25 yrs. old -- Buffalo, N.Y.

With endless drive and determination, Tika holds steady at all times. Although she keeps a low profile around the office, she doesn't hold her tongue once outside work, reminding us how hard she works in comparison to the other young writers. She thinks she's a shoe-in for the Rolling Stone gig, but does the brass see what Tika sees?

Favorite musical artists: The Roots, Nina Simone, Tamar Kali

Resume: University of Buffalo graduate; freelance journalist (The Source, The Ave); Gender-bending lesbian; slam poet; former model