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10 Most Fascinating People In Houston

10 Most Fascinating People. About Magazine In Houston

Houston is one of the most amazing and spectacular cities in America. It is filled with many fascinating individuals in a varity of races, sizes, genders, and personalities. Fascinating people have a special magnetism and their energy radiates outward.

But what exactly makes them so captivating? Is it their curiosity to explore outside the ‘norm,’ or that they are always there to lend a ‘voice’ to a cause or advocate for what is needed?

Fascinating people try new things. They do what interests them; to better a cause. They know what needs to be done and are brave enough to take the steps to get there. They are engaging, unusual, and hypnotizing. The passion they spill we hope leaks onto us and spills in to the streets of our community.

Houston is home to millions of people that are fascinating, and we could never know them all but, we are proud to honor the ten that we have had the privilege to meet.


1. Fran Watson President, GLBT Houston Political Caucus

fran-watson-254x300 10 Most Fascinating People In Houston
Fran Watson

Fran is a native Houstonian whose passion for equality, equal dignity, and fair treatment for everyone makes her one of our most fascinating people in Houston.

As the President of the GLBT Houston Political Caucus, the South’s oldest civil rights organization dedicated to advancing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights through the endorsement of pro-equality political candidates. She also serves on the board of Stonewall Law Association of Greater Houston. She serves on the Executive Board of the Houston chapter of New Leaders Council (NLC).  Additionally, she is a member of the newly formed NLC4 Women’s Caucus, a committee of women from across the country seeking to promote an agenda of equality for women.


2.Victoria Hellyer Transgender Activist, Fashionista

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Victoria Hellyer

Originally from Tarkington, Texas, Victoria now is a proud resident of Houston. She has personally branded herself, her image, and her transgender activist duties as The Duchess of Montrose.

As the first transgender model for Pride Houston’s Rock the Runway, Victoria is using her knowledge to help inform the community with any questions they have and create a conversation about transgender identity.

Victoria’s heart, her activism, and her tireless efforts working with many different LGBTQ+ organizations makes her one of the most fascinating people in Houston.


3.Cristina Wells  Winner of Pride Superstar

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Cristina Wells

As the newly crowned voice of Pride Superstar 2016, Cristina is one fascinating diva. She is a proud Houstonian, and a registered nurse by trade. But most of all, she is proud.

As a public figure that is proudly a woman who is plus-size, mixed race, loud, a mother, a nurse, a singer, and a lesbian. She stood up, and fought for all the people that relate to her.

“I have always been told “no”,” Cristina says. “Winning Pride Superstar feels like the culmination of years of being told no, being told I am too big for the costumes or that I don’t look the part.”

 


4.Nathan de Paz President of Bunnies on The Bayou

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Nathan de Paz

Nathan is currently the president of Bunnies on the Bayou, Inc. – Houston’s largest social fundraising event on Easter Sunday benefiting local organizations who’s focus on the LGBTQ community. Since 2011, Bunnies has made over $670,000 in donations.

In Nathans lifetime, he has worked as a mattress salesman, a corporate marketing specialist, opera singer, public school teacher, a page-turner for pianists, and as private instructor for beginning singers.

He is an enthusiast for his local community and LGBTQ issues.


5.Susan Christian Mayors Office of Special Events

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(L) Susan Christian

The mayor’s director of special events for the City of Houston, and has been with the city for more than 30 years. She moved to Houston from the small central-Texas town of Hico.

Since taking the head of the dictor’s office, she’s developed the mayor’s civic celebration program into a year-round blockbuster, with 3.6 million people attending over 1,000 annual events. If you’ve ever enjoyed the Fourth of July Freedom Over Texas celebration, Thanksgiving Day parade, or the Children’s Festival, then you’ve got Christian to thank. Because of her amazing dedication and service to Houston for these fascinating events, we believe Susan has earned her place in our list of ten.


6.Ashton Woods Civil Rights Activist

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Ashton Woods

Ashton is a proud Houston-based activist and blogger. He is a gay atheist and “unapologetically black.” While none of these things completely define him, they highlight his multiple identities and he works to remind others that being black is not monolithic. In Ashton’s’ view, justice must be intersectional and nowhere is this walk the talk more evident than his involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement.

His ever-lasting support and volunteering for many different projects is why Ashton is one of Houston’s most fascinating people.

 


7.Travis Shirley Artist & Visionary

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Travis Shirley

Travis Shirley has quickly gained worldwide recognition for his fresh perspective on all aspects of lighting, set and video design. After attending the world-famous ‘Fullsail University’ in Florida, Travis launched his Houston based company ‘Travis Shirley Lighting Design.’

This master of digital vision art led him to  Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Jason Derulo, Smashing Pumpkins, Pentatonics, and many more allowing him to take their concert fans on a magical journey expressed by his art.

It is because of this, Travis Shirley is one fascinating person.

 

 


8.Aike Jamal Creative Artist

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Aike Jamal

There is no doubt his designs are award winning, and his talent in singing is beyond this world. Aike is a master at creativity, and his skills are brought to life for the Houston community through the creative designs you see in F Bar Houston, and the soon to open Jimmy Chew’s. His undenying dedication for supporting the LGBTQ+ community through many different non-profits makes this artist something for the history books.

Aike is a graduate of the University of Houston, and his creative endeavors is what makes him one fascinating person.

 

 


9.Jeffery Harmon Business Owner & Visionary

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Jeffery Harmon

Jeff Harmon moved to Houston in 1998. He explains that he has worked in the service industry his entire adult life, and felt it was time to do something. His quest took him to Bryan | College Station, Texas to open the first LGBTQ+ nightclub there in 2003, and later a restaurant in 2006.

In 2016, another vision led Jeffery to re-launch of one of Houston’s iconic nightclubs. This massive undertaking is a reason that makes Jeffery fascinating. 

Another passion for Harmon is the LGBTQ+ community and the many non-profits he works with.

 


10.Jeffry Faircloth Advocate

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Jeffry Faircloth

Jeffry is self described as a theology nerd, an LGBT advocate and a history student. He’s an unorthodox Christian, and a Judy Garland fan. He’s also the co-President of the Houston PFLAG, and a member of the Mayor’s Office LGBTQ+ Advisory Board.

Once a member of Houston’s HATCH Program, Jeffry has been able to experience the LGBTQ+ community from many different angles and apply his support where it is much needed.

His strong support for LGBTQ+ youth, and their families is what makes him one fascinating Houstonian.

 

 

 

(Cade Michals, Nathan Neel and Blake Casey all contributed to this article)

Pride Wall Goes Up In Montrose

The Montrose PRIDE Wall (Photo by About Magazine)
The Montrose PRIDE Wall (Photo by About Magazine)

A Local Montrose Business Has Painted The Side Of Their Business In Pride Colors To Support The Victims Of Orlando And Show Support For The Community!

A local business at 1641 Westheimer Rd. has gone rainbow, as a crew of local artists descended on the wall to make it ‘proud.’ High End Smoke Shop, in part with Select Skate Shop, wanted to express their support for the devastating Orlando attack against the LGBTQ+ community, for Montrose, and for Pride.

Local artist KC Chan, Eric Nguyen, and Al Nguyen, were commissioned by High End and Select to transform the wall into a ‘symbol’ of love, equality, and support. A wall to share their support.

The newly painted ‘Pride’ wall faces Pavement Clothing and was originally grey with the ‘Select’ logo. It now shines bright with a cast of rainbow colors.

“We wanted to show our support for Orlando” artist KC Chan stated to About News on Friday. “It’s meant to allow people to take photos, and show their pride,” Chan added.

The wall is approximately 56 feet long and 16 foot tall. Visit the wall.

Use the hashtag #PridewallHTX

 

 

 

Lady Gaga Interview On Fame And Texas

Lady Gaga Interview On Fame And Texas

Growing Up In New York And Covered In Glitter, Lady Gaga Sits Down With About Magazine For The First Ever One-On-One Interview With An LGBT Texas Publication!

(HOUSTON) Dallas might have discovered her first at the ‘Round Up,’ but Houston’ LGBT media takes the gold for an exclusive interview.


As a little girl, she would sing along on her mini plastic tape recorder to Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lau per hits. She loved to get twirled in the air by her ‘daddy’ while jamming out to the sounds of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. The precocious child would dance around the table at her family’s fancy Upper West Side restaurant, using the breadsticks as a baton. But her favorite past-time was ‘innocently greeting new babysitters in nothing but her birthday suit.’

It’s no wonder that little girl from a good New York Italian family, turned into the exhibitionist, multi­ talented singer-songwriter with a flair for theatrics that she is today: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga!

“Where are you now?” I asked in a simple text message to Lady Gaga. It was any regular interview. A journalist, named Spencer had convinced me to arrange this interview. “You have too,” he begged. “She’s going to be bigger than Madonna,” he said.

2009 was a whirlwind for Lady Gaga. She had recently been nominated for her debut album titled ‘The Fame,’ and it was slowly giving her solidification as a new ‘Pop Princess.’

“I’m just going to try and change the world, one sequin at a time.”- Lady Gaga

“I am currently in Canada,” Gaga responded. “I have a show in Toronto tonight.” In detail, she told me about her tour, and being on the road with a couple bands she ‘absolutely loved.’

“I’m with three amazing bands, Chester French, White Tie Affair and Cinema Bizarre. It’ so great to have them on the road with me.” Then she said my name. “You should check them out, Cade. They are great live bands and talented too.”  I had to sit back and think a moment. It’s not every day Lady Gaga is texting you, let alone pitching you on ‘her’ opening acts.

By the time I had arranged the interview, Spencer had forced her entire album into my head. It was great! I was hooked. I had become a fan. Every song had a hook, and it would soon be igniting dance floors across the world. I wanted on the Gaga wagon!

o Lady Gaga Interview On Fame And Texas

“The tour is playing some of the best places to hear live music,” Gaga says in a response. “I am playing everywhere from Wilten in LA to Terminal 5 in New York. All great venues to check out live music”

At the age of four years, old Gaga had mastered the piano by ear. When she was 13 she had written her first piano ballad. By the time she was 14, she was performing across New York’s open mic nights at the city’s Bitter End.

“I grew up in New York, even though I haven’t been home for some time now I still call it home.” She explains, hinting that the road, and tour, and publicity have kept her busy. “I love the energy and diversity, and the New York music scene. In fact, not sure if you know but ‘Just Dance’ came from my memorable nights out in New York.”

By the age of 17, Gaga would get early admission to the exclusive ‘Tisch School of The Arts’ at New York University, and when she turned 20 she had already wrote hit songs for none other than the ‘Pussycat Dolls.’ All before she even had her own album.

Of course in our back and fourth message-interview, I had to know what she thought of Texas. I did not know that just a few short weeks prior she had performed in Dallas.

“One of my personal favorite gigs ever was in Dallas,” Gaga replies. “The Round Up.  A gay two-step night.   I just got in the middle of the dance floor and went for it.” She says. “The boys went crazy. It went from two step line dancing to my disco stick …lol”.

Sadly Gaga explained that Houston would not be getting a stop from the ‘Fame’ tour. “Hopefully soon”! She says “I would love to be back and see you all soon”.

“But Houston, thank you for all the love and support. I can’t wait to be back and see you all.” ..xo Gaga

If you have not picked up, down loaded ‘The Fame’ album, do your self a favor and do it now. It will have you looking for the nearest dance floor.

She left me with a thought. Her personal plan. The larger picture. She doesn’t want to be a part of pop culture. She’s going to explore it inside and out. But until… “I’m just going to try and change the world, one sequin at a time.”