-on-one conversations with the "man upstairs." Considering the onslaught of reality-based programming, Joan was considered to be a refreshingly intelligent drama, and its star was viewed as one of the most promising newcomers on TV.
Instantly recognizable in their stark red-and-white outfits, the White Stripes have become a worldwide phenomenon with their energetic blend of blues, punk, folk, and country. Consisting solely of Jack White on guitar and vocals and Meg White playing the drums, the Detroit-based White Stripes have been among the most visible groups connected to a revival of the loosely defined style known as garage rock—a usually fast-paced rock 'n' roll style favoring short songs with intense drumming and memorable lyrics.
Scientist Lonnie Thompson is an authority on ice. For more than thirty years, he has crossed every type of terrain, weathered blistering heat and teeth-rattling cold, and climbed some of the world's highest mountains in order to collect and study ice.
In late 2002 Justin Timberlake managed to make the leap that many young stars never accomplish—the leap from teen idol to full-fledged, adult artist. In the late 1990s, he was one-fifth of the wildly popular boy band 'N Sync, considered to be the cute, funny one, and a headline maker thanks mostly to his on-again, off-again romance with pop princess Britney Spears.
While many who have seen her perform mention her beauty, natural ability, and star quality, Gabrielle Union did not set out to be an actress. After an internship in the office of a modeling agency during her college years, Union was invited to get in front of the camera.
When he began his studies as a young man, Peter Vitousek had no plans to become one of the world's leading ecologists. The Hawaii native started out as a political science major, switching to ecology when he came across a book about the damage done to certain regions when new species of plants and animals are introduced and take over.
Kanye West is a quadruple threat: producer, rapper, songwriter, and record executive. His albums have sold millions; his lyrics are sung by renowned recording artists including Brandy, Usher, and Alicia Keys.
Called ballet's hottest choreographer in 2004, Christopher Wheeldon has choreographed more than thirty ballets in five years. His productions have almost always received high marks from critics, and ballet companies across the country consider it an honor to work with the thirty two year old.
Meg Whitman is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of eBay, Inc., the online auction site that became one of the World Wide Web's most surprising success stories. She took over the position from its founder, Pierre Omidyar, who remains active in the company, and has guided it into a commercial enterprise on a par with Amazon.com.
Michelle Wie is a phenomenal, powerful golfer who regularly hits the ball nearly three hundred yards off the tee, about fifty yards farther than the average professional woman golfer. At nearly six feet tall and about 150 pounds, she has the strength and skills to match many professional players, including a number of men.
Beginning in the late 1990s, Serena Williams became one of the world's most talented and exciting tennis players. With her outgoing personality, unique fashion sense, and striking good looks, Williams would have commanded attention even if she hadn't been a topranked professional player.
Yao Ming of China became basketball's most unlikely new celebrity athlete in 2002 when he joined the Houston Rockets. The first foreign athlete ever to become a number-one draft pick in the National Basketball League (NBA), Yao stands seven-foot, five inches tall, and proved to be a surprisingly quick and graceful player during his rookie season.
Viktor Yushchenko was Prime Minister of Ukraine from December 1999 to April 2001. After being voted out of office 263 votes to 69 votes, Yushchenko became leader of Our Ukraine, a political coalition (a combination of people working for the same cause).
Just three days after a series of bomb blasts killed nearly two hundred in Madrid in March of 2004, Spanish voters went to the polls and elected the socialist party of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero into office. As prime minister, Zapatero promised to withdraw Spanish forces from Iraq, and ordered those troops home just hours after he was sworn in four weeks later.