The 30 Most Influential Teens of 2016

30. Maddie Zieger, 14


The only 14-year-old girl is known for dancing as pop star Sia’s alter ago on tour and in her hit-smash music videos. This year she launched her own clothing line called Maddie, and voiced a character in the upcoming Ballerina animated movie.

29. Skai Jackson, 14

Jackson is originally a Disney Channel star, but recently she become an unstoppable Internet meme. In addition, a comic book artist revealed that she was the inspiration for Marvel’s new hero, Riri Williams.

28. Logan Guleff, 14


He’s becoming a rising star in the culinary world. Guleff appeared first on The Today Show at the age of 9 to demonstrate a recipe. He is also the champion of 2014 MasterChef Junior competition.

27. Gaten Matarazzo, 14

Since Matarazzo was born with a cleidocranial dysplasia, which stalled the development of his teeth, he speaks with a lisp. But it did not stop him from becoming a star of Netflix series ‘The Stranger Things’, portraying the nerd-hero Dustin.

26. Sasha and Malia Obama, 15 and 18


Despite that they don’t frequently give official interview or make public appearances, the former President’s daughters are widely considered American icons. They have become role models, especially for the many young black women who praise them on social media.

25. Rachel Zietz, 16


She found her own high-end lacrosse equipment company, Gladiator Lacrosse four years ago. The young entrepreneur says she’s on track to exceed $2 million in sales this year, and hit $10 by 2017.

24. Laurie Hernandez, 16


Instead of looking for Hispanic role models in gymnastics, she became one. After winning an Olympic gold alongside with her Final Five teammates and an individual silver, Hernandez was featured in ABC’s Dancing With the Stars.

23. Kiara Nirghin, 16


The aspiring scientist from South Africa had set out to create a cheap and eco-friendly superabsorbant polymer that could be sprinkled over dirt to make it retain massive quantities of water. Her experiment won top honors at this year’s Google Science Fair.

22. Chloe Kim, 16


For the ‘Queen of Snow’ 2016 has been a record breaking year. The American snowboarder the first person under 16 to win three gold medals at X-Games, the only woman to land back-to-back 1080s trick, and the first woman to win two snowboarding gold medals at the Winter Youth Olympics.

21. Yara Shahidi, 16


The actress of African-American and Iranian-American heritage in known for playing the smart, complicated teenager Zoey on the sitcom Black-ish. Shahidi become an activist, using her newfound fame to push for more representation and diversity in Hollywood.

20. James Charles, 17


The 17-year-old makeup enthusiast made national headlines for binging his own ring light to his senior-picture shoot. A month later, Charles became the first ‘cover boy’ of the CoverGirl magazine ever.

19. Sumail Hassan, 17


He has become the youngest person ever to earn $1 million playing competitive video games, making him a phenomenon in the world of e-sports. Hassan used his prize money to buy a house for his poor family, with whom he lived in Pakistan until 2014.

18. Gavin Grimm, 17

The transgender student teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union and sued his school district for banning him from the boys’ bathroom. Nobody can tell him anymore which bathroom to use and he became a poster child in America’s culture war over LGBT rights.

17. Amandla Stenberg, 17

Besides playing Rue in the first Hunger Games movie, she is one of her generation’s leading social activists, especially regarding race, representation and gender identity. One of her admirers, Beyoncé even cast her in Lemonade.

16. Ben Pasternak, 17


The Aussie high school dropout started making YouTube unboxing videos and successful mobile games. Now, Pasternak is the founder and CEO of Flogg, a Generation Z marketplace app.

15. Zara Larsson, 18

Thanks to her powerful vocals, she is one of the most promising talents in pop music. Eight years ago she won the Swedish version of America’s Got Talent, now she’s singing smash-hit songs like ‘Never Forget You’, ‘Lush Life’ and ‘Ain’t My Fault’.

14. Yusra Mardini, 18


The Syrian-born swimmer became the member of the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team after she made history by saving lives. While fleeing their home country, Mardini, her sister and two other refugees had to swim in the open waters of the Aegean sea for 3 hours and push their sinking boat carrying 20 safely to the shores of Lesbos.

13. Jaden Smith, 18


Will Smith’s son is not only an actor and a Twitter philosopher, but he also launched a clothing line and a sustainable water bottle company. Jaden is also famous for rebelling against mainstream culture. For example, he wore a skirt in an ad campaign for Louis Vuitton.

12. Shawn Mendes, 18


Mendes started his career as an Internet sensation on Vine. Everybody soon realized that he’s also a credible musician after hits like ‘Stitches’ and ‘Treat You Better’. He’s regarded as a role model as he shares positive thoughts on Instagram.

11. Luka Sabbat, 18


At the age of 18 he already modeled for brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Hood by Air, got sent a suit for his prom by Tom Ford personally, and pals around with celebrities like Jaden Smith, Zoe Kravitz and Kanye West. Complex magazine called him ‘the Internet’s coolest teenager’.

10. Katie Ledecky, 19


At the Rio Olympics, Ledecky set the world record, which she herself set just a few months before, even two times. One of the greatest swimmers in history is currently a Stanford freshmen, experiencing life as a college student.

9. George Matus, 19


Matus has been flying and building drones since he was 12 years old. Seven years later today he runs his own startup called Teal. The fist consumer drone can soar at 70 miles per hour.

8. Maisie Williams, 19


The actress playing Arya Stark in Game of Thrones is not afraid to speak out on social and political issues including feminism and the refugee crisis. She’s able to drive numerous headlines with a single tweet or post.

7. Simone Biles, 19


Biles proved that she’s the best gymnast and one of the world’s best athletes by winning a record-tying four gold medals in a single Olympics in Rio. Now she’s slowing down on tour with the rest of the Final Five.

6. Camila Cabello, 19


One of the singers from Fifth Harmony is becoming a name in her own right, as both a recording artist and an activist. The Cuban girl wrote a powerful essay about her experience immigrating to the United States and her opposition to the concept of a border wall.

5. Zendaya, 19

The former Disney Chanel star is brave enough to speak up about positive body image, beauty standards and share unretouched versions of a magazine photoshoot with her followers. She finds important to be yourself and keep it real.

4. Chloe Moretz, 19


She may be a talented actress, but she’s making an impact offscreen, as well. This year, she has spoken out about everything from politics through gender stereotypes to the merits of nude selfies.

3. Barbie Ferreira, 19

The plus-size model become famous after underwear line Aerie featured unretouched photos of her wearing a string bikini as part of a widely covered ad campaign. Barbie is also an active advocate for body positivity.

2. Malala Yousafzal, 19


The Pakistan native received a Nobel Peace Prize Award at the age of 17 after speaking out against the ban of female education and being shot by the Taliban. Yousafzal established the Malala Found to secure girls the right to a minimum of 12 years quality schooling.

1. Kylie Jenner, 19


The reality TV star often got in trouble with critics, who accuse her of cultural appropriation and setting bad example for fans. Meanwhile, she’s building her own brand, Kylie Cosmetics, which seems really popular and successful.