Danielle de Niese, 32, opera singer
Résumé: De Niese's meteoric career started at age 9, when she won an Australian TV talent contest. Ten years later, New York's Metropolitan Opera snatched her up for its young-artist program. Lauded for her range and tone, she's a Twitter and Facebook addict, part of her mission to modernize opera.
Background Check: "My parents are Sri Lankan and moved to Australia before I was born. At 2, I had perfect pitch; at 8, I started classical voice training and knew immediately I wanted to be an opera singer. I debuted at the L.A. Opera at 15."
Big Break: "In 1997, at 18, I starred in The Marriage of Figaro during my first year at New York's Mannes College for Music. A few days later, I auditioned for Met Opera Music Director James Levine. They cast me in The Marriage of Figaro, with Renée Fleming. I couldn't believe it!"
The Diva Diet: "Classical singing is exhausting. You sweat like hell onstage, and I've given myself scratches and bruises getting into a role. I eat at home before performing, have pasta with Parmesan at the theater, and then more pasta at intermission. It keeps me going!"