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Variety’s New Leaders: Ronan Farrow, Elaine Welteroth Are Making a Big Social Impact

Variety Staff

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Every year, Variety seeks to identify the next generation of leaders in the entertainment business, looking for representatives in the creative community, film, TV, music and digital. This year’s group has a heavy New York focus: We selected executives from forward thinking companies such as Spotify, Group Nine and Endeavor Audio, as well as writers and producers in late night comedy, plus agents and managers who help put the deals together that keep the entertainment business humming.

Amanat began her career at Marvel as a comic-book editor but made her mark globally as co-creator of Muslim-American female superhero Kamala Khan — the new Ms. Marvel. Her knack for bringing diversity into the comic-book world has also led to her post as executive producer of animation franchise “Marvel Rising,” which features a diverse group of superheroes. Amanat also helped launch the Women of Marvel platform. “Yes, it’s so much fun to make our stories inclusive because they expand
the richness of our stories, but it’s also so damn important we remind everyone that they belong, and that they, too, are capable of greatness,” she says.

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Farrow earned a Pulitzer Prize for reporting sexual- misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and followed his New Yorker bombshells with the book “Catch and Kill,” which will soon be turned into a podcast; he also has a deal with HBO. “I’m constantly inspired by the brave sources that I work with,” Farrow says. “It makes it harder for me to take the easy way out … I am a journalist, not an activist. My job is just to fairly interrogate the facts. When that means going up against powerful interests, all I can say is I’m not putting as much on the line as any number of [my] sources are.”

Welteroth never set out to be a trailblazer, but now that she is one, she takes her responsibility seriously. The first black beauty editor for a Conde Nast magazine (Teen Vogue) at 25, she became its editor-in-chief four years later, the youngest ever for a Conde magazine. She earned praise for Teen Vogue’s pointed political coverage under her leadership. Now she’s a judge on Bravo’s “Project Runway” and a writer with a New York Times best-seller and an episode of Freeform’s “Grown-ish” under her belt. “If I’m going to be held up as a trailblazer, then I better be doing everything in my power to leave that trail with signposts along the way that make it less daunting for the next woman of color, specifically black woman, who’s coming up behind me.”

Gelman and Kassan founded their female co-working company in 2016, which now boasts thousands of members and outposts in cities like New York, Boston, Los Angeles and London. It runs workshops and hosts speakers such as Hillary Clinton and Jennifer Lawrence, also publishing a No Man’s Land magazine and tie-in podcast. “We really complement each other as leaders and can’t imagine doing this without each other,” Gelman and Kassan say in a joint statement. “We have different areas of expertise, but tend to agree on the big calls. Audrey has great gut instincts and is a bit more comfortable taking risks, and Lauren has incredible judgement — and helps think through how to execute every aspect of our vision.”

Variety’s New Leaders 2019: CreativesSocial Impact | Music | TV | Digital | Film | Agents/Managers/Lawyers

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