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Women Shaping the Future: Leaders, Visionaries, Renegades

These women are taking control and leading the way

Reps. Ilhan Omar, Jahana Hayes, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.Photographed in Washington, DC, on January 11th, 2019. Photograph by Zoey Grossman for Rolling Stone.PLEASE CREDIT AS: Zoey Grossman for Rolling StoneMakeup by Todd Harris and Carrie Lamarca.

Reps. Ilhan Omar, Jahana Hayes, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez photographed in Washington, DC, on January 11th, 2019.

Zoey Grossman for Rolling Stone. Makeup by Todd Harris and Carrie Lamarca

On January 11th, just days after successfully regaining their position as speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi posed for the cover of Rolling Stone with three resilient members of the congressional freshman class: Jahana Hayes, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. Despite chatter that incoming liberals would clash with the old guard, they all voted for her in the end and became strong supporters. “There was no sense that these were women who didn’t get along,” says Catriona Ni Aolain, Rolling Stone’s director of creative content, who produced the shoot with photographer Zoey Grossman. “I felt no tension or weird energy. The whole thing was very convivial.”

Now that Pelosi wields the speaker’s gavel, the House can launch serious investigations into the Trump administration and hold hearings on climate change and gun control, making the speaker the most powerful women in the history of the country. She’s also the perfect cover subject for Rolling Stone’s Women Shaping the future issue, which features interviews with leaders and visionaries across politics, music, TV, film science, tech and more.

Despite the political and cultural upheaval in our country right now, the message we took away from these interviews is one of hope and promise. As Tessa Stuart says about interviewing Pelosi, “There was something deeply reassuring about sitting in the speaker’s office, the House of Representatives’ center of power, across from Nancy Pelosi. You got the sense — for the first time in years — that there was someone in control, and things were going to be OK.”

aoc ocasio cortez

Zoey Grossman for Rolling Stone

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

“I don’t care what’s in your heart if how you are voting is the same as someone who is actually racist. At the end of the day, they think that their intentions are gonna save them, but the actual decisions you make matter. I am tired of people saying, “I’m gonna vote the same way as bigots, but I don’t share the ideology of bigots.” Well, you share the action and the agenda of bigots. We need to hold that accountable.”

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jahana hayes

Zoey Grossman for Rolling Stone

Rep. Jahana Hayes

“I never expected to win,” says Jahana Hayes, the first African-American woman to represent Connecticut in Congress. “I thought it would be a damn good try, and people would get encouraged, and then the next time someone else would do it.”

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Dr. Leana Wen visits and speaks at the Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles on January 29, 2019.

Dr. Leana Wen visits and speaks at the Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles on January 29, 2019.

Jessica Foley/© Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Dr. Leana Wen

The new president of Planned Parenthood is taking on the systemic injustices in medical care.

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Brandi Carlile at home with her daughter in Maple Valley, Washington.

Brandi Carlile at home with her daughter in Maple Valley, Washington.

Annie Marie Musselman for Rolling Stone

Brandi Carlile

The Grammy winner talks breakout album, her search for empathy and the new Highwomen project.

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Ashley Graham, Revlon

Beyond her podcast, Ashley Graham hosts Lifetime’s 'American Beauty Star' and has launched 'Fearless,' a reality lifestyle show on Ellen DeGeneres’ digital network.

Mei Tao for Rolling Stone

Ashley Graham

Given her massive reach, Graham has grand plans for media moguldom. Beyond her podcast, she hosts Lifetime’s American Beauty Star, a competition for hair and makeup artists, and has launched Fearless, a reality lifestyle show on Ellen DeGeneres’ digital network.

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stacey abrams women in culture

Stacey Abrams at home in Atlanta in January.

Dana Scruggs for Rolling Stone

Stacey Abrams

“I learned I can do this, we can do this,” says the Georgia Democrat. “We need to be thinking about what else do we want? What else can we have?

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A portrait of Senator Amy Klobuchar at First Ave in Minneapolis, Minn., on Friday, January 11, 2019. Photo by Jenn Ackerman@ackermangruber

Senator Amy Klobuchar at First Ave in Minneapolis, Minn., on Friday, January 11, 2019.

Jenn Ackerman for Rolling Stone

Senator Amy Klobuchar

GOP operatives in her home state have fixed her with the derisive nickname “The Senator of Small Things.” She acknowledges a certain sexism in the critique — “like I’m a little girl, doing little things” — but just rolls her eyes at it. “You can’t let it dominate your mindset,” she says, smiling. “You have to keep going. That’s the only way you’re going to get power.”

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stevie nicks

"Everybody can dress up like me, because there’s so many different mes," says Stevie Nicks. "You can be any me you want."

Randee St Nicholas

Stevie Nicks

“I have my shawl vault — they’re all in temperature-controlled storage. I have these huge red cases Fleetwood Mac bought, all the way back in 1975 — my clothes are saved in these cases. All my vintage stuff is protected for all my little goddaughters and nieces. I’m trying to give my shawls away — but there’s thousands of them. If I ever write my life story, maybe that should be the name of my book: There’s Enough Shawls to Go Around.

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Rachel Morrison at Panavision in Woodland Hills, California, in January.

Rachel Morrison at Panavision in Woodland Hills, California, in January.

Photograph by Jessica Lehrman

Rachel Morrison

The cinematographer is the first woman in her field ever nominated for an Oscar — and she’s just getting started.

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Teddy Geiger photographed by Yana Yatsuk for Rolling Stone on January 6th 2019

Teddy Geiger photographed by Yana Yatsuk for Rolling Stone on January 6th 2019

Photograph by Yana Yatsuk

Teddy Geiger

Shawn Mendes’ closest studio collaborator is a Top 40 auteur who sounds like no one but herself

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Vanita Gupta photographed at home on January 3rd 2019

Photograph by Lexey Swall for Rolling Stone.

Vanita Gupta

Vanita Gupta is the first woman to helm the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

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hannah gadsby

Photograph by Ryan Pfluger for Rolling Stone. Grooming by Molly Greenwald. Styling by Alexandra Mandelkorn for The Only.Agency

Hannah Gadsby

How the comedian harnessed a painful upbringing to make her explosive Netflix special Nanette

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Hayley Kiyoko photographed by Sami Drasin on January 6th 2019 for ROLLING STONE

Hayley Kiyoko photographed by Sami Drasin on January 6th 2019 for ROLLING STONE

Photograph by Sami Drasin for Rolling Stone. Shorts by RHUDE

Hayley Kiyoko

Why LGBTQ pop fans embrace the L.A.-born singer as their ‘Lesbian Jesus’

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