Merriam-Webster defines passion as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.” These 10 people made their passions their lives.
What does passion look like to you? These people have unique passions, and they’ve found ways to build their passions into their lives.
Passion: Good, responsibly raised food
Salatin has made a name for himself in the farming and food industries because of his approach to farming. On his farm, he goes to great lengths to ensure that the way he cares for and raises his animals ends up benefiting not only his customers but also the animals themselves and the land they live on. He’s so passionate about the locavore movement that he refuses to send his food to buyers located more than four hours away.
Passion: His brothers
The founder of the Wounded Warrior Project, marine John Melia was injured in a 1992 helicopter crash in Somalia. A decade later, Melia recognized what his brothers coming home from new wars were going to need. With the help of friends and family, Melia created WWP, which has now helped more than 35,000 wounded warriors.
Holly Robinson Peete
Passion: Her son
While Peete began her career as an actress on shows like 21 Jump Street, in recent years, she’s become better known for her role as “Mom.” When Peete’s son RJ was diagnosed with autism, Peete quickly realized that families of kids with autism needed more support. Together, she and her husband formed the HollyRod Foundation, which offers support to families of people with autism and Parkinson’s disease.
James Lecesne, Peggy Rajski and Randy Stone
Passion: A safe environment for homosexual teens
When Rajski and Stone saw Lecesne’s one-man show about Trevor, a 13-year-old gay boy who tries to commit suicide after being bullied, they worked with him to turn it into an Academy Award–nominated movie. From there, the film spawned a suicide-prevention hotline plus chat and text services. The three have also created programs to train educators and teens to help and accept those who are bullied for their feelings.
Pamela Des Barres
Passions: Music, writing and rock stars
When she was still a teen, Des Barres found herself in the coveted role of a regular groupie for some of the biggest names in rock. She was even featured in Rolling Stone. Years later, she reworked her journal entries and her remembered experiences into her book, I’m with the Band — a tell-all of loving and being loved by rock stars. Who knew it could pay the bills? These days, she’s teaching writers’ workshops to other ladies with stories to tell.
Passion: The Gospel
You don’t have to be a believer to understand how far Rev. Graham’s passion for God has taken him. The Southern Baptist leader’s name has been on the tips of people’s tongues since he first rose to fame in the late 1940s. He was even a friend of Martin Luther King Jr. and reportedly once bailed him out of jail. At 95 years old, Graham is still highly respected, and his opinions and teachings are influential in many churches.
Passions: Shore break and pleasing his wife
Little went from being a surfer to taking some of the most interesting photographs in the world. When his wife wanted a picture of a wave for their walls, Little hopped on his board and paddled out. His technique of shooting pictures of waves from inside the tube has made him a highly sought-after photographer.
Camille Zamora and Monica Yunus
Passion: Bringing arts back
Renowned sopranos Zamora and Yunus met at the Juilliard School. Their professions have sent them across the globe to perform, but they’ve remained fast friends. Now they run Sing for Hope, a foundation that seeks to bring all the arts back to underprivileged neighborhoods and schools.
Rob Cox, James Belden and Tom Bittman
Passion: The safety of their children
American lives came to a screeching halt on Dec. 14, 2012, when a man with a gun entered Sandy Hook Elementary and killed 20 young children and six adults. After having their small, safe world forever changed by gun violence on that day, Cox, Belden and Bittman set up Sandy Hook Promise. The three men and their team of supporters have lobbied all over Washington, D.C., in an effort to reform gun laws. If anyone can get it done, it’s these headstrong guys.
Passion: A good story
Colvin’s passion for telling a story brought her into the front lines in most of her generation’s wars and political strife. She lost an eye while embedded in Sri Lanka and interviewed Muammar Gaddafi on two separate occasions, 20 years apart. In 2012, Colvin entered Syria, seeking the truth and serving as a witness to the violence. She and her photographer were killed by a roadside bomb while living in the area and surveying the damage.