Under the Influence: Time's Power Teens
Gone are the days where teens go ignored. Troublemakers some still may be, but add a hyphen and it will likely be followed by Entrepreneur, Activist, and Headline-grabbing Star. Time published their list of the 25 Most Influential Teens, and not a Twitter feed went unscanned to find this year’s ranking of the 12-to-19 set.
We browsed Time‘s selections for true stand-outs on the list of impressively accomplished influencers (notably, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai). We don’t want to play favorites, but instead put out a boost signal for those without #1 albums (the truly unparalleled Lorde) and hit reality shows (the genetically gifted Kendall and Kylie Jenner).
5. Joshua Wong (18): The activist fighting for democracy in Hong Kong–whose name you might recognize from our primer on the HK protests–already earned him the cover of Time‘s International edition. Wong is proof that power lies in experience, not age, as many of the people deeming him an extremist against China’s natural order, are from generations dwindling in numbers. In his Time cover story, he reveals there’s nothing unusual about how he was raised, in response to many assuming his parents are radical protesters. He justifies his actions, saying, “Students have more time, more energy, so they should stand on the front lines.” And where he leads, many Hong Kong youth will follow until democracy is won.
4. Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey, and Sophie Healy-Thow (16, 17, 17, respectively): The Irish students took home the biggest prize at Google’s Science Fair with their effort towards aiding the global food crisis. Their discovery, Diazotroph, increases the germination process and crop yield of grains like barley and oat. The trio, drowning in waist-grazing, side-parted hair, are exemplary of their generation’s involvement in science and tech development. In an interview with the Irish Times, Émer explained the group worked on the project for three years before presenting at Google and admitted to testing over 13,000 seeds to gather their data. The young scientists plan to monetize on their effort, but first, they’ll train to be astronauts courtesy of Virgin’s Richard Branson–a part of their prize from Google.
3. Rachel Fox (18): An actress, yes, but Rachel Fox is a financial wizard, too. The former Desperate Housewives star has a blog, Fox on Stocks, teaching peers about investing, trading, and profiting in the stock market. With sharp commentary, Fox hones in on youth-centric brands like Chipotle and Urban Outfitters. She even has a YouTube tutorial leading her audience through accessing stocks on their iPhones. Oh, and did we mention Fox earns about 64 percent in annual return from her investments? Time to put that stocks app to use.
2. Bethany Mota (18): She isn’t combatting a riot, instead, the YouTube star is creating one. Mota, a beauty and fashion blogger, turned her video channel into a nearing-million-dollar business. With 7.4 million followers, the online personality bagged a clothing line with suburban-mall-fav Aeropostale and a gig on Dancing With The Stars. Her efforts put her amongst a hoard of young YouTube stars, only one of whom (19-year-old Australian vlogger Troye Sivan) join her on Time‘s list.
1. Jazz Jennings (14): The transgender teen grabbed national attention at just 6 years old when Barbara Walters talked to Jennings about the early recognition of her identity. As an active voice in the LGBT community, Jennings’ goal is to reach young children, allowing them to understand what it means to be transgender without a stigma attached to being "different" and certainly making sure those with similar feelings don’t suffer because of it. The teen co-wrote a children’s book, titled I Am Jazz with simplified explanations of what it means to be transgendered. An early lesson in being an LGBT ally is certainly a positive direction for Aught kids to head in.