From the Beautiful People Archives: Ryan McGinley, Michelle Rodriguez and More


For the past 14 years, we here at PAPER have put out an annual Beautiful People issue highlighting up-and-coming actors, musicians, artists, writers, designers, etc. who we feel particularly inspired by, and believe may go on to do great things. To celebrate the April release of our 2011 BP issue, throughout the month we'll be poring through the archives and featuring a few of our favorite Beautiful People of years past. Below, we include the original text and photos from our 2002 BP issue, which included Leo Fitzpatrick, Michelle Rodriguez, Romany Malco, Ryan McGinley and Tess Giberson.

Ryan McGinley

A few things you should know about Ryan McGinley:

What he does: Photography -- which, in his case, essentially means taking pictures of
his friends (including local graffiti legends Earsnot and the Irak crew) and documenting
misadventures in youth culture.

His other passions: Pornography, skateboarding, '50s love songs, "teenage-rebellion
films," Sissy Spacek.

Where he's from: "Jersey, baby!"

Where you can find him: He's Vice magazine's photo editor and a contributing photographer at Index. Index just published his first self-titled book. He's had solo shows in New York, Berlin, Toronto and London.

How he got started: He printed out his first book, The Kids are Alright, on his home computer and bound the pages by hand. All 100 copies were sent to buddies and artists
he idolizes.

Why he is inspirational: He's 24. He first picked up a camera in 1998, just as he was
studying graphic design at Parsons. "One day I realized, I don't want to fucking sit in
front of a computer and do this," he says. "That shit sucks!"

What you're in for: McGinley keeps binders of Polaroids that pay tribute to every
person who has passed through his apartment. Up until I moved to New York, my life
was not documented. My parents never took pictures. That's why I am obsessed with
photographing every day." -- Porochista Khakpour
2011 Update: Not too long after this story was published, McGinley became the youngest artist ever to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of Art. His work has also since been shown in the Whitney Biennial, the Guggenheim, P.S.1. and featured in a gazillion publications. He has published five books of his work as well, including 2010's Life Adjustment Center. The author of the original McGinley piece, Porochista Khakpour, went on to pen the 2007 critically acclaimed novel Sons and Other Flammable Objects.

Leo Fitzpatrick

"I have issues with being an actor," confesses 24-year-old scene-stealer Leo Fitzpatrick.
"It's a stupid business. I want to quit every day and go work at McDonald's -- but I don't."
Fitzpatrick, who was discovered by director Larry Clark for the lead in Kids when he was a 14-year-old skateboarder in Washington Square Park, makes playing even the trickiest roles look effortless. He was a wannabe gangster in Clark's Bully and a creative writing student with cerebral palsy in Todd Solondz's Storytelling. "I make it and a year later it comes out, and I ignore it," Fitzpatrick says of his films with a sarcastic chuckle. "I see it and I hate myself in it."

But Fitzpatrick does seem to enjoy photography and publishing zines, which he produces
by "stealing supplies." His photographs serve as a visual journal of his life in Brooklyn, where he has a core group of friends, most of whom are starving artists. "It gives me the same rush as skateboarding," he says of his hobby. "I don't mind sitting in the corner and watching." Fitzpatrick is working on turning his zines into a book, and he also gigs around town with his band Whispers. And despite his protestations, this year he will be seen in HBO's new cop series The Wire and the Sundance smash hit Personal Velocity.

After being hit by a drunken driver in L.A. last year, Fitzpatrick, who sustained severe
muscle and nervous damage in his left leg, was forced to drop out of the big-budget Robert Redford vehicle The Last Castle. "People may think I have found success [with acting]," he observes, "but that's the last think I think about when I think of priorities." 
-- Peter Davis
2011 Update: Despite HBO's "new cop series The Wire" going on to be one of the most critically acclaimed television series ever, Fitzpatrick continues to pursue avenues outside of acting (though he still does some of that, too). As of late, he's been dabbling in the art world, with shows at Fuse Gallery and Half Gallery. Fitzpatrick's also had recent roles on Sons of Anarchy and Burn Notice and will star alongside Juno Temple, Kylie Mingoue and Jean Malone in upcoming film Jack and Diane.

Michelle Rodriguez

Michelle Rodriguez knows her weaknesses. Discipline? "My irresponsibility could lead
me to get blacklisted from Hollywood one day." Surfing? "I suck. I'm bad." Being feminine?
"I don't like sitting around looking cute, that's not me." As she proved in Girlfight (2000), the 23-year-old actress also knows how to be touch. After growing up a Jehovah's Witness with five brothers in Texas, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, Rodriquez landed in Jersey City and dropped out of high school. She schlepped at Toys 'R' Us, got her GED and beat out 350 girls to play a rough-and-tumble boxer in Girlfight. Since then, she's done more tough-chick posing in The Fast and the Furious and Spike Lee's 3 AM, and will appear this year in Resident Evil and Surf Girls. In the hands of a lesser talent, these flicks would probably be snoozers, but with her winsome sexuality and irresistible glares, Rodriquez owns these movies, and now everybody wants a piece -- weaknesses and all.  -- Meghan Sutherland
2011 Update: Though Rodriguez did end up having some legal troubles, including two DUIs and jail time in 2008, blacklisted she was not. After appearing in the cult-favorite TV series Lost, she since had roles in Robert Rodriguez's Machete, James Cameron's Avatar and the recent Battle: Los Angeles.  

Romany Malco

"It's like this," says actor, rapper and entrepreneur Romany Malco. "There's something
to be said for accepting what is given to you -- you can't see a penny on the ground and not pick it up. You're telling the universe that you don't want money and good things." Malco has certainly followed this philosophy. Tribe child of Trinidadian parents, he grew up between New York City, Trinidad, and Texas, which gave him a "natural world-citizen mentality." At seven he picked up the mike, dubbed himself "Kid Nice", and began his rap career "talking shit" as his cab-driver father DJ'd parties at his Brooklyn dispatch. As a teen in Texas, he formed R.M.G., which became Baytown's most popular rap group. R.M.G. took their success to L.A., got signed to Virgin, changed their name to the College Boys and had a big hit with "Victim of the Ghetto."

Disillusion with the music industry, Malco started a lucrative Internet company in 1997.
While Malco focused on his new business venture, his friend John Leguizamo talked him into auditioning for a film. Malco didn't get the part but he did make an impression on the casting director who began calling him in for auditions. A year later he found himself in Eastern Europe doing a series of Snoop Dogg and Ice-T films. In 2000, director Jesse Peretz cast Malco in his comedy The Château after a five-minute audition playing opposite veteran actor Paul Rudd. Since Château began screening, he has been signed to AMG, landed the role of MC Hammer in VH1's flick Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story and recently wrapped The Tuxedo with Jackie Chan. Phew! Malco must have a pocketful of pennies by now! -- Sarah Flicker
2011 Update: Omg, how did we leave out in our original piece that Romany Malco was the voice of MC Skat Kat in Paula Abdul's "Opposites Attract" video?? Anywho, Malco went on to have a bunch of funny appearances in mid-to-late aughts comedy gems including The 40 Year-Old-Virgin, Blades of Glory and Baby Mama. He's also had roles on Weeds and Bored to Death and appears in a regular Web-series, Tijuana Jackson: Life Coach, on FunnyOrDie.  

Tess Giberson

"Its part moose, part camel and part elephant," says Tess Giberson of a stuffed animal her
mom made for her when she was a kid. "She made all our toys and clothes when my sister and I were little." The 30-year-old fashion designer grew up in the remote hills of New Hampshire with a compulsively creative mom who had a slightly morbid sense of humor. Giberson's intricately detailed and carefully constructed designs are homage to her mother, she says. Her fond childhood memories are lovingly woven by hand onto her patchworked, crocheted and embroidered goodies.

Giberson met her husband, painter Jon Widman, while studying apparel design at the
Rhode Island School of Design eight years ago. The couple lives and works together in their loft in New York's Meatpacking District. Though her line has been expanding slowly since her first collection in the fall of 2000, she insists on keeping the business small--despite having had a hard time meeting the demand. "I just want it to grow organically," says Giberson with lots of sweet conviction, "and to me, mass production is simply boring." -- Carol Lee
2011 Update: Giberson's line continues to grow steadily. She just announced that she'll be opening her own boutique on Crosby street early next month.

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