By Christina Mattera and Chelsea Duff
It’s no secret there are some seriously awesome teens out there changing the world. Whether it’s through fashion, science, social media or politics, teenagers have proven time and time again that they can be just as smart, strong and hard-working as adults—and that no matter their age, they can make a difference.
Late last year, Time magazine revealed its list of the 30 most influential teens of 2015, and there were some pretty incredible kids on the list. It’s no surprise that headline-making celebs like K.C. Undercover’s Zendaya, Girls Meets World’s Rowan Blanchard, Hunger Games’ Amandla Stenberg, Modern Family’s Ariel Winter, Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams all made the cut. Also on the list are first daughter Malia Obama, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, dancer Maddie Ziegler, nature conservationist Bindi Irwin, video blogger Bethany Mota and Internet star Lele Pons, plus of course some great guys. But we were excited to see some other names you might not hear quite as often.
Let us introduce you—and explain why these girls are just as rad as the celebs you already know and love….
Earlier last year—when she was just 13—Ashima made a name for herself when she became the youngest person (and only girl!) to complete the Open Your Mind rock-climbing route in Spain. Now that climbing has officially been added as a sport to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, she hopes to compete officially at the international level.
This transgender teen realized she was a girl at the young age of 5, and she’s been living her truth ever since. In addition to nabbing her own reality TV show I Am Jazz on TLC, she also scored an endorsement deal as the face of Clean & Clear’s “See the Real Me” campaign, and she’s become a major voice for the LGBT community.
Snowboarding since she was just 6, Chloe stole the spotlight when she won the gold medal at the 2015 Winter X Games in the Women’s Superpipe event. It doesn’t hurt that she’s the youngest person, at 14, ever to grab the title. No doubt she’ll be tearing up the slopes in the Winter Olympics…just as soon as she’s old enough to compete).
This grand-prize winner beat out all the other competitors at the 2015 Google Science Fair. Olivia created a new test for the ebola virus—one that’s faster, easier and cheaper than all those already on the market. That just goes to show that anyone can better the world…even if you’re still in high school.
This teen was bound for college at the University of California at Berkeley when she deferred her admission in favor of jumping right into the workforce. As an analyst and associate at investment firm Binary Capital, Tiffany is on the hunt to find other kids who work just as hard as she does at designing and developing apps, startups and companies.
The youngest golfer to ever reach the No. 1 spot in the ranks and the youngest winner ever at last year’s Evian Championship, Lydia proves that golf isn’t a “gentlemen only” sport. Neither age nor gender holds a girl back when she’s passionate about a sport she loves.
A triple world-record holder and Olympic gold medalist, Katie made a splash as a swimmer at the London events when she was just 15. Three years later she’s gearing up for the games this summer, and she’s got her wins from last summer’s World Championships to pave her way. We know this is just the start for this talented teen.
What do you think of Time’s list of influential teens? Who most inspires you? Tell us in the comments below.