Chelsea Austin Montgomery-Duban was born to very proud parents, Kevin Montgomery and Dennis Duban on July 2, 1993. Through the miracle of science she is genetically linked to both her parents and is grateful, on a daily basis, for the loving family that surrounds her.
From a very early age Chelsea showed a passion for dance and started “Mommy and Me” classes with her dad, she then continued on to study ballet and as a pre-teen became a member of the Malibu Civic Ballet. As a part of the Civic Ballet, among numerous other ballets, she has performed in the “Nutcracker” for over ten years. This year she was honored to dance the role of “The Sugar Plum Fairy” as her final local “Nutcracker” appearance before going to college. Her performing passion did not end at ballet. She has studied tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical and ballroom styles as well as played many musical theater roles as a part of the Center Stage performance company. She has also studied voice privately for over four years with Mike Stevens of the Colburn School of Music.
Although Chelsea’s passion for the arts took up all of her free time she didn’t let that keep her from doing amazingly well in her academic pursuits at high school while she attended The Archer School For Girls. She graduated in 2011 after twice accepting the Arrow Award (presented to the student who best exemplifies the qualities of honesty, respect and responsibility) and also receiving the Bryn Mawr Book Award (presented to the student with a true love of learning and intellectual curiosity about the world). As a senior, she received the prestigious Honestas Award for demonstration of character and moral conviction. This award recognizes a girl who has served as a role model for her class and school community. Chelsea plans to continue her studies and her passion for the arts as she attends Muhlenberg College, studying musical theater. She was honored to receive a generous academic scholarship as well as being asked to be a part of a select group of students to become a “Fellows Scholar” a distinction given to those students who are seen as leaders in their field of study.
Chelsea was always a child of the world but her vision of the needs of society became heightened as she became a Bat Mitzvah on her thirteenth birthday. She made the incredible decision to donate the money she received for her big day to The Ubuntu Foundation that her Auntie Monica introduced her to that year. Then inspired by the glow of the philanthropic spirit she hosted a party for her friends and family that raised so much money for Ubuntu that they asked to name a library in her honor.
When the window of opportunity came along for gay couples to marry in California, Chelsea pleaded with her dads to marry…which they did. Sadly during the campaign for Proposition 8 ( the bill banning Same Sex marriage in California) Chelsea became very much aware of the ignorance and hatred for families like hers and was inspired to do something about it. Chelsea posted her speech at her dads wedding on YouTube which quickly went viral and caught the attention of many in the human rights community. She was asked to speak at The Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Gala and speaking just after Senator Barbara Boxer received a standing ovation. She has subsequently spoken in San Francisco and Las Vegas for HRC and wowed the crowd at the National Dinner in Washington DC before a sea of people that numbered over 3,000. Toyota asked her to speak for their employees Gay Pride Month and PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays) sought her out for the first ever Los Angeles Gala. Chelsea was honored by Frontiers Magazine to be named one of the Top Fifteen LGBT activists in Los Angeles. She vows to continue speaking out until every family in our great country has the same and equal rights that they deserve.
Chelsea is the proud daughter of two dads and looks forward to working tirelessly to raise awareness and giving back by any means she can. Whether through her art as a performer or her voice as an activist she vows to open hearts and minds.