This story is from Texas Monthly’s archives. We have left it as it was originally published, without updating, to maintain a clear historical record.
From the first Republican majority leader of the U.S. House in four decades to the first biracial Miss Universe in history, our choices for the most outstanding Texans of 1995 could not be more different—and yet, Dick Armey and Chelsi Smith, like the others on our list, have at least one thing in common: They defied expectations.
Take golfer Ben Crenshaw, who turned a moment of profound grief into a storybook victory. Or gay activist Mel White, who is preaching tolerance to his former colleagues in the Religious Right. Or black conservatives Gwen and Willie Richardson, whose passionate stance against affirmative action is informing the national debate. Or actress Betty Buckley, whose star turn in Sunset Boulevard proves there’s life after forty for women in entertainment.
Of course, not all of our picks are famous or even familiar. But in the past year each one demonstrated a strength of conviction and depth of character that can only be called Texan. That earns them their place in the second annual Texas Twenty.