Anderson Cooper
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Anderson Cooper: The power of showing up

For weeks after Hurricane Katrina, the silver-haired CNN anchor doggedly waded through stagnant water and government double-talk, speaking aloud the thought each of us was having: "Why isn't anyone doing anything to fix this?" Five years later, as oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, he asked that question again—and vowed to keep it up until he got an answer. As host of AC360°, Cooper, 43, has proved himself relentless when it comes to showing us the truth and humanity in every story. We wondered if he'd always been so tenacious. So we asked his mom.

When he was very little—no more than 2—if someone suggested that he do something a certain way and he disagreed, he'd say, 'You do what you do, and I do what I do.' He's always done things his way. When he was 17, he went to Africa and ended up with malaria. He knew if I found out, I'd insist he return—so he didn't tell me he was in a Kenyan hospital. But his determination never caused any arguments, because I'm over-the-moon proud of him for being so passionate about everything he does. And he's been that way from the beginning. — Gloria Vanderbilt

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