100 Women We Love 2015

We are thrilled to present this year’s 100 Women We Love—an incredibly diverse group of out entertainers, athletes, artists, activists, business leaders and elected officials.

RAYYA ELIAS

Rayya Elias is a real Renaissance woman-in the fact that she excels in an array of artistic pursuits, and because she has risen from the depths of drugs and homelessness to be reborn as an acclaimed memoirist. Born in Syria, Elias and her family moved to Detroit when she was a child, and she fell into the city´s roaring post-punk scene. After moving to New York in 1983, Elias played in experimental bands, worked as a hair stylist and art director, and developed a serious drug habit that landed her in institutions and jail. She made her way back, wrote and directed two short films (and wrote the scores for both), and was named “one of 25 new faces to watch” by Filmmaker magazine. Elias also published and recorded a six-song soundtrack for her memoir, Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair, and Post Punk, from the Middle East to the Lower East Side, which has been compared to work by Augusten Burroughs and Patti Smith. “It´s not easy to write a memoir and be completely upfront about all the damage that I caused myself, and all the pain I´d inflicted on loved ones,” admits Elias, who´s now working on a television adaptation of the book. “But once I´d experienced that freedom, then sharing it was the next best thing.” -K