its roster–and on developing a half-hour sitcom loosely based on his life in collaboration with HBO.
Stevie Williams, Professional Athlete / 28. Why he’s hot: Williams has often been referred to as the “Allen Iverson of skate.” Williams found celebrity through an aggressive combination of challenging stunts and technical moves on the board that is unlike traditional vertical skating. Today, the professional skateboarder is an extreme entrepreneur. He operates his own skate shop, Oceanside, California-based L&K Limited; manages a four-person skate team; and scored a multimillion-dollar licensing deal with Reebok–the first professional skateboarder ever to gain sponsorship from the company–that includes a line of footwear and apparel under the DGK (Dirty Ghetto Kids) brand he created. Together, his ventures place him in the seven-figure realm.
Known for his “pops,” the extreme athlete led the street skating movement. As a result, he’s been featured in various popular video games including Tony Hawk’s A
merican Wasteland and Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground. –Carolyn M. Brown
Kehinde Wiley, Artist / 30. Why he’s hot: This Los Angeles—born artist has cornered a niche. His lifelike–and life-sized–urban portraits of black men in classical poses of angels, prophets, and historical figures are catching the eyes of collectors and curators. Many in the art community find his vivid paintings, adorned with baroque and rococo patterns, reminiscent of Renaissance artists Tiepolo and Titian. His exhibit Recognize! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture will debut in February at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Wiley holds a master’s in fine art from Yale and was an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem. His collections are on display at galleries from New York to Denver.
Venus Williams, Professional Athlete / 27. Why she’s hot: The tennis pro, who has won six Grand Slams, has now taken her game to the fashion arena. Williams is the latest celebrity to partner with Steve & Barry’s apparel retailers as she introduces her new clothing line, EleVen by Venus, all items of which will be priced at $20 or less. The Williams brand name is now linked with sportswear, casual wear, tennis shoes, and other accessories. Her business interests don’t stop with the fashion industry. The certified decorator is also owner of V Starr Interiors, the successful interior design firm she launched in 2002, with an office in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Her celebrity clients include Florida Marlins pitcher Brad Penny and her sister Serena. In June, Williams proved that she’s still one of greatest players in the game by beating Marion Bartoli to claim her fourth Wimbledon victory. Positioned as the 23rd seeded player due to a couple of injury-shortened seasons, her triumph made her the lowest-ranked player to win the women’s title and the first female champion to earn the same purse ($1.4 million this year) as the male champ. And she continues to break records: the superstar holds the fastest-recorded serve in a women’s main draw tour match, hit during this year’s U.S. Open. –Hyacinth B. Carbon
Eldrick “Tiger” Woods, Professional Athlete / 32. Why he’s hot: Call him professional