Quickly climbing the fashion ladder, at age 18 the precocious designer was the youngest to show at the prestigious New York Fashion Week. Since then, Mr. Cortazar has opened for Mercedes-Benz Los Angeles Fashion Week, brought Cindy Crawford out of retirement to model for his Spring/Summer 2004 show, and has been featured in Elle and W as well as being a finalist for Fashion Group International's 2004 rising star awards. He has also been recruited to dress celebrities including Eva Longoria, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Beyonce Knowles, and Paris Hilton
Born in Bogota to a painter father and a jazz singer mother, Mr. Cortazar grew up in an environment that fostered creativity. He cites his father as an inspiration in addition to his constantly changing muses — this season it's Grace Jones who brings a severe and modern flavor to his collection. His Colombian roots also play a part in his designs. "My Latin roots are always alive when I'm designing. There's always the flavor of celebrating the woman, which Latins certainly do," Mr. Cortazar says.
So what's next for the young designer who still has many more years ahead of him in the fashion world? "Keep learning, keep accomplishing, and reaching new levels. I want to be at a state of constant improvement."
Director, Adolescent Health Center
Mount Sinai Medical Center
Dr. Diaz, a professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and director of its Health Center, has worked more than 25 years providing medical services to youth. Under her leadership at the Adolescent Health Center, a program that offers free health services to thousands of teens every year, it has become the largest adolescent health center in the United States. As president of the Children's Aid Society Board of Trustees, Dr. Diaz is the first Hispanic woman and person of color to lead the society. She was awarded the American Academy of Pediatrics Founders of Adolescent Health Award in 2001.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Mr. Garciaparra came into the Major Leagues with a bang, making his debut on August 31, 1996, as a defensive replacement at second base for the Boston Red Sox who registered his first big league home run just a day later. Eleven seasons later, the six-time All-Star shortstop's career has received immense attention from the baseball world and beyond – his wife is Olympics soccer sensation Mia Hamm. His .320 career batting average ranks fifth among active Major League players; he's eighth among all-time Major League shortstops with 183 home runs; and holds the record for the most doubles in a single season by a shortstop with 56 in 2002.
With such a celebrated career as a shortstop, his switch to first base this year has been "a challenge every day," he explains. "I don't take it for granted for one second. To me, it's not about the position I'm playing, but the fact that I'm able to play the game on this level at all."
After leaving the Red Sox and returning to Southern California to play with the Dodgers, the Whittier native looks forward to being back where he grew up. "It's always nice to look up in the stands and see my family and friends that have always supported me every day." And in a game that was once homogenous, he's enjoying the increasing diversity. "It's great to see not just Hispanic players, but players from all walks of life. It's great for the game."
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