Photography by Ryan Pfluger at the Skyline Hotel, new york, on September 22, 2015. Groomer: Angela DiCarlo.
"My constant inspiration is the pressure of the ticking clock," says Diana Nyad. "I can't tolerate any unconscious moment. It's not that I always have to be driving toward success, but I do refuse to let any waking moment be dull or not lived with gusto." Indeed, it's hard to imagine anyone who has grabbed life more vigorously than Nyad, who in September 2013, at the age of 64, succeeded in swimming from Cuba to Florida -- her fifth attempt -- becoming the first person to do so without the aid of a shark cage. Since achieving that feat, she has met President Obama and appeared as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, continuing to inspire the masses. The title of her newly published memoir, Find a Way, is the same motto that's kept her motivated. "I don't wake up each morning a woman, a senior citizen, a lesbian, a Democrat, a human rights advocate, an atheist, a pacifist, an animal lover, or an environmentalist," Nyad says. "I may be all of these things, but above all I'm just a person who cherishes a bold journey -- who refuses to let this one wild and precious life slip quietly by."