Efva Attling

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Efva Attling has been doing a little bit of everything since her modeling career kicked off in the 1970s. She was part of the pop band X Models (named after her former profession) and helped release the hit “Två av oss”; alas, she was rejected by that other famous Swedish pop band, ABBA. Although she dipped into disco dancing for a while, Attling eventually settled on jewelry and eyeglass design. She runs her own label, which she has described as “simplicity with a twist” and “beauty with a thought“.

Attling is openly gay and active in the production of jewelry that celebrates queer identities, including a piece produced following the anti-gay crackdowns in Russia around the 2014 Olympic Games.

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Yamada Yōko

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Yamada Yōko (stage name: 山田 よう子, given name: 山田 洋子), the bisexual Japanese arm wrestler known as “The Sturdy Arm” and “Iron Beauty”, took silver at the world championship just six months after beginning training. After completing school she had been feeling uninspired and directionless, but a chance encounter with an arm wrestler in a restaurant convinced her to give the sport a try. She has since taken home an impressive list of wins and placements and dabbled in other sports, like mixed martial arts and pro wrestling. Outside of sports, she has worked in affiliation with KT Projects as a gravure idol.

One of Yamada’s MMA bouts can be viewed here. Her blog (in Japanese) can be found here.

 

Jenny Shimizu

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The above candid photograph bears little resemblance to the butch snapshots lesbian supermodel Jenny Shimizu appears in. She was scouted by Calvin Klein while working as an auto mechanic and appeared in the company’s fragrance advertisements. Since then she has appeared in the films Foxfire (along with actress Angelina Jolie, with whom she had a love affair) and Itty Bitty Titty Committe; campaigns for other high-fashion companies; gigs on supernatural soap opera Dante’s Cove and reality TV show Make Me a Supermodel; and accolades as a role model (and eye candy) in the queer community. In recent years she has begun to apply her modeling experience to a new career as a designer and agent.

Shimizu’s Twitter account can be found here.

Josephine Baker

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Civil rights activist, spy, and premiere ex-pat entertainer, the “Creole Goddess” – who was actually from Saint Louis, Missouri – was a star of the early 20th century stage. She was, among other things: “the highest-paid chorus girl in vaudeville”; the first African-American woman to star in a major film; and such a fixture in Parisian nightlife that her animated likeness is given a cameo in the children’s film Anastasia. The cheetah in the above picture, her pet Chiquita, would terrorize the musicians in the orchestra pit while she performed, adding a novel level of appeal to her act.

Baker’s eventful life took her from the States to France, which she fell in love with on account of what she saw as a less racist climate. When World War II broke out she used her status as a touring performer to schmooze with high-level Axis officials, scrawling notes on her sheet music in invisible ink; for her efforts, she was rewarded with the Croix de guerre and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by Charles de Gaulle. After the war she returned to the US for a tour. Her experiences with segregation led her to join the NAACP, and she crusaded with such gusto that they called for May 20th, 1951, to be declared Josephine Baker Day. She even spoke at the March on Washington.

Although Baker’s Wikipedia article is silent on the subject, she was very likely bisexual, and certainly had an affair with Frida Kahlo.

Mishima Yukio

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At the time of his death by seppuku at age 45, Mishima (the pen name of Hiraoka Kimitake, under which he became famous, and the name used in biographical sources) had published roughly 30 novels, 50 plays, 25 books of short stories, 35 books of essays, one libretto, one film, and reams of poetry, to the tune of three Nobel Prize in Literature nominations and recognition as ones of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century.

Mishima’s second novel, Confessions of a Mask, was the first to gain widespread attention, earning him fame at the age of 24. Semi-autobiographical, it tells the story of a physically frail, homosexual man, who conceals his differences in order to blend in with society.