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.

STEFF MAHAN

It isn´t always easy being an openly gay singer-songwriter in the country/folk vein, especially in Nashville, but Steff Mahan wouldn´t have it any other way. Years ago, she left a high-paying job as an advertising executive to become a songwriter at $150 per week. Playing her honest and soulful brand of Americana in Nashville clubs eventually earned her attention from a record label, but there was a hitch. “I wanted to be successful so badly, I led them to believe I was someone I wasn´t. I realized if I had to play straight to be successful in the music business, I would be miserable,” Mahan says. She told the label as much, and they dropped the deal-but Mahan had proven something to herself. “I believe being myself and standing side-by-side through bad and good with that one person who will always love you is true success.” Mahan plays more than 200 live shows a year in support of her most recent album, Where I´m Coming From. It´s an exhausting but exhilarating way to earn a living. “There may always be times when I wonder why I chose this path, but I also know that I would not totally be happy unless I was playing and writing. It´s not just what I do, it´s who I am.” -KL