It's not every day you see a voting rights leader, talk show host, viral champion gymnast, and legendary coach come together in one place, but then again, Bustle's Rule Breakers celebration is all about defying expectations. That's why this year's Rule Breakers lineup features special guest appearances by individuals actively working to make the world a better place — former Georgia house representative Stacey Abrams, actor and activist Busy Philipps, NCAA gymnastics champion Katelyn Ohashi, and UCLA gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field. Throughout the day they'll join performers Jesse Jo Stark, ABIR, Betty Who, and Lizzo, who will also take the stage Sept. 21 at The LeFrak Center at Lakeside, Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
Abrams, Philipps, Ohashi, and Kondos Field were among six women honored in August as part of Bustle's Rule Breakers digital issue, an editorial initiative uplifting the women and nonbinary individuals who are upending the status quo at every opportunity, and re-writing the rules as they go. Actor Jameela Jamil and Soko Glam founder Charlotte Cho were also honored within the issue for their continued commitment to creating change within their industries.
It's all part of Bustle's larger mission to amplify and celebrate voices that are fighting for change across all corners of society. Meet the Bustle Rule Breakers who will be in attendance at Bustle's event Sept. 21, learn more about the rules they're breaking, and prepare to be majorly inspired.
Stacey Abrams refuses to stop fighting — for herself and for others. The former Georgia lawmaker may have lost the Georgia gubernatorial race to Republican Brian Kemp in 2018, but Abrams is set on building a better future, no matter how difficult that may be. Much of her energy these days is spent working to protect voter rights, and to make sure upcoming elections represent and serve the needs of everyone — especially those who historically have been marginalized and suppressed.
"Hope hurts," Abrams told Bustle in August. "When you're facing a xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, racist leader, hope means that you have to consistently push against the comfort of cynicism. Hope says, ‘I'm going to weather this difficulty because I know something else can be out there.’ Hope isn't when things are right; hope is when things are wrong. It's the only possible remedy to that darkness."
Check out Bustle's Stacey Abrams Rule Breakers interview here.
Busy Philipps' late-night talk show Busy Tonight was groundbreaking in many ways, most notably for its willingness to candidly take on controversial topics others shied away from. In May, after Georgia's governor signed a law that would make it illegal to perform an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected, Philipps told her show's audience about her own abortion story. Later, she encouraged others to share their experiences on Twitter with the viral hashtag #youknowme, and even testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee in June during a hearing about abortion legislation.
“Talking about my abortion on my show was a decision that I made because I’m aware of how people think of me,” Philipps told Bustle. “I’m just a normal woman — I’m their best friend! — and I wanted to say: Like one in four American women, I had an abortion. And I’m so over holding all of the shame.”
Check out Bustle's Busy Philipps Rule Breakers interview here.
Former UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi stunned the internet earlier this year after a video of her perfect 10 floor routine at a college gymnastics meet went viral. But the performance, as mesmerizing and entertaining as it was for us all to watch, carried an even deeper meaning for Ohashi, her coach Kondos Field, and her UCLA teammates, who were still reeling after sexual abuse allegations came out against USA national team physician Larry Nassar. During a time of extreme hardship within the sport, her upbeat routine reminded people gymnastics could be joyous, too.
"One of the reasons Katelyn resonates so much with people is that, yes, you can't help but watch her floor routine and feel happy, but she’s not just the fabulous gymnast with a super smile," Ohashi's coach Kondos Field told Bustle while in conversation with UCLA's former assistant coach Jordyn Wieber. "She’s gone through a lot of crap, and she’s there to speak as an advocate for people who have gone through similar and worse."
Check out Bustle's Katelyn Ohashi Rule Breakers interview here.
Valorie Kondos Field
UCLA's head coach Valorie Kondos Field, known as Miss Val to her gymnasts, also joins Ohashi at Rule Breakers. Kondos Field was instrumental in providing support to many Nassar survivors, and helped organize the Together We Rise meet between UCLA and University of Oklahoma to show solidarity for athletes who experienced abuse. "Val, you were accepting of all different kinds of personalities and strengths and weaknesses," Wieber said while in conversation with Ohashi and Kondos Field for Bustle "You can't say that about every program. You gave a lot of girls, especially those who went through the elite program, an opportunity to love the sport again."
Check out Bustle's Valorie Kondos Field Rule Breakers interview here.
Abrams, Philipps, Ohashi, and Kondos Field will all appear on stage throughout the day to celebrate Rule Breakers everywhere — those in the public eye, those behind the scenes, and those who break the rules by unapologetically being themselves. It's something you won't want to miss.