How do you categorize someone that’s a certified rule breaker who uses passion to drive themselves out of bed in the morning? The answer is, our entire Power 50: The Road Ahead cast. To celebrate the October OUT Power 50 Issue, we sat down with two our favorite rule breakers. Power 50 Honoree, Justin Tranter, and culinary powerhouse Kristen Kish let us into their world to talk the power of following their passions, why giving back to the LGBTQ community is essential and what drives them each and every day.
Justin Tranter may not be a household name, but you’ve definitely sung a few of his songs. The LGBTQ hitmaker has penned power ballads and pop songs for some of the music industry’s most recognizable names. Think Britney Spears, Cardi B, John Legend, Kesha, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez.
Living in your truth is one of Justin’s favorite ways to describe his journey. Since he was a young boy, he always knew he wanted to create art. “The first time I wrote a song, I can actually very clearly remember it. As each section happened, I just got more and more excited. It was like ‘oh my god, I think this is a song. I think I’m writing a song.’ The feeling just got so overwhelming, because it was so exciting. To capture that in like a three-minute musical capsule that could live forever and the feelings that I had inside me I got out and put into a piece of art,” says Tranter on the set of The Road Ahead shoot. During his time at the Chicago School of the Arts, Tranter started an annual AIDS benefit. The student-run showcase continues to raise money for the local LGBTQ community to this day.
Now, Justin is using his success to help others. This Fall he’ll open a recording studio at his high school, the Chicago Academy of the Arts. He’s excited to help the next generation of LGBTQ songwriters and musicians find their voice.
Kristen Kish shattered the Top Chef’s glass ceiling, becoming the first competitor to win after winning “Last Chance Kitchen,” and the second female winner in the history of the reality competition show. Shortly after her win, Kish came out in a beautiful Instagram Post dedicated to her then girlfriend on their one-year anniversary. Setting the culinary world, a blaze, Kristen has made a name for herself as a talented chef with her unique recipes that often pay homage to her South Korean roots.
Having been adopted when she was young, Kish has always felt a need to belong. She is close with her adoptive family, and credits them with helping her find her way and her love of cooking. "As I grew up, I realized just how incredible it was to go from unwanted and abandoned by my birth mother to being part of a new, welcoming family, who felt only joy at my arrival," says Kish in the introduction of her latest cookbook.
Having grown up in Boston, Kish is now excited to enter new territory—the opening of her first restaurant Arlo Grey in Austin Texas. One of a handful of out LGBTQ chefs in the area, Kish hopes that the success of the restaurant will help her change perceptions of LGBTQ chefs in the industry.
Check out more inspiring stories on style, culinary and lifestyle in this special Power 50: The Road Ahead Series in celebration of the OUT POWER 50 issue.