The Advocate's 40 under 40 honors Vanessa Selbst

The current issue of The Advocate recently named Vanessa Selbst to its list of "architects of the next decade" by including her as a member of its "40 under 40" list. The magazine/website is the oldest LGBT publication in the U.S. and has been very influential in the gay rights movement. Vanessa was picked as a member of the 40 under 40 "accomplished leaders in politics, sports, science, religion, and the arts."

"It's an honor to be selected among such a talented group, and the support I've received in response to it from non-LGBT people has been heartening," Vanessa said about the announcement. "It's inspiring to see how much the world is changing; instead of rejecting LGBT people, most make specific efforts to honor them and appreciate their contributions to society, and that is an incredibly special thing."

Vanessa has been active in the LGBT movement and open in the poker community regarding her life as a lesbian and subsequent activism. The PokerStars blog posted this article about her engagement in January to Miranda Forster. And Selbst posted a recent update about the couple's life together via a road trip she and her fiancée took across America.

Vanessa Selbst and Miranda.jpg

She had this to say in March to a question from a reddit Q&A, one that asked whether her sexual orientation was an issue at the poker table or with fans. She responded: "(Being gay) means I get to be in an amazing relationship with a woman, and it also means I get an extra community of really (expletive) cool people. It also caused me to take all of these classes about race, gender, class, etc., which just made me so much more of an empathetic person generally."

Vanessa gave an in-depth interview to Curve magazine in 2010, not long after she became a household name in the poker world. She talked about ensuring that television cameras at her final tables included her then-girlfriend Miranda, saying, "I insisted on it. They regularly mention other players' wives and girlfriends and show them on camera, after all." And it was more than simple common sense to her; it was something she felt was important for the LGBT community as a whole. "You see so few out LGBT people in the media. You're doing something bigger than yourself," she noted about identifying as a lesbian in the poker community.

Vanessa Selbst hug.jpg

For that as much as her poker skills, Vanessa has been embraced by most in the poker community. Of course, it doesn't hurt that she simply amazes fans and fellow players when she crushes tournaments and earns more than $7 million in just a few short years in the game. For The Advocate to recognize her contributions and leadership as well is a great step in a positive direction for all.

For more details about Vanessa and her life on and away from the felt, this article reveals her soft side as an animal lover and her penchant for breaking rules. We will be following her as she continues to break rules and lead the way for women everywhere.

Congratulations to Vanessa from all of us at PokerStars Women, and best wishes for your continued success.

(Article contributions from Jennifer Newell.)

Rebekah Mercer
@PokerStars in PS Women