It generally takes a person several years of hard work and experience to reach a position where others look up to him/her for motivation and inspiration. However, there are a few exceptional people who have been able to accomplish all this and much more in very short time. These wonder teens belong to various fields including science, sports, and politics and social work. The only thing common between them is the fact that they have earned a lot of popularity and success in their respective fields at a very young age. Here is the list of the 15 most influential teens of 2016.
15. Jazz Jennings (15 years old)
Jazz Jennings has bravely spoken out about her experiences as a transgender. She took things a step further when she featured in an ad campaign for Clean & Clear with the tagline “see the real me.” She invited cameras to follow her and film her everyday routine for “I am Jazz”, a docu-series which aired on TLC. Jazz lived as a girl since the age of 5 and is a strong LGBTQ activist supporting the cause by giving the viewers glimpses of her life and sharing her experiences.
14. Chloe Kim (15 years old)
Snowboarding champ Chloe Kim began her career when she was only 6 years old. She became the youngest snowboarder ever to win gold at Winter X Games after she won the Women’s SuperPipe event in 2015. However, she lost the record to Kelly Sildaru this year. Presently, she holds the record of being the first person under 16 to win two gold medals at X-Games. Her consecutive record breaking performances have made Chloe one of the most promising sportsperson in today’s time.
13. Bindi Irwin (17 years old)
Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin’s daughter Bindi Irwin came to spotlight after her father’s death back in 2006. Bindi has many feathers in her cap. She is a TV presenter, a conservationist, an actor and a singer. Although most of her work has been within Australia, she received international acclamation on the popular TV series “Dancing with the Stars” last year. She emerged as the winner of the 21st season of the show. Bindi wishes to carry on the legacy of her father who was an iconic wildlife expert and conservationist.
12. Lydia Ko (18 years old)
This amazing golfer from New Zealand broke Golfing ace Tiger Woods’ record when she became the youngest to be ranked number one in the world at the age of 17. She also became the youngest winner of a women’s major event after her commendable performance in the Evian Championship. She now aims at winning glories in Rio this year as golf makes a comeback at the Olympics. Lydia, who has won two LPGA tour events, is certainly an inspiration for all those girls who dream of making it big in the world of sports.
11. Shawn Mendes (17 years old)
Shawn Mendes became immensely popular when he began to post song covers on Vine, a video sharing app, where he had over 4.3 million followers. In no time, Shwan came in the eyes of the right people and signed his very first deal. His debut album “Handwritten” came out in 2015. “Life of the Party”, his debut single, was a super hit. Mendes is the youngest to debut in top 25 of Billboard Hot 100. He was also a part of the opening act on “1989”, Taylor Swift’s super hit tour. From internet sensation to a known face of the music industry, this talented teen has come a long way.
10. Amandla Stenberg (17 years old)
Amandla Stenberg is known for her roles in movies like “The Hunger Games” and “Colombiana” (2011). ‘Amandla’ means power in Zulu and Xhosa and in keeping with her name this young actress has shown commendable strength in raising her voice against racial discrimination. She made a video titled “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows” for a school project. The video, focusing on the issue of racial discrimination against black people, was widely covered by the media.
9. Katie Ledecky (18 years old)
This wonder-teen is the new swimming sensation of the world. America’s Kathaleen Genevieve Ledecky holds the world records in 400-, 800- and 1,500 meter freestyle as well as fastest ever times in 500 yard and 1,650 yard freestyle events. Katie has won over a dozen medals in major international competitions including World Championships, Summer Olympics and Pan Pacific Championships. She has broken a number of world records and bagged several titles such as FINA Swimmer of the Year, American Swimmer of the Year Swimming World’s World Swimmer of the Year and more.
8. Jaden Smith (17 years old)
Actor and rapper Jaden Smith is often in the news for his enigmatic (and somewhat absurd) comments and tweets. This sensational star kid has millions of followers on social media platforms. He has starred in a number of popular movies including “The Pursuit of Happyness”, “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, “Afterearth” and “The karate Kid”. Jaden is also making it big in the music industry. He released his digital EP titled “This is the Album” last year. He also has his very own clothing and lifestyle brand.
7. Rowan Blanchard (14 years old)
Rowan began her career as an actress at a very young age and is best known for her role as Riley Matthews on Disney’s “Girl Meets World.” other than being a part of a number of famous shows like “Best Friends Whenever”, “Dance-A-Lot Robot” and “Invisible Sister”, Rowan is also known as an outspoken activist and supporter of various causes including human rights, gun violence and feminism. She has spoken at international platforms such as UN Women and US National Committee’s annual conference. Recently, her essay on the importance of intersectional feminism went viral and she was praised by other supporters of the cause including Emma Watson.
6. Maisie Williams
Maisie Williams’ Arya Star is perhaps one of the most beloved characters of the popular series “Games of Thrones”. The actress has won several awards including Portal Awards for Best Supporting Actress (2012), BBC Radio 1 Teen Award Best British Actor (2013), and the Saturn Award for Best Young Actor in a Television Series (2015). This teen sensation received much popularity and critical acclaim for her very first professional role and has a large number of followers on social media. With such a perfect beginning, Maisie will definitely become one of the biggest names in the entertainment industry in the coming years.
5. Zendaya (19 years old)
Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman, who played the role of Rocky Blue in the famous Disney Channel series “Shake It Up”, began her career with a dance group. She emerged as a supporter of body positivity when she reacted to Giuliana Rancic’s comment about her dreadlocks on E!’s Fashion Police. Zendaya also shared the un-retouched versions of her pictures for a magazine photo-shoot with her fans on Instagram. This singer/actress is certainly an inspiration.
4. Kylie Jenner (18 years old)
Kylie’s claim to fame is the hit series ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians.’ From a shy tween to a trend-setter, Kylie has undoubtedly become one of the most influential teens in today’s time. She is religiously followed by millions of people on various social networking platforms including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. This amazing TV personality, model and actress was recently in news for the #KylieJennerLipChallene where thousands of her fans attempted to mimic her cosmetically enhanced lips.
3. Joshua Wong (19 years old)
Joshua Wong Chi-fung, founder of Scholarism-a student activist group is an extremely popular political figure. He made headlines as one of the main leaders of the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong. Joshua has set an example for millions of people and has proven that you are never too young to stand up for what you believe in as he continues his struggle for political reforms in Hong Kong.
2. Malia Obama (17 years old)
Being the eldest daughter of US president Barack Obama, Malia Obana is bound to receive a lot of media attention. However, there is so much more to this powerful teen than just being the president’s daughter. From her fashion choices to her college visits, Malia is often in the news. This wonder teen is a cultural icon and is followed by thousands of people.
1.Malala Yousafzai (18 years old)
Talk about influential teen and this amazing young girl is probably one of the first names which will come in your mind. MalalaYousafzai is a survivor, a hero who refused to give in and stood strongly for what she believed in. back in 2012, Malala was shot by the Taliban on her way to school. Instead of succumbing to her fears, she chose to fight for her right. An advent activist for female education, she became a co-recipient of Nobel peace prize in 2014.