A few weeks ago I gathered together 10 famous femme lesbians with a focus on their coming-out stories. As I was preparing the post, it became abundantly clear to me that there is a great lack of diversity in the out celebrity community. So I set out with renewed vigor to find and feature femme women of color.
In a way, the women showcased below are members of a triple minority based on gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, making their successes all the more impressive and inspiring.
Before we begin, I would just like to disclaim the fact that I don’t know which, if any, of these women identify as “femme.” However I am personally interested and invested in the feminine lesbian/bisexual experience; I chose the women below because they at least outwardly appear to embrace femininity.
1. Jessica Clark
A successful model, out lesbian Jessica Clark has appeared in advertisements for Alexander McQueen and runway shows for Hermes and Julian McDonald. She also starred in Usher’s music video “Let it Burn.”
After years in the modelling industry, Jessica left her career to take care of herself, having developed eating disorders and used cocaine to keep her weight down for the runway. She has since become a life-coach and married her partner, physical trainer Lacey Stone, in 2010. Together they offer relationship advice through their web series on AfterEllen called Lesbian Love.
2. Natasha Kai
American soccer forward Natasha Kai set multiple records in her college career playing for the University of Hawaii. Now a superstar athlete, Natasha plays professionally for the Philadelphia Independence. She was also on the women’s National Team, representing the U.S. in the Women’s World Cup as well as the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Natasha is an out lesbian and was one of only two openly gay athletes on the 2008 USA Summer Olympic team.
She also is famous for her tattoos – all 46 of them – and was featured on an episode of L.A. Ink, as well as in ESPN Magazine’s “Body Issue.”
A shoulder injury and subsequent surgery in 2009 has unfortunately kept Kai off the field in recent years.
3. Malinda Lo
Author Malinda Lo was born in China and moved to the United States as a child. She has written several young adult novels; her most successful being Ash, a lesbian retelling of Cinderella in which the title character gets the girl – not the prince. In 2006, Malinda received the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Journalism by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.
Openly gay, Malinda now lives with her partner in Northern California.
4. Gloria Bigelow
Gloria Bigelow is an out lesbian comedian. As well as a variety of comedy specials, Gloria has had appearances on The Rachel Ray Show, Lifetime’s Cook Yourself Thin, and LOGO’s NewNowNext Awards. She also is one of the four stars of Cherry Bomb, a lesbian talk-show hosted on AfterEllen.
Here, watch her stand-up performance featured on LOGO:
5. Dalila Ali Rajah
Out bisexual actress Dalila Ali Rajah is a co-star of Gloria Bigelow on Cherry Bomb, as well as the producer of the series. With an MFA in acting from the California Institute of the Arts, she has appeared on stage in The Vagina Monologues and Joleta, and was the winner of the GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding Los Angeles Theatre 2007.”
Dalila has also appeared on the small screen in episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and ER.
6. Vivian Wu
Vivan Wu came to the front of the lesbian scene recently as a member of the supporting cast of The Real L Word Season 2. But she is more than just the (ex?)-girlfriend of Claire; Vivian is an up-and-coming stylist, recently featured in Vogue Italia.
She co-founded Black Rice Market, an online vintage shop, and has worked with magazines such as GQ, Metal, I-D, POP, and China Vogue, as well as several celebrity clients.
7. Staceyann Chin
Staceyann is a spoken word poet and political activist. Unabashedly feminist and an out lesbian, Staceyann produces poetry that is fearless and cuts deep. (She was also featured as a Pretty Lady here on Femme on a Mission!)
An accomplished poet, Chin was the winner of the 1999 Chicago People of Color Slam; first runner-up in the 1999 Outright Poetry Slam; winner of the 1998 Lambda Poetry Slam; a finalist in the 1999 Nuyorican Grand Slam; winner of the 1998 and 2000 Slam This!; and winner of WORD: The First Slam for Television. Whew! She also co-wrote and performed in the Tony-nominated Russel Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, as well as being featured in The New York Times and 60 Minutes.
Here, watch her tell the story of her first period (trigger warning: the second poem in the video recalls stories of incest and sexual assault):
8. Tasya van Ree
Photographer and artist Tasya van Ree is making a name for herself with her compelling and sensual work, most of which is in black and white. As well as still photography, Tasya also creates short art films, often featuring her muse and girlfriend, out actress Amber Heard.
Tasya is also an outspoken advocate for gay rights; she founded website i equals you, a blog which focuses on using art as a medium of activism with the goal of achieving marriage equality.
Here she is pictured with girlfriend Amber Heard at a Prop 8 Rally:
9. Margaret Cho
Margaret was recently featured as a Pretty Lady here on Femme on a Mission. Funny and fearless, Margaret has been a successful comedian, actress, recording artist, and all-around badass since the early nineties. She is openly bisexual, Wikipedia says that 15-20% of her body is tattooed, and my mother hates her, so basically she is awesome.
Her newest album, Cho Dependent, was released this summer, and includes a collaboration with your lesbian twin obsession Tegan and Sara on the following video:
10. Jasika Nicole
Out lesbian actress Jasika Nicole is lighting up the small screen on Fox’s Fringe, playing the part of Astrid Farnsworth. She is also an illustrator, with a new comic in the works called Closetalkers about the beginning of a lesbian relationship formed between two roommates.
Jasika is also collaborating on a book called The Letter Q, a compilation of letters adults are writing to their younger, unhappy selves.
What did you think of these strong, sexy women of color? Who is your favorite? Who is missing?
- 10 Famous Femme Lesbians on Coming Out
- Featured Femme on a Mission: Jessie J
- Featured Femme on a Mission: Beth Ditto