AfterEllen.com’s 30 Under 30: Queer Women to Watch

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Olivia Thirlby (27)

Olivia Thirlby is an underrated talent that wrapped four films this year with three more already planned in 2015. One of particular note, The White Orchid, has Olivia alongside Jennifer Beals and Janina Gavanakar. Olivia is out as bisexual and is part of the Self-Evident Truths campaign, of which she said, “For me personally, it’s important to be a part of this because I feel it’s a way of me showing gratitude that I live surrounded by a community in which I don’t have to hide my sexual orientation. And no one should have to hide their sexual orientation. Loving people is a necessary part of being human, and it is very difficult to love people in secret.”

Megan Ellison (28)

Megan Ellison has her name on some of the biggest films of the last five years, including Her, Zero Dark Thirty, The Master and Spring Breakers. The producer is also at work on the Terminator franchise as well as developing a series about Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo with Angela Robinson and Alex Kondracke. She doesn’t like to do interviews, but Megan does enjoy wearing suits and bringing her girlfriend with her on the red carpet.

Jackie Cruz (23)

The Orange is the New Black star had a bigger role in Season 2, which thrilled us to no end as Flaca is a sassy prisoner that fills the kitchen with funny quips and warm friendship. In real life, Jackie was outed as bi when she appeared on Kim & Kourtney Take Miami in 2011, in which she kissed the oldest Kardashian. Outside of Orange, Jackie is also a singer and songwriter and starred in the 2014 film 13 Steps.

Kristen Merlin (29)

The Voice‘s country singing lesbian contestant challenged the genre and won America over, making it into the final four on the show’s sixth season. Now she’s on tour with the other finalists. “I don’t know of many gay country singers, or at least outwardly gay,” Kristen told us. “But it’s something that I’m hoping that maybe my being on The Voice, it’ll help get to a point where people don’t even think about it, breaking that mold.”

Michelle Chamuel (28)

After becoming a fan favorite and coming in second on The Voice in 2013 under mentor Usher, Michelle released an EP and is now readying a full-length album for the end of this year. In between recording and songwriting, she does shows in the States and also spends time with girlfriend Mary Lambert.

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