BENJAMIN ALVIN DREW
JOB: NASA ASTRONAUT
How many boys dream of being an astronaut—then actually have the right stuff to become one? Benjamin Alvin Drew, a former Air Force Special Ops pilot, realized his lifelong ambition in 2000. Currently learning to spacewalk for a future flight, Drew downplays the sexiness of his profession. “Saying you are an astronaut is the world’s worst pickup line,” he insists. “No one believes you. One girl asked if I had an astronaut license to prove it, but there’s no such thing.”
JOB: VENTURE CAPITALIST
RESIDENCE: NEW YORK CITY
“I’m going to wake up Nov. 3 and my stepdad is President,” says Heinz of the looming fork in his life’s road, “or it’s back to your regularly scheduled program.” His stepdad John Kerry (initials: JFK) is a Democratic senator from Massachusetts. So Heinz, with his wavy-haired good looks, could have guessed that he’d draw comparisons to that other political scion. Like JFK Jr., he has dated famous blondes (Gwyneth Paltrow in 2000) and flirts with the press when they suggest he run for office. An heir to an estimated $500 million ketchup fortune, Heinz is the third son of the late Sen. John Heinz (R-Penn.) and Teresa (who wed Kerry in 1995). The Harvard M.B.A. quit his job at a private New York equity firm in February’03 to campaign for his stepdad, with whom he’s bonded over a shared love of skiing. He’s been living modestly on the road but knows he can crash at any of his family’s four stately spreads or his own 3,900-sq.-ft. Manhattan pad. For now he accepts that the press IDs him as “rich and single.” Says Heinz: “I’d be more upset if it weren’t true. I’m kidding. I wish it were drop-dead gorgeous and rich.”
LARRY PAGE & SERGEY BRIN
AGE: PAGE (LEFT), 31; BRIN, 30
JOB: GOOGLE GUYS
RESIDENCE: BOTH LIVE IN PALO ALTO, CALIF.
Dot.com moguldom wasn’t their goal when they left grad school to launch their search engine six years ago, but when Google goes public in July, Brin and Page stand to make at least $2 billion. Each. Not that quick cash will corrupt them. “That’s not what we’re about,” Page told FORTUNE recently. “We think of what we do as adding more value to the world.” Says Page’s Stanford professor Terry Winograd: “I think they’ll buy some high-tech gadgets, but I don’t see them buying a yacht and an island.” Pretty much what you’d expect of Brin (the gregarious one) and Page (the shy one), who drive eco-friendly Toyota Priuses to the Googleplex HQ, where the motto is “Do no evil” and foosball and roller-hockey games are routine. The ultimate revenge of the nerds? “They’re classic Silicon Valley start-up guys,” says a former employee. “But that’s very attractive to women around here.”
JOB: DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
RESIDENCE: ALEXANDRIA, VA.
This West Wing wonder could also get by in Hollywood: He’s got a screenplay cooking. “It’s about dating in DC,” he says. “It’s called So Who Do You Work For?, which is the first question people ask here.” His boss is Condoleezza Rice, for whom he handles communications. That means a lot of foreign travel and late nights. Rice, while pleased with his dedication, wishes he would get a life. “He called me late one Saturday,” she recalls, “and I said, ‘Jim, why aren’t you on a date?’ ” He wonders too. “I’m a great catch,” he says, laughing. “Think of all the background checks I’ve been through.”
RESIDENCE: THE BRONX
“I’m a guy with a gun” is how Conlon boils down his career as a New York City policeman, like his father and great-grandfather before him. Now he’s a guy with a bestseller too. In Blue Blood he details his family legacy, his nine years on the force, as well as the good, the bad and the ugly of police work in New York City. While balancing writing policing and a relationship with a Manhattan journalist has been a “juggling act,” now there are his fans. “My girlfriends want him to come to their book club,” says his sister Marianne. “I told them, ‘Unless you’re Oprah, I don’t know if he’s going to be speaking at your book club.’ ”
JOB: MAYOR OF NEW PALTZ, N.Y.
Usually it’s the mother of the bride who cries at weddings, but this time it was the justice of the peace. On Feb. 27 West, mayor since 2003 of a village of 6,000, officiated at the marriages of 25 gay and lesbian couples, sometimes tearing up from “just seeing the love people had for each other,” he says. Before that day, he admits, “I hadn’t thought much about being married, but it made me feel I would like to find somebody I would want to see every day.” But the state of New York gave him something else to think about when it charged him with the crime of marrying couples without licenses. (Charges were dismissed June 10.) He also faced a restraining order against performing more same-sex marriages, courtesy of a lawsuit brought by a group affiliated with the Reverend Jerry Falwell. (“A sign I’m doing something right,” cracks West, a Green Party member.) Meanwhile, aspiring First Ladies of New Paltz entertaining visions of political grandeur should know that West pulls only $8,000 a year for his duties and still rooms with three buddies in a house with a skateboarding half-pipe in the backyard. If that picture appeals, West says he’s looking for “someone intelligent, beautiful, funny and easy to get along with. Bigots are a big no.”