West Hollywood, Calif., is just over 30 years old. Its mayor, Lindsey Horvath, is only a little older: She was 33 when she took office last April. Raised in the small town of Wickliffe, Ohio, Horvath moved to Los Angeles after college. While working in entertainment marketing, Horvath become involved in women’s rights issues; at 22, she established the Hollywood branch of the National Organization for Women. Her social activism led to an interest in local politics. In 2009, she was appointed to fill a seat on the West Hollywood City Council. “I was struck by her ‘can-do’ attitude,” says former West Hollywood Mayor Abbe Land.
But many residents still saw Horvath as inexperienced, and opted not to vote for her when the seat came up for election in 2011. That didn’t deter Horvath: Four years later, she ran for council again and won. A month later, thanks to another council member who passed on the city’s rotating mayoral position, Horvath was sworn in as mayor.
She credits her passion as a public official to her upbringing in the Catholic Church, a religion she says is “always committed to being of service.” She also works as the global coordinator for 1 Billion Rising, a movement to end violence against women.