Meet Hollywood’s new generation of powerhouse actors, from Hunter Schafer to Kaia Gerber and Olivia Rodrigo
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In the 1960s, there was the Rat Pack, movie stars like Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart who partied and indulged in Hollywood. Two decades later, it was the Brat Pack, painfully attractive twenty-somethings, including Rob Lowe and Demi Moore, known to dominate the coming-of-age genre. Cut to the new millennium and the rise of the Frat Pack, bro-y comedians such as Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd are often seen in R-rated blockbusters.
Now, another 20 years later, there’s a new group reaching cultural ubiquity, made up of versatile and versatile young Gen Z talents like Olivia Rodrigo, Maude Apatow and Kaia Gerber. They may not have a catchy nickname just yet, but together they are undoubtedly defining pop culture for a new generation.
Unlike previous iterations, this new alliance transcends any sphere of influence, with its predominantly female members rising to fame through film, television, music, modeling, influence, or, often, a combination of several of the items above. They’re solidly Gen Z, ages 17 to 24, and the few who aren’t celebrity kids themselves have grown up alongside those who are. They live in Los Angeles but call NYC their second home. they form their friendships – and build their careers – primarily through social media, using their massive platforms to bond with anxiety and boredom just as much as glamor and fame. They are colleagues and close friends, collaborators and muses, established icons and emerging talents. At least a handful are currently appearing on HBO Euphoria.
And even if not all of them are known yet, their power is undeniable. A casual Gerber selfie leads to the start of a new fashion trend; a musical record by Rodrigo boosts the career of another artist. To their millions of followers, these young stars are not just idols, but influencers in the truest sense of the word, constantly setting and resetting the cultural tone. It’s time to find out who they are.
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How do you know her: The multi-hyphenated superstar, 25, may have started out on the Disney Channel, but the lead is spinning The greatest showmanthe Spider-Man franchise, Dunes, and of course, Euphoria— for which she became the youngest Emmy winner in her class — cemented her as one of the most exciting stars working today.
Cultural influence: 126 million Instagram followers, campaigns with Lancôme and Valentino, activism around mental health and Black Lives Matter, a relationship with high profile celebrities – Zendaya is the undisputed star of the moment.
Iris and Maude Apatow
How do you know them: Daughters of producer Judd Apatow and actress Leslie Mann, the sisters have been familiar faces since appearing in their parents’ films. In recent years, they have each branched out – Maude, 24, notably as the quiet Lexi in Euphoriaand Iris, 19, as an actress (she will appear in the next film The bubble) and burgeoning fashionista.
Cultural Centeryou: Maude has 1.4 million followers on Instagram and Iris nearly 600,000. While the younger sister, who is singer Olivia Rodrigo’s longtime best friend, is just beginning her adult career, the success of Maude with Euphoria (as good as The King of Staten Island and those of Netflix Hollywood) has earned her credibility as an actress, regardless of her last name.
How do you know her: If you’ve heard music in the past year, then you know Rodrigo, whose career took off in January 2021 with his ubiquitous “driver’s license” single and hasn’t slowed down since.
Cultural influence: “driver’s license” made Rodrigo, 18, the youngest artist to top the Billboard Hot 100, where the song spent eight consecutive weeks, and Sour, her debut album, broke Spotify’s record for the biggest opening week for an album by a female artist. Since then, Rodrigo has amassed more than 21 million followers, met President Biden at the White House to promote COVID-19 vaccinations, and was instrumental in the revival of ’90s grunge style.
How do you know her: The 18-year-old actress has worked in Hollywood since she was a child, but broke out in 2020 with Hulu’s Small fires everywhereplaying Kerry Washington’s teenage daughter.
Cultural influence: After winning accolades for her role as Pearl Warren in the miniseries, Underwood wasted no time climbing the industry ladder, starring in the Disney+ horror series just beyond and the upcoming Showtime anthology The first lady, where she will play Malia Obama. And while most of her nearly 300,000 followers (including the Apatow sisters and Kaia Gerber), perhaps she knows her for her acting and red carpet looks, she’s also a singer, having played Young Nala on Broadway’s The Lion King.
How do you know her: The daughter of Ted Lasso Creator and showrunner Bill Lawrence and actress Christa Miller, the singer-songwriter has released two EPs. When not performing, she models for brands like Chanel and appears on the covers of international magazines.
Cultural influence: Along with model Kaia Gerber (her childhood best friend) and other influential models like Charlotte D’Alessio and Jesse Jo Stark, Lawrence’s mix of luxury and understated looks had a direct impact on the fashion of generation Z. In the world of music, she performed at the Governors Ball in New York, had a track on the Birds of prey soundtrack, has gained over three million subscribers on Spotify and Elton John account as a buddy and mentor.
How do you know her: The 23-year-old model, activist and actress broke out with HBO Euphoriaon which she plays Jules, the love interest of Zendaya’s Rue.
Cultural influence: 4.8 million fans eagerly await Schafer’s Instagram posts, which document behind-the-scenes moments on Euphoriacampaigns with brands like Prada and ongoing support of the LGBTQ+ community. In 2021, Schafer expanded his resume, co-writing and co-producing a special Euphoria episode; earlier this year, she voiced a character in the Japanese anime film Beautifuland soon she will star alongside Gemma Chan and John Malkovich in the horror movie Hello.
How do you know him: After a few years of rise, the singer-songwriter hit hard in 2020 with his first album, Kid Krow, and lead single “Heather”.
Cultural influence: Having started his career as a teenager, Gray formed early friendships with musicians like Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish, in addition to new talents like Rodrigo and Lydia Knight. He’s also one of the few music stars to have a real hold on TikTok (where he has nearly five million followers), which led to the success of ‘Heather’ and helped launch his mainstream career. .
How do you know her: Her father is director JJ Abrams, but 22-year-old Gracie has been making waves on her own with a growing collection of introspective and sad songs. His first album, That’s what it doeswas released at the end of 2021.
Cultural influence: Abrams’ music has earned praise from Taylor Swift, Lorde, Phoebe Bridgers and Billie Eilish, among others; her friend Olivia Rodrigo even credited Abrams’ debut EP Minor for his inspiring “driver’s license”.
How do you know her: The daughter (and lookalike) of Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber is one of the biggest models of the moment, with more than 7.4 million followers.
Cultural influence: First and foremost is her massive influence in the fashion world; as well as being the first model born in the new millennium to pose for the big four vogue covers, Gerber collaborated with the late Karl Lagerfeld on a collection and was the 2018 British Fashion Awards Model of the Year. The star has also lent his prestige to acting (American Horror Story, The Great Gatsby), literature (she directs Gen Z’s Most Popular Book Club), and business (she and fellow model Karlie Kloss, among others, acquired O in 2020).
How do you know her: After The Weeknd shared photos from then-unknown teenager to Coachella in 2015, D’Alessio’s career took off, leading to a string of modeling and influencing gigs.
Cultural influence: D’Alessio, 23, born in Canada, may be less famous than some of her famous friends (a group that includes Lawrence, Abrams and Gerber), but she turned what could have been 15 minutes of fame into a full-fledged career. More recently, she has modeled for Marc Jacobs and Pacsun, and last year collaborated with mega-influencer David Dobrik on a fragrance.
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