2014 was a stellar year to be girl. Taylor Swift’s 1989 broke a bunch of records, Lena Dunham released her first book of essays (probably not her last) and Emma Watson blew the world away with her eloquent speech about gender equality at the U.N.
As we kick-off 2015, here are five inspiring young women who are on the rise.
The breakout star of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Williams plays the audacious tomboy Arya Starks on the TV series, wielding her trusty sword, Needle and bringing justice to the North. Tough, ready for battle and never afraid to get her hands dirty, the 17-year-old actress has turned her character into cultural icon worthy of your respect.
With parents who were the epitome of cool in the 90s, is it any wonder that Zoe Kravitz is unintentionally following in their footsteps? Best-known for her roles in X-Men and Divergent, Kravitz is the also lead singer of Lolawolf, a pop trio who released one of the most unexpected R&B albums of the year (at least according to Noisey). Kravitz, however, remains nonchalant about her burgeoning music career. “I don’t really care if people like it or not, but if they do, that’s awesome.”
If you’re into American history (and who isn’t?) you’ve probably seen actress Mackenzie Porter as a young ex-Mormon wife on AMC’s Hell On Wheels. But that’s not all this Alberta native has been up to this year. When not playing a young frontier wife in a fetching bonnet, she’s in Nashville writing and recording music. Her self-titled debut album, MacKenzie Porter, has been nominated for Juno (Canada’s Grammys) solidifying her rising star.
One of the new muses on the block—alongside Cara and Kendall—Gigi is a young model on the rise. The face of Guess and Tom Ford, Hadid has a healthy, all-American glow that sets her apart from the rest of the rising pack. Fit and sexy, like a modern-day Cindy Crawford, she’s set to appear in the 2015, Pirelli Calendar and has just signed on as the new face of Maybeline.
Self-describe “fairy-pop” singer Ryn Weaver knocked everyone over with her debut release Promises, which topped Billboard’s Heatseekers chart when it was released this past August. The San Diego-native as since received kudos from such pop talent as Charlie XCX and Paramore’s Haley Williams. With friends like that, Weaver is definitely one to watch.