Greg Louganis is an actor, dancer, dog trainer, and AIDS, equality, and diversity activist, and he’s also considered the greatest diver in history. Currently a coach on ABC’s celebrity diving competition Splash, he’s also a judge for this summer’s International Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Louganis won his first Olympic medal at the age of 16. At 24, in the 1984 games, he became the first man in 56 years to win two Gold Medals in diving. Four years later he became the first to win double Gold Medals for diving in two consecutive Olympics.
He’s a five-time world champion and holds 47 national championship titles.
In the mid 1990s Louganis revealed to the world that he was gay and HIV-positive, which resulted in the loss of most of his corporate sponsorships. Louganis has certainly rebounded and achieved much since then. He’s building up his acting career, having appeared onstage (in Jeffrey) and in film (D2: The Mighty Ducks), and he recently guest-starred in the Web series Old Dogs & New Tricks. —Clea Kim
New York City
TV Personality & Founder of Volttage.com
It’s hard to imagine that Jack Mackenroth was only 4 foot 11 in high school, but it’s a fact his younger sister, Sarah, likes to share with the media. (And the fact that Mackenroth liked to steal her Barbie dolls.) The muscled designer turned pinup turned activist was kind of a runty late bloomer. But boy, has he bloomed.
After a childhood in Seattle with a single mom and two siblings, Mackenroth entered the world of fashion via the famed Parsons School of Design. He began modeling, and through the 1990s he appeared in dozens of publications, including Men’s Fitness and Paper magazines. Not long after leaving Parsons, Mackenroth ran his own menswear store (Jack, in New York’s West Village), then had stints designing for Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, and Weatherproof. Somewhere along the way he found time to swim competitively, winning three all-American titles, setting a national breaststroke record, and finishing 12th in that event at the 2006 World Masters Championships. This was a man who succeeded in everything he did.
But priorities changed for Mackenroth in 2007, when he became a contestant on Project Runway’s fourth season. He was never in the bottom three, and in episode 3 he won the menswear challenge. He was a designer to beat. Then in episode 5, Mackenroth became the first designer to leave Project Runway for medical reasons; he had developed a contagious drug-resistant staph infection. Mackenroth came out to his castmates—and America—about being HIV-positive and needing to take extra care with his health. He left the show, spent a week in a hospital, and found his calling.
Today, Mackenroth, who still designs, especially for charity (in 2008 he created a wedding gown made entirely of condoms for San Francisco’s Project Inform), is an HIV activist and one of the few HIV-positive celebrities who uses his status to change how people think about HIV. He’s worked with a number of HIV/AIDS charities, and now he’s started a dating site for HIV-positive men, Volttage.