Energy. Enthusiasm. Creativity. Optimism. Those are some of the words that come to mind when we imagine youth. For our inaugural 25 Under 25 list, we wanted to find the young creators and voices who are shaping the cultural conversation and spotlight their achievements. Whether the breakout star of Netflix’s buzziest show; the preternaturally gifted young musicians anointed by Beyoncé; dedicated advocates and activists; or political prodigies, these young people inspire us in the ways that they are engaged in the world and, yes, woke: profoundly aware of their own influence and of our shared, complicated present reality.
As 17-year-old climate activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez tells Rolling Stone: "The change that we need is not going to come from a politician, from an orangutan in office, it's going to come from something that's always been the driver of change – people power, power of young people."