Generation Next

Easy Rider: Alexandra Duncan, 18

You train six hours a day and compete worldwide. When do you go to school? I left my school in Grade 9 and started studying by correspondence. I could do more of what I wanted rather than sitting in classrooms. The high-school thing is too dramatic for me. Would you say you like horses more than people? Somewhat. They don’t talk back. They’re like children, pretty much. Has a horse ever injured you? Last year I almost had both my knees broken at the North America Young Rider Championships. I could barely walk, but I managed to ride. We won team gold the next day. Since you just bought a new horse for the 2012 Olympics, will you sell your old one? I’ve had Elektra since I was 10 years old, and the thought of people coming to take her away is killing me. But it’s like anything in life: you have to be willing to sacrifice things and be willing to move on.

Guitar Hero: Danny Sveinson, 15

Your band, Mad Shadow, released its first album
last month. What’s it like? Take Led Zeppelin, Rush, Aerosmith, and Pink Floyd, throw them in a blender, you get Mad Shadow. How was it to tour nationally as a kid? I was 11 the first time I toured; just a few shows through Western Canada to show me what it was like on the road. Industry people thought I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I loved it. How involved are your parents? My dad’s managing the group, but you can’t have a “dadager.” No one will take you seriously. So we’re looking to get a professional. What makes you such a hot guitarist? I can get into the music, like Jimmy Page or Hendrix. They were sloppy technically, but a Jimmy Page song has more balls than any “masterpiece.” What do you hope to accomplish? We don’t want to sell out. We don’t want to let the man bring us down.

Gifter Gabber: Shakir Rahim, 18

You’re the reigning world debating champion. What’s the key to a good speech? Effective speakers, like Barack Obama, don’t make the audience work. They use rhetorical devices-repetition, triplets, and contrasts. They persuade and entertain. In contrast to Hillary Clinton? The style she chose, that of a polished technocrat, isn’t as appealing to voters as Obama’s inspirational one. The key to a good speech is figuring out who the audience is and how you want them to feel. What gives you the winning edge? At the international level, everyone has style and technique. It comes down to who knows more. Why did you start debating? My older brothers were both debaters. Along with my parents, we had informal debates around the dinner table. What’s the best thing about being world champion? People are less likely to argue with you, even when you’re wrong.

Foreign Aide: Justin Segal, 17

Why did you start a charity focused on Ethiopia? When I travelled there, I felt connected. Our group passed through a village, and little kids were sitting under a tree on a torn blue tarp. When I found out that was their school, I promised I’d raise money to help them. How much have you raised? About $16,000-$7,000 went toward building a school in Northern Ethiopia, and we’re planning our second one. I’d love to go back and build it hands-on. What are you doing after graduation? I’ve just travelled to Ethiopia with my family. I’ve been taking Amharic lessons at an Ethiopian restaurant-the owner is teaching me. I’m going to the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California in the fall. Do your goals of charity work and business success conflict? No. I want to be a businessman with a big heart. One who gives back.

Model Citizen, Coco Rocha, 19

Living in New York, what do you miss most about home? Friends, of course, but also nature. Our air is different. I used to go for walks early in the morning, bike rides down to the water. I was a total tomboy, always climbing trees. In New York it’s hard to do anything active without a gym. Was there a moment when you realized you were a supermodel? My first cover shoot for Vogue Italia. And when I was photographed by Steven Meisel for Dolce & Gabbana two years ago. How has your look evolved in the four years you’ve been doing this? I’m known for doing a lot of raw, edgy editorial, not so much being the beautiful bombshell. But I’ve evolved into more beauty and less tomboy. Specifically, I’m known for opening my mouth in pictures. It’s become my signature. Are you recognized on the street? A good friend visited from Vancouver and came backstage. This boy came up and was shaking, crying, saying, “Coco, I’m your biggest fan”-my friend thought that was normal! People sometimes recognize me in New York, but rarely in Vancouver. At home people ask, “Are you still doing that modelling thing?”

Sibling Harmony: Caitlin Wood, 14, and Ian Wood, 16

Are your lives all about music? Ian: I don’t take any music courses at UBC, but I practise piano with a retired professor. Caitlin: I do practise my music a lot, but I don’t think of it as a duty. When did you first perform with the VSO? Caitlin: I was eight. We just got to play for the 2010 Olympic committee, which was really exciting! And I don’t get nervous at all when performing, I love it. Are your parents musical? Ian: No. Dad is an automotive instructor at BCIT, and Mom says her occupation is our personal driver. What’s on your iPod? Caitlin: I’m really into Relient K. They don’t call themselves a Christian band, but they really are. You can hear the deeper meaning in their songs. Any plans for the summer? Caitlin: I’m going to Italy for three weeks for the Cassalmaggiore International Festival. There’ll be people from all over the world training and performing. Will music be your career? Ian: I’m going to apply to med school, but I never want to give up music.

Lucky Star: Cameron Bright, 15

How did you get started in movies? My mom said one day, “Do you want to be in commercials?” At six years old, what kid doesn’t? And it just kept getting bigger and bigger. Does it feel like you’ve made it? Everyone says, “Oh you must just get them handed to you, it must be so easy for you,” but it isn’t. It gets a lot harder as you get older. Even people like Leonardo DiCaprio have to audition. How many auditions do you go to? We try to limit it to one per week. Between soccer and football I’ve got practice four days a week. Tell me about your controversial role in Birth, with Nicole Kidman. We did the press junket for that in New York, and the whole day we went from room to room and the reporters asked exactly the same questions: “Were you really naked?” “How did it feel to kiss a 40-year-old woman?” And? How was it? Like kissing my mom. What should we expect from your new movie, Boy of Pigs? Everyone tells me it’s going to be my breakthrough role.

Cold Warrior: Kyle Turris, 18

When did you first skate? I was about two years old when my family took me to the local ice rink. I never really wanted to stop after that. What effect did your parents’ athletic backgrounds have on you? My dad was a hall of fame lacrosse player, and my mom did track and field. We played basketball, golf, rollerblade hockey in the driveway, mini hockey in the basement, cribbage, card games, anything. It was really competitive. How would you describe your playing style? I try to be a two-way centreman, someone who’s strong defensively, but who also helps out offensively whenever he can. What was it like when the Phoenix Coyotes chose you third in the 2007 NHL draft? It was one of the best moments of my life when Wayne Gretzky called my name. I was speechless.

Power Ranger: Simon Pickup, 19

What’s happening with Youth Hydrogen, which you founded at age 15? We’re working toward building a hydrogen generator in North Vancouver. It would cost a bare minimum of $800,000. We’re building a hydrogen car, too, and we’re 80 percent of the way there. When did you get interested in hydrogen energy? In Grade 4 I built my first hydrogen electrolyzer. Your dad’s an electrical engineer? My parents have collected the entire history of electricity and radio in our house. The table is so covered in disassembled equipment, books, and rubble that you have to carve a space for yourself before dinner. What do you drive? I made a commitment to never drive until I could learn behind the wheel of a hydrogen-powered car.

Web Wonder: Donny Ouyang, 16

You’re CEO of your own company, Kinkarso. What does it do? I own six Web sites, all with different markets. The biggest is an online community for kids who play games like World of Warcraft; it has 63,000 members. I make about $6,500 a month, and probably 95 percent is profit. How many hours do you work a day? Two to four, after school. When did you get interested in making, buying, and selling Web sites? My dad had a stack of computer-science books, and I started looking through them when I was 13. I know a little bit of everything, but I mostly outsource. Last year, you persuaded your bank to loan you $25,000. How? My dad brought in my business proposal, and they liked what they saw. For the majority of my career, I didn’t reveal my age because people don’t really do business with 13-year-olds. What’s your next business? I’ve been working on an education Web site. Hopefully it will help teachers teach and students learn. Long-term, I want to be different from my peers and everyone else. I want to change the world.