100 Women We Love

photo by KAT BAGLEY
Mollie Thomas
"When I began my campaign for Miss California, I set my personal goal at inspiring just one person to love who they are,” Mollie Thomas says, “and knowing that my campaign has touched so many people from all over the world is the most rewarding feeling I can imagine.“ At 19, Thomas is one of the first two openly gay women to compete for Miss California USA. Not your typical teenager, Thomas is using her prominence as a platform to speak out and stand up for the entire LGBTQ community. She recently founded Team Equality, a not-for-profit mission to combat stereotypes while promoting acceptance and tolerance through positive visibility in mainstream media. Team Equality’s first PSA, “Everyone Deserves Love,” directed by photographer Jen Rosenstein, has tens of thousands of views on YouTube in just a few months without any external promotion. After growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania and spending time traveling the world, Thomas feels that she has experienced a life comparable to that of many women twice her age.