6. Shamim Momin, 36

Distinction: Momin, a former curator at New York's Whitney Museum, believes art should be interactive. Her new nonprofit, Los Angeles Nomadic Division, helps emerging artists organize innovative, site-specific projects, like a recent event where musicians collaborated to score a film on the spot.

What drives you to succeed? It sounds cheesy, but if you compete against yourself you get better all the time.

Describe yourself in one word. A friend once told me I was the most fearless person he'd ever met. I want that to be a compliment I've earned.

Any bad habits? I always say "Crazytown" whenever something weird or inexplicable happens.

You feel happiest when... I've done something I believe in, or helped someone else's great idea happen.

Any regrets? I try to do everything so I never use that word. Often it's things I haven't done that I regret.

If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save? This raggedy stuffed animal my dad gave me that goes everywhere I go. It's been recovered from hotels, lost and found again and again. It's witnessed everything.

People would be surprised to learn that... I'm obsessed with teenager movies and dance movies. I wish I could break out in song and synchronized dance.

Designer: Zero + Maria Cornejo

Next: Musician Esperanza Spalding


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