By: Keonna Burnett
Closing out the year, we’re approaching the point of where some of us realize that we completely disregarded our resolutions, or where others reflect on how well they’ve grown, and the many things they’ve accomplished. Today, heres a list of seven, young empowering women who’ve used their influence to encourage others, and actively make a stand on today’s society. Each one of these girls made the absolute most of their year, in 7 unique ways.
1) Yara Shahidi
2017 was none short of a defining year for Blackish star Yara Shahidi, better known as Zoey Johnson on the ABC sitcom. Shahidi took this year to expand her public image beyond teen actress, becoming a young women’s activist, and a voice for for young women across the country. This year, Yara partnered with essence magazine on many accounts, as well as the #likeagirl campaign with Always. Recently, Shahidi announced she would be attending Harvard next year, and will soon have her own spinoff, Grownish, with Francia Raisa and Trevor Jackson inspired by A Different World.
2) Rowan Blanchard
Rowan Blanchard, a friend of Yara’s also had quite the year, speaking out on similar topics, along with self acceptance and identification. She plays Jackie- who occasionally pops up on The Goldbergs, and starred as Riley Matthews on the hit Disney series Girl Meets World. The 15 year old caught the attention of others for her maturity, and intelligence beyond her years after writing an essay on self deprecation, and later being featured in Teen Vogue with Yara.
3) Baby Ariel
Baby Ariel, on the other hand, went an entirely different path this year, while she still used her platform to make change. The muser turned youtuber soon acquired the life of a full fledged celebrity, signing on to a talent agency, eventually headlining Digitour Winter alongside others who share her craft. Being named a top 2017 Digital entertainer by Forbes, and a two time Teen Choice Muser, it’s fair to say that Ariel has developed quite the audience, which is why started the #ArielMovement, her very own anti-bullying campaign. Aside from her widespread social media presence, Ariel recently released her debut single, “Aww”, with Atlantic Records.
4) Maddie Ziegler
Being a Dance Moms legend, it wasn’t easy watching her part ways with the show. Though, turns out she had even bigger plans all along, soon becoming a lead dancer for Sia. Eventually, everyone knew Maddie Ziegler’s name, becoming the youngest judge ever to appear on the So You Think You Can Dance: Next Generation panel, and winning Sia a grammy, and Aria Music Award for the Chandelier music video. She’s written her own book, The Maddie Diaries, and co owns a clothing line with her younger sister through Mod Angel- The Maddie and Mackenzie Collection. Nonetheless, Ziegler rocked 2017 pushing her new Youtube hobby, along with her many other endeavors.
5) Grace Vanderwaal
From Suffern, New York, Grace Vanderwaal was none short of an overnight sensation after earning herself a golden ticket in her America’s Got Talent audition, eventually winning the eleventh season. A year later, the 13 year old has landed herself a spot in Billboard’s 21 under 21, and has performed a number of high class events, one being the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games. Vanderwaal has taken the fast track to her lifelong dream by signing to Columbia records, and spending most of her year developing her debut album.
6) Skai Jackson
Better known as Zuri Ross from the Disney sitcom Jessie, Skai Jackson has developed quite the voice, turning herself into something along the lines of a social media activist. On many accounts, Jackson has spoken against issues like cyberbullying and racial typecasting, defending herself and others, such as Zayn Malik. Eventually, teaming up with dosomething.org, expressing herself through speech, along with fashion became her thing, being recognized by A-listers for her class and sense of style. Soon enough, the 15 year old notably made an appearance at New York Fashion Week, and launched a clothing line of her own.
7) Noah Cyrus
Lastly, but certainly not least, there’s Noah Cyrus, whose family has been in the limelight for quite sometime and is now beginning a music career of her own. After making guest appearances on her sister’s show, Hannah Montana, and voicing the main character of Ponyo, Noah released her debut single “Make Me” late last year, followed by “Stay Together” in May, and Again ft. XXCtentacion in September… kicking off her long anticipated music career, or in her case- the family business. The 17 year old spent her year piecing together her debut album NC-17, all while holding true to her personal values as an animal rights activist- something she’s identified as since she was 13.