Film Television

20 Actress Under 30 Poised to be Major Hollywood Stars

In case you haven’t noticed in recent years, there is an amazing crop of young talent springing up in Hollywood as of late – and in some very prominent roles. From television to the big screen, this new influx of talent is making its dent on the Hollywood landscape and fans are definitely taking notice. Whether they are completely new to the Hollywood scene or they have been around for a while and fans are finally beginning to take notice, the following twenty actresses under the age of 30 are the ones that I would definitely love to see more of and who are likely poised to make some serious waves on the celebrity scene for years to come.

Note: I am excluding some actresses like Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Watson, Margot Robbie and Chloe Grace Moretz only because their work has already been praised and lauded over by critics and fans alike. This list is primarily focusing on those actresses under 30 who have yet to reach that level of acclaim and notoriety in Hollywood and are right on the cusp of attaining it.

Alexandra Shipp

Date of birth: July 16, 1991
What you know her from: Straight Outta Compton, X-Men: Apocalypse

Whether you saw Alexandra Shipp as Kimberly Woodruff in the 2015 N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton or as the young X-Woman Storm in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, you could see right away that she has a natural presence on screen and that she has an abundance of talent to portray the characters she is given. I expect to see her in future, big budget projects as she has the look and talent to carry her forward in her career, but I really want to see her go one more round as Storm in Fox’s X-Men franchise, particularly in 2018’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix… though no casting details have been released as of late.

Ana de Armas

Date of birth: April 30, 1988
What you know her from: Hands of Stone, War Dogs

Ana de Armas has appeared in two films that kind of went under the radar last year with the Roberto Duran biopic Hands of Stone (in which she portrays his wife Felicidad Duran) and the black dramedy biopic War Dogs, but her roles in both films, even the smaller role she had in War Dogs, showed that aside from her natural beauty she could be a particular strong force in a film’s cast. That didn’t go unnoticed with Hollywood casting director’s as she is slated to have a significant role in upcoming noir sci-fi film Blade Runner: 2049 (alongside Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling), certainly setting her up for bigger and better roles in the future.

Anya Taylor-Joy

Date of birth: April 16, 1996
What you know her from: Split, The Witch

As the star of two films that initially went under the mainstream radar but have since been highly acclaimed, 2015 and 2016 horror films The Witch and Split (respectively), Anya Taylor-Joy has shown some remarkable talent and range in these two roles. She has definitely won over the audience with her character portrayal in both films and is setting herself up for bigger projects in the near future. Indeed, she has already been cast in the next X-Men film, 2018’s X-Men: The New Mutants, and the third part of the Unbreakable film series, 2019’s Glass, reprising her role as Casey from Split. She seems ready and primed at the young age of 21 to make a big name for herself as a future major Hollywood star.

Ashley Benson

Date of birth: December 19, 1989
What you know her from: Pixels, Pretty Little Liars

Young television fans have been familiar with Ashley Benson for at least seven years now as she has portrayed the character Hanna Marin on the Freeform series Pretty Little Liars since it began in 2010 (finally wrapping up in 2017). More casual fans got their first glimpse of her in the 2015 Adam Sander film Pixels, portraying the video game character come to life, Lady Lisa. Though she didn’t get to show off any particular talents in the role as Lady Lisa (she was pretty much cast to be a typical video game vixen), her role as Hanna Marin has shown that has the talent to portray a serious and flawed character and the ability to lead and carry a project.

Candice Patton

Date of birth: June 24, 1988
What you know her from: The Flash

I’ll be honest here: I don’t know much of Candice Patton aside from her role as Iris West on the immensely popular super hero series The Flash, but what I have seen from her makes me believe that she will one day rise above this role and become a major player on the Hollywood scene. On The Flash, she grounds the show with her calm and emotional delivery and humanizes the super heroics otherwise seen on screen. If she could carry that over to future projects she may be cast in, I see no reason why she couldn’t be a leading lady in film or television roles for the next several years.

Chloe Bennet

Date of birth: April 18, 1992
What you know her for: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I only know Chloe Bennett from the ABC television series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which takes place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline. But looking at her portrayal of the character Skye, later renamed Daisy “Quake” Johnson, I have been a big believer that she is a talented enough actress to make the jump from TV to films with relative ease. Whether that is a part of the main MCU if and when the films ever crossover with the TV series, or in other roles in other films, I believe that her talents and looks would be a big contribution to any role she may be cast in.

Daisy Ridley

Date of birth: April 10, 1992
What you know her from: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

It feels odd adding the young, English actress Daisy Ridley on this list given her highly prominent role as Rey in 2015’s Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, and the prominence that her life has risen to because of that. But given that she is primarily known only for that role I felt it appropriate to add her to this list. Of course, with her again reprising her role in this year’s Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, she may find her star meter skyrocketing beyond what she could have ever conceived and cementing her as a major player in Hollywood for the next several years. Out of all the stars on this list, she is the one best positioned to really make a star for herself amongst critics and fans alike.

Haley Bennett

Date of birth: January 7, 1988
What you know her from: The Girl on the Train, The Magnificent Seven

The one thing I will say about actress Haley Bennet right away, because it was the first thing I noticed about her, is that she has a beautiful and distinctive look about her. Her beauty alone sets her apart, but when you look at her roles in two 2016 films, The Girl on the Train and The Magnificent Seven, where she is cast alongside Hollywood heavyweights such as Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Luke Evans, and Emily Blunt, and she manages to hold her own and, at times, outshine them, it is evident that given the right starring role, she will set herself up to be a go-to actress for a varying role of characters to be cast in.

Jane Levy

Date of birth: December 29, 1989
What you know her from: Don’t Breathe, Evil Dead (2013)

Out of all the actresses that I have listed here, Jane Levy seems to be the one poised to be continually typecast into one genre, given her affinity for her amazing performances in those films. After starring in the 2013 remake of Evil Dead and in 2016’s Don’t Breathe, it’s really easy to see how acclimated and comfortable she is performing in these kinds of films. Her next big role is also in another film in the horror genre, Office Uprising – though this film also has a comedic kick to it. Still, there is nothing wrong with being a “Scream Queen”, I just think she has the talent to surpass and move on from the genre into more mainstream and commercial film projects.

Jessica Henwick

Date of birth: August 30, 1992
What you know her from: Iron Fist, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Though actress Jessica Henwick had a minor role in the sci-fi epic Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, it was a pretty significant one within Star Wars lore for portraying the female X-Wing pilot, Jessica “Tester” Pava. She also ingratiated herself to fans with a starring role in the Netflix original series Iron Fist as Colleen Wing, one of the few noticeable highlights from the series. She is also set to have a significant role in the follow up series, The Defenders, reprising her role as Wing and making her presence known to a wider audience. With her acting talent evident to anyone watching her, she is sure to have great success given the proper roles come her way.

Karen Fukuhara

Date of birth: February 10, 1992
What you know her from: Suicide Squad

While I wasn’t a big fan of the DC film Suicide Squad, there were a few bright spots within the film. One of them, and one which I feel was completely underutilized, was the performance of Karen Fukuhara as the heroine Katana. I thought, that for as little screen time as she received, she did a pretty commendable job in the role and I am hoping that this will lead to her getting more roles, keeping her in Hollywood’s limelight. Admittedly, out of all the actresses listed here, she has the least amount of experience, but given what she did in Suicide Squad, and the exposure she received from being in a highly prominent role, I hope things turn out well for her.

Karen Gillan

Date of birth: November 28, 1987
What you know her from: Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy

So, even though Karen Gillan has had highly prominent roles within the geek fandom community – first as one of my favorite Doctor Who companions, Amy Pond, and secondly as Nebula from the MCU film Guardians of the Galaxy – she hasn’t received the level of acclaim I think she rightly deserves. Thankfully she is being continually cast in highly prominent roles. Such as in the forthcoming action/adventure film Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, as well as other future films in the MCU, this should bring her to higher prominence within Hollywood starring circle. Fans are already in love with her, it’s time that critics and producers also take notice.

Kaya Scodelario

Date of birth: March 13, 1992
What you know her from: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Maze Runner

If we’re being completely honest with each other, and I don’t see why we shouldn’t be, I could really give two shakes with regards to the Maze Runner film franchise. To me, it’s utter tripe and one of the worst film series in recent memory. The only, and I do mean ONLY bright spot in the series is the portrayal of Teresa Agnes by actress Kaya Scodelario. Thankfully she has a prominent role in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film, Dead Men Tell No Tales, which is a much better film and should bring her to wider audience attention. She is still set to appear in one more Maze Runner film, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, and in the upcoming fantasy adventure film The King’s Daughter, so hopefully her star power will continue to rise in Hollywood.

Laura Harrier

Date of birth: March 28, 1990
What you know her from: 4th Man Out, One Life to Live

Some of you may be seeing Laura Harrier’s name on here and wonder what kind of movie 4th Man Out is, because it isn’t a widely known movie. Well, if you ever get the chance, check it out and you’ll see why I think that she is going to be a big star soon, despite the small role. You can also check her out in the role of Destiny Evans in the soap opera One Life to Live. Of course, she’ll have a much more prominent role and highly visible role in the upcoming MCU film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, where she’ll be portraying Peter Parker’s love interest Liz Allen. Hopefully this role will lead to more highly prominent roles as I think that she has the look and skill to be a star in the near future.

Lily James

Date of birth: April 5, 1989
What you know her from: Cinderella (2015), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Though Lily James has had two prominent starring roles, one as the titular character in 2015’s Cinderella and the other in 2016’s comedy/horror film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, she still isn’t a well-known name with most audiences. Yeah, she is a critical darling, especially for her role as Lady Rose MacClare in Downton Abbey, but I still don’t think she is as widely known by the average moviegoing fan as she should be. With several more prominent roles coming in her future including this summer’s Baby Driver and the World War II drama, Darkest Hour, that should elevate her name recognition with more fans, but she needs one more big role to launch her into that upper echelon of leading ladies.

Maika Monroe

Date of birth: May 29, 1993
What you know her from: Independence Day: Resurgence, It Follows

Being honest here, actress Maika Monroe has had some critically acclaimed roles, especially for her role as Jay Height in the 2014 surprise horror hit It Follows. She’s also been involved with one hell of a stinker in 2016’s sci-fi dud Independence Day: Resurgence. Still, despite her role in the Independence Day debacle, I still think that she has a great future ahead of her, and with a starring role in the forthcoming biopic The Silent Man, portraying Liam Neeson’s daughter in the film. She definitely has the talent and skill to make quite a name for herself as her career progresses.

Naomi Scott

Date of birth: May 6, 1993
What you know her form: Power Rangers, Terra Nova

I’ll start by saying that I don’t know much about the series Terra Nova, I never had an inkling to watch it; but I am familiar with Power Rangers and I absolutely adored Naomi Scott as the Pink Ranger, Kimberly Hart. I thought she did a great job bringing such an iconic character onto the big screen. I thought that she did an amazing job bringing to life this character that so many fans hold in such revere. But she did an amazing job with the character and if she can bring a character like Kimberly Hart to life I think that she has the skill and talent to bring any character role offered to her to life. That makes me think that she is positioned to be a huge star given the right roles.

Nicola Peltz

Date of birth: January 9, 1995
What you know her from: The Last Airbender, Transformers: Age of Extinction

Poor Nicola Peltz. As much as I like her as an actress she sure has had some poor roles passed her way. It doesn’t help when one of your most prominent roles early in your career, Katara in the 2010 film The Last Airbender, is heavily criticized for circumstances beyond your control. But then to also be cast in that horrid Transformers sequel, Age of Extinction, didn’t help much – especially when the character you are playing doesn’t connect well with the audience. Still, I do have high hopes for her as looking at her portrayal of Bradley Martin in the TV series Bates Motel shows that she can act and does have some range. Hopefully some better film roles come her way so she can show the wider audience just how talented she really is.

Taissa Farmiga

Date of birth: August 17, 1994
What you know her from: In a Valley of Violence, The Bling Ring

As the younger sister of actress Vera Farmiga, Taissa Farmiga already has a nice link in the Hollywood circuit. But she doesn’t rest on those laurels alone. She’s made some headlines by starring in such films like The Bling Ring, In a Valley of Violence, and by lending her vocal talents to the role of Raven in two DC Animated Features. She has shown an incredible range in the roles she has chosen and has even won fans over with her roles in several American Horror Story seasons including Murder House and Coven. I am expecting great things from her, and I am eagerly anticipating seeing her in the 2018 horror film The Nun, a spin-off of The Conjuring film franchise. With her star power rising every year I have no doubt she will soon be a major star in Hollywood.

Tian Jing

Date of birth: July 21, 1988
What you know her from: Kong: Skull Island, The Great Wall

The less I say about 2017’s The Great Wall, the better: but it did introduce me to Chinese actress Tian Jing with her portrayal of Commander Lin Mae. I next saw her in the monster movie Kong: Skull Island and thought that she had a particular presence about her that I think could carry her far in Hollywood. That’s why I am extremely excited to see her in the 2018 action monster movie Pacific Rim: Uprising, hopefully exposing her to an even wider audience. I think that with the more exposure to Hollywood audiences she receives the better it would be for her career as she has the talent and potential to be a big star in Hollywood. Already an acclaimed star in her native China, this is one import entertainer that I feel would work well on both sides of the Pacific.

Bonus Entry: Dafne Keen

Date of birth: 2005
What you know her from: Logan

If you’ve seen the rated-R comic book film Logan, then you know exactly whey Dafne Keen is on this list as a bonus entry. She absolutely blew everyone away with her performance as Laura/X-23 – the mutant bred/clone daughter of Wolverine. Not only did she perform amazingly in this gritty and bloody feature film, but just look at her performance when standing next to acting heavyweights Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. She more than holds her against both of them and every once in a while outshines them both with her delivery and emotional range. She has a very bright future ahead of her in Hollywood if she can avoid the trap that other child actors in Hollywood encounter. If she manages to keep her head straight and keep thrilling fans at the box office, we may be looking at the best star in this entire list.

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