TIME’s Thirty Most Influential Teens
by Jennifer Wang
Egoistic. Arrogant. Self-Conscious. That’s what we’ve been called over practically the entire span of our teenage years. From articles in high profile magazines that criticize our use of social media to books written about the emotional ineptitude of teenagers, it seems as though the world has forgotten the power of a teen. But just look around, and you’ll find teens changing the world in every corner. So without further ado, here are the 30 most influential teens of 2015 as chosen by TIME Magazine.
- Moziah Bridges won a $200,000 investment for his bowtie company Mo’s Bows on Shark Tanks at the age of 13 and recently supplied bowties to the athletes at the 2015 NBA draft.
- If you watch Dance Moms then you have seen this ultra-flexible dancer/singer named Maddie Ziegler in action. This year, the dancer also performed at the Grammys.
- The Emma Watson of our generation, 14-year old Rowan Blanchard is a brilliant feminist who defies the stereotypes of the characters she plays on Disney.
- If climbing the atrium stairs is hard, imagine climbing the hardest rock climbing course in Spain– and becoming the youngest person to do so at 13– and the first woman. If you’re Ashima Shiraishi, you don’t have to.
- Ahmed Mohamed built a clock and was arrested because of his race turned it into a bomb. Now, he’s been commended by both The White House and Mark Zuckerberg for his creation, and will finish 9th grade in one of Qatar’s best schools.
- Jazz Jennings makes the list again at age 15 and continues to be transgender advocate with a large media presence and even her own documentary titled I Am Jazz.
- Snowboarding since the age of 6, Chloe Kim has now become the youngest person to win gold at the Winter X-Games at the age of 15.
- Flynn McGarry is a full-blown chef with his own restaurant, Eureka, in New York. Having graced the cover of The New York Times and cooked rose-petal covered dumplings, this 16 year old is battling the large presence of agism in the culinary arts.
- Martin Odegaard came to the world’s attention after subbing for Cristiano Ronaldo in the second half of a match. Now, the 16 year old is signed with Real Madrid for $4 million.
- After playing Rue in the Hunger Games, Amanda Stenberg has continued her media presence as an activist for racial equality.
- Having started off as a well-known Viner, Shawn Mendes is now a popular singer who has released top songs such as Stitches.
- Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith, is a popular social media figure who now has his own show on Apple Beats.
- The First Daughter, Malia Obama, has become a social figure and a role model for America’s youth.
- Starting on Modern Family, and giving interviews with Glamour, Ariel Winter has been using her fame to combat sexism and bullying.
- William Turton founded and runs The Daily Dot, a website that reports about cyber security. He has also been interviewed by prominent sources like Uber.
- Silentó rose to prominence about half a year ago for his rap songs. Next year, he plans to go to college to study business.
- Bindi Irwin not only dances on Dancing With the Stars, but is also an advocate for conservation as influenced by her late father Terri Irwin.
- Olivia Hallisey won the grand prize at this year’s Google Science Fair for creating a new cheaper way of testing for Ebola.
- After surviving being shot in the head for writing for writing a blog in support of educating women in her homeland of Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai, has recovered and traveled the globe speaking up for gender equality and education, even writing her own book, He Named Me Malala.
- Kylie Jenner is an obvious trend-setter, and with her popularity from Keeping up With the Kardashians, she has been able to influence many social standards.
- After deferring from the University of California, Berkeley, Tiffany Zhong accepted a job at Binary Capital where she works to identify young and talented entrepreneurs.
- After accepting the role of Arya in Game of Thrones, Maisie Williams has made her character a well-loved presence.
- Lydia Ko beat Tiger Woods as the youngest golfer to rank first in the world at the age of 17 and now has her goals set at going to the Olympics in Rio.
- After winning the 800m in London, Katie Ledecky has now beaten three world records in freestyle and plans on going to Stanford in 2016.
- As a strong advocate for racial equality and self confidence, Zendaya has grown up from a young Disney star to have a activist who even has a Barbie doll modeled after her.
- Joshua Wong was one of the main organizers of The Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong last year. The 19-year old was protesting for Hong Kong’s autonomy from China.
- Growing up with famous sisters, Kendall Jenner stays in the spotlight, dominating the world of social media.
- Bethany Mota is a well known social presence who has interviewed President Obama, runs a fashion and decor Youtube channel, works with UNICEF, and won FOX’s Teen Choice award for Choice Web Star: Female.
- After starting the Free Brazil Movement, Kim Kataguiri continues to lead opposition against Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil.
- A Vine star and social icon, Lele Pons now runs her own jewelry line for UNO Magnetic.
These are only a handful of examples of what teenagers can accomplish, but they have already changed the world in so many ways. They have shown that we are the ones who are brave enough to speak our minds, young enough to believe in a better future, and old enough to go and make that future a reality.
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