Lara Logan

Lara logan has spent the last five years reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan. Before that, she was in Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Kosovo, the West Bank and Gaza, and Burundi during the coup. On a recent morning in New York, just back from Baghdad, she cheerfully ticks off all the wars she's covered, like a college kid proud of maxing out her Eurail pass. She even cracks up talking about the time she drove over an explosive device in Afghanistan, got tossed out of the truck and landed in the road on her face. "Along the way I've had moments where I've been frightened," she says. "But even when I got blown up, I mean, how can you be afraid if it's over?"

It's all in a day's work for Logan, 35, who contributes to "60 Minutes" and this year became the chief foreign correspondent for CBS News. She's always preferred being where the action is. Logan grew up in South Africa, where her antiapartheid parents taught her to question the government's racist policies. At 17, she sneaked out of her house in a cozy suburb of Durban and went exploring the black townships--an unheard-of risk for a white girl. "I discovered a whole world I didn't know existed," she says. By the time she graduated from high school, she was reporting for the Sunday Tribune in Durban.

But it's not always so easy for an attractive blond woman to earn her news chops. In between her ventures into the townships, the Durban paper liked using her to pretty up the pages. "I drew the line at being on the back page on the top of a vehicle. I had no credibility left," she says--though she did earn money during college as a swimsuit model. Five years ago Logan was working for a morning TV show in Britain, doing stories about overweight cats and whatever else Brits find amusing with their tea. Then came 9/11, and she begged her producer to let her go to Afghanistan. "They were thinking, Afghanistan? My God!" she says. But she got there in time to see Kabul fall. She still meets people who don't take her seriously because of her looks. The soldiers in Iraq constantly tease her because her backpack is weighed down with beauty supplies. Still, her work speaks for itself. She recently broke a story in Iraq about Sunnis getting killed after checking into Shiite hospitals. And she scored a rare on-screen interview with Gen. John Abizaid, head of the U.S. Central Command. Besides, she knows a pretty face can open doors. Asked what it's like reporting in a war zone looking the way she does, Logan says frankly, "It's a blast!" And she's not talking about an explosion.