Meet The Hollywood Z List: 29 Actresses, Singers & Activists On The Verge Of Superstardom

Generation Z is the 20-and-under crowd of actresses, musicians, artists, and entertainers on the verge of ruling Hollywood. Meet the freshest faces in the industry and get ready to root for them as they rise to the top.
If I were a teenager on the verge of ruling Hollywood, my immediate goals would include dancing with Harry Styles and getting early access to the Game of Thrones finale.
It's a very good thing that I'm not a teenager on the verge of ruling Hollywood, and the following 29 future heroines, activists, writers, soul-searchers, and downright goddesses are.
Surely you've heard rumblings about Generation Z by now. The 20-and-under crowd cares less about the latest party drug or highlighting trend, and more about saving the world. They want to be good people, not cool people. They want to inspire, not provoke envy. They look up to people like Oprah Winfrey and Lin-Manuel Miranda, and they know how to navigate social media without getting hurt or hurting others.
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After hearing the goals, future plans, and philosophies of Hollywood's rising stars below, we can confidently agree with Whitney: The children are our future.
The Disney star is poised to become a voice of her generation with meme fame and NAACP nominations already under her belt.
You joined social media at 9 years old. How did you handle some of the negative comments and bullying at such a young age?
"When I first got Instagram it was hard for me not to reply back to the hate because I was only nine. But I eventually learned that some people will hate no matter what you do, so if you think you are doing the right thing just keep on doing it! Do whatever makes you happy."
What's the difference between your Disney generation and the Disney generation that produced Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears?
"I would say the difference between the Disney generations are the topics that are discussed on the shows. Also, a major change is that now our world revolves around social media."
Who's your celebrity crush?
"My celebrity crush is young Leonardo DiCaprio."
What's next?
"I’m so excited to share that I'm working on my first clothing collection with Nowadays! It will be available at Macy’s this October."
Shot On Location At Dylan's Candy Bar.
You may know her older sister Maddie, but Mackenzie is the next Dance Moms alum to take over Hollywood.
What’s your biggest fear about becoming famous at such a young age?
"My biggest fear would be losing my friends. I wouldn’t want them to treat me any differently."
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Where do you see yourself at 29 years old?
"When I am 29, I would love to have my very own clothing line. I am so lucky that I have started on this goal with my collection for Justice Active. I also hope to be touring all over the world and performing for a lot of people."
When you were much younger, on Dance Moms, did you have any idea how popular the show was?
"We had no idea that the show would be successful when we started filming. I was 6 years old when it began. It was just normal life to me. I didn’t know anything different. I started to realize that people knew me when we would go out in public. People knew my name."
Shot On Location At Echo Park Pedal Boats.
The Canadian actress has gone from feral child in Mama to the highly anticipated role of Gretta in next month's It.
Who do you consider a role model?
"Jessica Chastain, who I worked with on Mama, is a huge influence for me in the industry. She taught me a lot while filming, and she inspires me as an actor and as a person. She is so talented, and kind, and loves what she does."
What do you wish people knew about you?
"I wish they knew that I’m not the characters I play. All the characters I’ve portrayed have an element of myself, and I am a part of them, but I’m my own person. Also, I’m a writer, and I’m working on my own screenplay for sometime in the future!"
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The singer and actress racked up 100 million streams with single "History," and represents the best of the Disney Channel's future.
You have three big movies coming out this year. Do you feel ready for fame?
"I've told myself the last couple years I never want to make or be a part of a project that doesn't impact me in anyway and it's a major goal of mine to make other people feel impacted too. Along with inspired, and to humor them, and to move them. I hope that whatever comes along with fame, that all of that is the focus and ultimate dream, always."
What’s your biggest fear about becoming famous at such a young age?
"Being young and in the limelight is a challenging thing to experience. You have to protect and live as much of your childhood as you can. It's not easy to do that, when people all around the world are watching your every move and mistake. I'm lucky to have my family and solid core group of friends around me to keep me grounded and to go do things that any young adult right now would go do."
Who's your celebrity crush?
"Dev Patel. I'm ready to get married whenever he is."
What do you wish people knew about you?
"I don't take one thing in my life for granted. I truly believe that every mistake I've made, every person I've met and every place I've traveled to has all happened for a reason. I also don't take life too seriously. We're only here for such a short amount of time it's so important to take that time and live it so fiercely. I have to dare myself to do things I wouldn't normally dare myself to do. Moral to this message: I put ketchup on everything."
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This pint-size star has already appeared on Grace & Frankie and Modern Family. But her biggest project arrives this fall: CBS' Big Bang Theory spinoff, Young Sheldon.
Who do you look up to in your industry?
"Someone in my industry that I look up to is Lin Manuel Miranda. He's so talented! When I watched him in Hamilton he made me forgot that he wasn't the real Alexander Hamilton. He's this close to an EGOT and he's so young! That's pretty inspiring."
Do you have any fears of fame?
"One of my biggest fears about being famous at such a young age is people treating me differently."
What's your attitude towards social media?
"I think social media is a great place to share your memories and experiences. My parents do all the posting for me since I'm too young, but they will let me see what my friends post."
The TLC star is redefining not only that network, but the entire concept of what it means to be a transgender teenager in 2017.
What’s your biggest fear about becoming famous at such a young age?
"Because I don't generally enjoy receiving attention, living in the spotlight is always a challenge. I’m glad that I can still lead my life as a normal teenage girl, but sometimes it can be overwhelming when people come up to me or when I am doing a lot of interviews or speaking engagements. However, knowing that each activity I participate in can potentially change or even SAVE the life of a person, makes it all worth it and eliminates those fears."
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What’s your approach to social media?
"Honestly, I don't really have an approach. I think people perceive that I’m some “social media guru” or whatever, but I just kind of go with it and post whenever I feel like it; depending on what inspires me in that moment. I love the influence social media has had on our society, but I feel that it is important not to get too involved in posts, comments, and likes so I often escape from the virtual world by avoiding my phone entirely. I just kind of post and then leave the application, and I NEVER read the comments; the haters don’t deserve that attention."
Where do you see yourself at 29 years old?
"Hopefully I am in love… haha. I want to have a family and lead a happy life. Traveling is also a must for me! When I am 29, I have faith that there will be pure freedom and acceptance for all people in the world regardless of their differences. If this idealistic future is not present at that time, then I will certainly continue to spread my message until we can open the minds of everyone."
As far as major fall movies go, starring alongside Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams in the hush-hush new Todd Haynes movie Wonderstruck is pretty much the best way to go.
Who do you consider a role model in your industry and why?
"I haven't been in the industry too long but, I think I can proudly say, Joaquin Phoenix . He is so grounded, honest, open, says what he thinks and doesn't hold back. He's real. I admire that he is him because I'm me.You know that saying? Do you? I sometimes put my foot in my mouth and always say what I think, but it's me."
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What’s your biggest fear about becoming famous at such a young age?
"It would be figuring out who my real friends are or aren't. I don't think being famous has anything to do with it and I don't consider myself famous. It's all a part of just being young."
What’s your approach to social media?
"It's there and it's cool to keep up with friends and family, but it's definitely not a big part of my life. I have so many other things I'd rather do like read and do jigsaw puzzles, sitting by the pool and swimming and hanging with my friends."
The Taylor Swift comparisons are a thing of the past for this America's Got Talent winner.
Who do you consider a role model in your industry and why?
"Miley Cyrus, because she’s always happy and she seems like she genuinely enjoys what she’s doing. She also stands up for what she believes in."
What do you wish people knew about you?
"That I’m just like them. I’m just a regular 13-year-old, but I love to write music and play the ukulele."
Shot On Location At The Sugar Factory.
The redhead Coachella alum is redefining the "alternative" music genre one pop hit at a time.
What’s your approach to social media?
"I use it mainly to promote my art. I think that people are starting to catch on to the insincerities of IG and Twitter so you have to be really real with your followers."
Where do you see yourself at 29 years old?
"Hot as hell, with a sweet pad, speaking 8 languages, shredding at instruments, with a ton of kids. Basically chilling really hard after traveling the whole world."
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Shot On Location At Goldbar.
One of our favorite Vine originals, Giraldo is proving she's much more than a social media star with a new album this fall and a docu-series in the works.
What’s your biggest fear about becoming famous at such a young age?
"Being treated differently. At the end of the day I am still a 19-year-old living a normal life."
What’s your approach to social media?
"Be yourself, and have fun with it. The moment it feels like work, is the moment you know you’re doing something wrong."
Where do you see yourself at 29 years old?
"Hopefully alive. On a serious note, I’d love to have released multiple albums and won a Grammy."
What do you wish people knew about you?
"I’m a horrible cook and I’m a big fan of Trader Joes frozen foods."
The former Ramona Quimby star has so many major film projects coming up in the next two years that we've lost count. But if we could buy tickets for 2018's Slenderman now, we would.
How do you approach social media?
"I sometimes have these weird little panic attacks where I'm like, OH MAN MAYBE I SHOULD GO WITH AN ALL BLACK AND WHITE THEME TO BE MORE MYSTERIOUS... But then I think, hey man, chill. My Instagram and other socials are cool and they showcase the real me and that's all I could ever hope for. My advice for people in today's world is, Be who and what you want. You're hot and beautiful and you don't need to put up certain things online to justify others. Be you. But I'm not losing hope on the more mysterious me."
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Where do you see yourself at 29?
"At 29 years old I see myself with 34 dogs, making rad movies, and finally learning how to sew."
Frustrated with her school's reading list, this young activist launched #1000BlackGirlBooks: a mission to collect 1000 books with a Black girl as the main character.
Who do you consider a role model in your industry and why?
"I don’t really have a specific role model in my industry for two reasons: One, I don’t believe in having a role model. I think that when we set our minds and want to be like a specific person, we create unnecessary stress on ourselves to be perfect or just like them. I usually take attributes and qualities from people I admire and try to model those things. For example, I love Zendaya’s style and her boldness. I also love Lin-Manuel Miranda’s creativity and drive to be the best and of course, I just love Ava Duvernay’s ability to be both eclectic and relatable. Two, I don’t know to define or describe what industry I am in. Because I am a writer, activist, and performer, it is tough to put myself into one category. But the interesting thing is that so many people are creating new lanes like I am."
What’s your approach to social media?
"I think that social media is a tool that needs to be used carefully. I love how it has allowed me to meet others and learn about new things but it can also be used incorrectly and hurt others. My personal rule of thumb is that I will never say or post anything my Grammy (grandma) wouldn’t approve of."
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What do you wish people knew about you?
"I wish people knew that I am a kid. I like to play and take naps and hug on my mommy. I also have lots of anxiety and nervousness when I perform. I never want my childhood and being young to be taken away; sometimes I think it is because more people know me now and I have more responsibilities. Being a kid is great and you only get to do it once. I want to get the most out of the wonderful years."
Co-starring alongside Andrew Garfield and Riley Keough in the upcoming thriller Under The Silver Lake pales in comparison to her starring role in next year's Netflix series Everything Sucks!
What’s your biggest fear about becoming famous at such a young age?
"Not knowing who my true friends are. There's so many people who would love to watch you fall down."
What’s your approach to social media?
"I'm still trying to figure it out! I want to be as real as possible to my fans, and give them a glimpse into my life. But I like to try and keep some parts of my life private."
Where do you see yourself at 29 years old?
"I could see myself having my own production company, an Oscar (fingers crossed), and maybe a family but I haven't planned that far in advance. I'm still trying to figure out this weekend!"
Who's your celebrity crush?
"Ansel Elgort! He just followed me on Twitter and I almost had a panic attack."
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What do you wish people knew about you?
"I love slalom water-skiing. If I could be on the water every day I would."
From Renesmee Cullen to co-starring alongside Misty Copeland in next year's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
Who do you consider a role model in your industry and why?
"I consider Yara Shahidi to be a role model in this industry because not only is she an extremely talented artist but she is also kind, smart, and funny. She's a good person for young people to look up to. She shows people that anything is possible thorough hard work and kindness. On top of all of those wonderful qualities she's incredibly smart. I have never met anyone who can even compare to her intelligence. Did I mention she's going to Harvard?! She's going to change the world. I'm proud to say that she's one of my oldest friends and one of the coolest people I know."
Who's your celebrity crush?
"Dylan O'Brien."
What do you wish people knew about you?
"My dad is teaching me how to drive a stick shift so that I have a better chance at surviving the zombie apocalypse."
Shot On Location At Salt And Straw.
The New York City native has played a young Megan Fox, and scored the must-have credit for any Z List actress: a major role on a hit Netflix show (A Series Of Unfortunate Events).
Does anything about fame scare you?
"I don’t think that there is a fear, when someone comes up to me while I am grocery shopping, or just doing anything in regular life, and someone will ask for a photo or is interested in what I do, it means they have watched what I love to do which makes me feel great."
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What do you wish people knew about you?
"Don’t laugh, but I have banana-phobia. (Yes, its a real thing)."
Bateman already has a major horror hit on her hands (Annabelle: Creation), and she's about to appear in this fall's natural disaster hit, Geostorm.
Who do you consider a role model in your industry?
"Vera Farmiga. She's very underrated in my opinion and I believe she will win an Oscar one day."
What’s your biggest fear about becoming famous at such a young age?
"I am not famous in any way, so I have no fear!"
What’s your approach to social media?
"I love staying in touch with supporters and sharing what I'm doing. But I hate that it can come across as pretentious and only showing the best snap shots in life."
What do you wish people knew about you?
"That I’m a control freak, I have to have everything done in a certain way."
It's easy to get attention for being Miley Cyrus' little sister. It's far more difficult to get it for your actual music and talent, which is the part Noah is nailing.
What’s your approach to social media?
"I just like being real on my account. I don’t worry about how many pictures I post a day or what the picture is. If I want to post a picture of a salad leaf on my pants, then why not."
What do you wish people knew about you?
"That I’m a badass bitch. Haha no I’m just kidding. I wish people could actually get to know the real me and see what my friends see because I think seeing someone just over social media, you create expectations and you start to create who that person is without knowing them personally."
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What's your favorite lyric you've ever written?
"It’s from my song 'Almost Famous.' 'We were almost like the people in the paintings, we were almost famous.'"
The DJ and activist has style for days, a voice that begs to be heard, and better taste in music than anyone you know.
What’s your biggest fear about becoming famous at such a young age?
"I often fear not having REAL friends, people who genuinely want the best for me. Some of the same people who disregarded my talents early on, now hit me up for favors and tell others that we're close or family. I don't want to be around people who only recognize what I can do for them. Those types will expose you for a paycheck or gain notoriety. I'm sure the same things happen when you become famous at an older age but at least by then you've established true and tested relationships."
What do you wish people knew about you?
"I wish people knew that I was approachable. Yes, I'm on stage, and yes, I'm signing autographs but I'm still a person just like them. Oh yeah, and I'm wicked with a Rubik's Cube."
Shot On Location At The VNYL,
As the curator of Art Hoe Collective, this social media star/artist is using her voice to make change.
Who do you consider a role model in your industry and why?
"I consider Solange as a role model of mine because I truly respect her artistic direction, creativity, and authentic style. She's one of the artist that's created music that has changed my life. Her speaking about how the industry should be more supportive and inclusive to artist of color, specifically women of color, means a lot to me."
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What’s your biggest fear about becoming famous at such a young age?
"My biggest fear about becoming famous at a young age is never having true privacy again. Everyone's in your business and you can never walk outside looking a hot mess."
What’s your approach to social media?
"My approach to social media is to never take anything that people post too seriously, especially when it makes no sense and to stay true to myself."
Amy Poehler and Ilana Glazer are already fans of this comedian and author, whose first book is out in October.
Who do you consider a role model in your industry?
"Shannon O'Neill. She is the first female Artistic Director of the Upright Citizens Brigade, and has been performing comedy at UCB for ages. She hosts ASSSSCAT, UCB's most legendary show and is overall one of the most optimistic, caring comedians I've ever met. She is dedicated to what she does because she loves what she does. She's in it for the love of comedy, not for the love of fame."
What’s your biggest fear about becoming famous at such a young age?
"Being 'known' only because I'm young. While my book and a lot of my comedy revolves around my age and generation, I don't want to be recognized because I'm 16. I want to be recognized because I'm creating good art that influences people in a positive and informative way."
What’s your approach to social media?
"I use social media with caution. I try my best to not let it consume me, because I cannot tell you how many times Snapchat has ruined a Friday night for me. Also, I'm still traumatized by the Ask.Fm questions I used to get in middle school, because who thought a website where 12-year-olds could ask each other anonymous questions was a good idea?"
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Keep your eye on this one. The actress is the actual star of next year's A Wrinkle In Time, sharing screen time with Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling.
What career advice did you receive from Oprah?
"Ms. Oprah gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received. She told me to not waste my time and energy on the negative things in life, when I can use that energy making my dreams come true and becoming a better me."
Where do you see yourself at 29 years old?
"I recently started a film and television production company called A Seed & Wings with my mom, so hopefully by the time I’m 29, I will have a slate of successful projects under my belt and be making my directorial debut. Maybe even have a degree from a culinary school because cooking and baking makes me happy."
Who do you consider a role model in your industry?
"Ms. Ava DuVernay, is a not only my role model in this industry but she is someone that I look up to personally and professionally. She is all about inclusion and diversity! She also is a big advocate for equal opportunities for women in a male dominated world and industry. Personally I love that she walks the walk that she talks. She is a go getter, she is compassionate, and humble."
We already fell in love with this actress after seeing her kick ass in X-Men: Apocalypse, but we have a feeling she'll truly rule the world after appearing in next year's Alita: Battle Angel.
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What’s your biggest fear about becoming famous at such a young age?
"In my mind the only people who are famous are Brad Pitt and the like! Household names, not just names that my peers know but that our parents know. I've never thought about what it would be like to 'become famous' because I feel like I have a very, very long way to go before that could possibly happen."
Who's your celebrity crush?
"Emily Blunt. I am so obsessed with her... it's like, at a new level. And I love Dwayne Johnson. I could watch him for days."
Where do you see yourself at 29 years old?
"Hopefully doing movies consistently, movies that mean something and that I feel passionate about. I hope that at 29, I will have have made an impact on Asian representation in Hollywood and shown everyone that people want to see us!"
At only 13, Miller has lined up projects like this summer's War For The Planet Of The Apes and this fall's Trafficked. Even more exciting is her role in next year's Anastasia, opposite young Wonder Woman herself, Emily Carey.
Does anything about fame scare you?
"One thing that I’m not looking forward to is, everyone being so quick to judge me or leave negative, rude comments without even knowing me because of being in the public eye. I try my best everyday to do good for others, to inspire, to spread positivity and I just wish more people would focus on bringing others 'up' because I strongly feel, when you bring others up, you will also rise."
Where do you see yourself at 29 years old?
"I have so many plans for when I’m 29, but I am hoping that by that age I have been able to help many people in different ways. I want to be known for something positive. I want my kids to be proud of me and my grandkids to even hear how I made a difference somehow and is known for something special. I want to be an icon."
What better way to reserve a spot on every casting director's wish list than by starring as Reese Witherspoon's daughter? Check out Flanery in Home Again.
Does anything about fame scare you?
"When I’m not working I go to school, so the only thing that I sometimes think about is if people are being friends with me because of my job? Right now people ask more about the REALLY famous people I have worked with but I just hope they don’t only want to hang out with me for that. Anyway, if I think someone is doing that I’ll just pick my nose or something gross and they will split real fast."
What's your attitude towards social media?
"Social media is this crazy amazing thing. I love that I can let people know what’s going on with me with the click of a button. Since it’s such a huge part of our lives though, I think it’s so important to be kind. You know that saying, 'if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all?' That’s how I treat social media. Be kind. Use it to make people feel good, not bad."
Where do you see yourself at 29?
"Wow. That seems so far away! I would never have dreamed I would be where I am at 12! My hope is that I am still acting as well as directing and, on my down time, running an animal rescue for any and all animals!"
Who is your celebrity crush?
"No contest for my celebrity crush. Zac Efron. Did you hear that, Zac? Wait for me! There is only a 17 year age difference."
After watching this California girl's music videos (check out "Bellyache" to start), you'll be even more shocked by her age.
What’s your biggest fear about becoming famous at such a young age?
"I don’t want it all to go over my head. I feel like so much has already happened that has been so great that it's hard to realize how great it’s been and I think a lot of artists don't. A lot of people in general, not even in the music world, just take all the good things for granted. Not to sound cliché but I really don’t want to do that."
What’s your approach to social media?
"Social media can ruin a lot of things, but my career kind of started because of the internet obviously, and social media was a huge part of it and it still is. It’s a way to connect with fans... But it can really, really mess some stuff up, whether it's a relationship with a friend or a guy or whatever. Especially with any sort of fame at all, anyone can find out anything through the internet, and then completely perceive it in the wrong way. So, I kind of feel mixed about it except that I love Instagram and I always have and I’ve always been fully in charge of my Instagram and what I post and how I respond. I try to respond to all of my DMs and everybody who’s trying to reach out to me, because fans are the reason that I’m anything, and to take that for granted is so, so wrong."
Where do you see yourself at 29 years old?
"EW! 29? I’m never going to be 29."
The 13 Reasons Why star has an eerie starring role as a queen bee in Shatterbox Anthology's upcoming short Pinky.
What’s your biggest fear about becoming famous at such a young age?
"The idea of being 'famous' definitely doesn't get me out of bed in the morning. For now it's all about improving my craft. I just love working and I'm so lucky that I get to, and I want to do it forever."
There have been a lot of films focused on the traumas and pressures of being a preteen girl. Welcome To The Dollhouse and My So-Called Life in the '90s, The Diary Of A Teenage Girl in 2015. What was your own experience like?
"They're very reminiscent of my own preteen experience. Being 17 when Pinky was shot, it had been a while since I was a preteen, but this film brought back memories and feelings that I had forgotten. Especially what it feels like to be ostracized or called out in a group of friends, it's terrifying. But it was extremely refreshing, and in a way comforting, to be a part of a coming-of-age project that's so one-of-a-kind, yet relatable to any young girl going through that strange time in their life because it's finally being addressed."
What's your advice for girls who are feeling peer pressured?
"It always comes down to whatever you want to do, and their reactions to your decision is a demonstration of their character, showing what kind of friends/people they are. Standing up for yourself can absolutely be scary in the moment but is ultimately empowering and life-changing."
The actress played a crucial role on last season's The Walking Dead and has nailed the art of the cheerful, fan-friendly Instagram account.
Who do you consider a role model in your industry and why?
"I really appreciate Leonardo DiCaprio for not only being one of the most incredible artists of our time, but for also being a big environmentalist. He’s always so focused on his work and you never hear about him being 'off the rails' like, unfortunately, a lot of people can be in this industry. Leo’s the man!"
What do you wish people knew about you?
"I wish people knew the extent of how much of a goofball I really am. I think people sometimes assume that I’m super serious but once they hear me speak it’s a different story! That’s why I’ve always loved comedy because those are my roots and I’m constantly laughing/being silly."
The breakout star of Netflix's Okja, Seo Hyun is ready to become the next Tilda Swinton.
Who do you admire in your industry?
"Tilda Swinton. As an actress, she possesses a clear set of principles and philosophy, as well as respect and consideration for others. She also has leadership skills through excellent team work and communication."
Do you have any fears around fame?
"I have no fears. Just many challenges I want to try and overcome."
What do you wish people knew about you?
"That I want to be an epitome of a role model."
The Australian actress has already stolen scenes from Ryan Gosling and taken direction from Sofia Coppola.
Who do you consider a role model in your industry?
"I really admire Emma Watson. I’m a huge Hermione fan, but she has done so much other interesting work too. It’s so inspiring to me that she finished school and university while still working as an actor, and I love that she’s a spokesperson for important issues like sustainability and gender equality."
Who's your celebrity crush?
"The entire cast of Riverdale."
What do you wish people knew about you?
"I'd like people to know how to pronounce my name! It’s Ang-GOW-ree. Rhymes with flowery, maori and dowry."
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