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Game Changers 2014: Pharrell Williams

The personification of creativity sees no limits, anywhere.
Joe Pugliese / August

If you’re happy and you know it, Pharrell Williams probably has something to do with it. Earlier this year, his second solo album, G I R L, sparked a global phenomenon with that insanely ebullient, unstoppable ditty “Happy.” And this fall, Pharrell joins the star-studded panel of The Voice as a judge with pal Gwen Stefani (they teamed on 2005’s “Hollaback Girl”). But his talents extend way beyond music.

Via his hydra of a creative company, aptly called i am OTHER, he’s also an impresario, showcasing young comedy, style, visual arts, music, and media artists with a slew of YouTube shows. He designs jewelry, clothing, and even furniture, too—his latest sartorial venture is as curator for G-Star’s RAW for the Oceans Collection. The sustainable denim line is woven entirely of a groundbreaking “eco-thread” called Bionic Yarn, derived from recycled plastic harvested from the sea. It’s a stylish way to save our oceans—and Pharrell is an investor and a brand ambassador.

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But wait, there’s more: He founded the educational nonprofit From One Hand to AnOTHER in 2008 to expose kids in at-risk communities to technology and the arts. It’s all just in a day’s work for a man who proclaims, “I’m going to be a student until I die.” Bottom line, Pharrell knows no limits. Yet he’s as famous for his humility as for anything else: “I just do what I do,” he says. “It shouldn’t be revered as something great.”

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We beg to differ. If there’s a unifying principle for Pharrell, who lives relatively quietly with his wife, model/designer Helen Lasichanh, and son, Rocket, it’s about positivity. “Joy is something the world needs more of right now,” he told Billboard. “Until we get enough of that, that will be the page that I’m on.”

FIT FACT: A longtime skateboarder, Pharrell had a half-pipe built inside his (adult) home.


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