Generation Next: The Challengers, The Game Changers, The Disruptors, And The Rebels

​Introducing ELLE's list of this year's coolest, most revolutionary women. Be inspired.

ISABELLA EMMACK, 18, model, Kansas City

In fashion a haircut can make or break a career. For tomboy model Isabella, her jet-black pixie crop made her the hottest face of this season. She's been storming catwalks for Fendi, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney since and can be seen in this season's Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs and Versus Versace.

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 JAZ O'HARA, 26, humanitarian blogger, Kent 

After reading about the humanitarian disaster in the Jungle, the refugee camp in Calais, France, Jaz decided that she had to do something – and she actually did. She quit her job in fashion and advertising, moved to the camp and began to campaign to improve conditions there by crowdsourcing supplies and shining a spotlight on the humanitarian situation. Jaz documents life in the Jungle for the 16.9k followers of her Instagram account, @TheWorldwideTribe, putting a human face on anonymous headlines.

AMANDLA STENBERG, 17, actress, Los Angeles 

Having started her acting career as Rue in The Hunger Games, aged 12, Amandla received racist abuse that ignited her activism and she's since become
a spokesperson for minority issues, while openly identifying as a feminist, non-binary (not defined as masculine or feminine) and bisexual. Her video Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows, a whip-smart crash course on cultural appropriation, has now had nearly 2m views. Watch her next in Nineties teen drama As You Are, out this autumn.

SONITA ALIZADEH, 19, rapper, Afghanistan 

After growing up under Taliban rule before fleeing to Iran, Sonita's mother attempted to force her into marriage at 16 years old. Sonita responded by writing Brides For Sale, a fiercely emotional rap about owning her own body. After releasing the video on YouTube, she was contacted by the Strongheart Group who offered her a student visa to study in the United States, where she currently resides. She has since become an unofficial spokesperson for female autonomy in the Middle East and beyond, and continues to campaign through her music.

BERTIE BRANDES, 25, journalist, London 

Having co-founded Mushpit, a magazine hybrid of Just Seventeen and Dazed & Confused, this writer's ironic take on fashion, culture and everything Generation Z has made her a favourite at Vice and i-D. This year she also contributed to I Call Myself A Feminist edited by Victoria Pepe.

ROWAN BLANCHARD, 14, actress, Los Angeles 

Trailblazer of generation slashie, Rowan is an actress, writer, artist and activist at an age when most of us hadn't even done our GCSEs yet.
She gained her fanbase as Riley Matthews on
the Disney show Girl Meets World, then joined Emma Watson's He For She campaign and spoke at the United Nations Women US National Committee 2015 Annual Conference about gender equality. We advise you follow @RowBlanchard immediately.

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 JULIA GARNER, 22, actress, New York 

Julia's IMDB page reads like a list of all our favourite films: The Perks Of Being A WallflowerMartha Marcy May Marlene and We Are What We Are. Julia has also walked for Balenciaga and is fronting this season's Miu Miu campaign. Next up is her first comedy film, Good Kids, released in September.

DINA ASHER-SMITH, 20, sprinter, London 

The fastest woman in British history, athlete Dina is the woman to watch at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. 'I love the feeling of an adrenaline rush and always have since I was little. So whether I was racing my dad on a bike, going to Thorpe Park or sprinting, I've always loved travelling quickly,' she says. 'I'm quite impatient too, so that probably contributed. At first I did cross-country running and I didn't enjoy having to pace myself or getting muddy. So when I discovered short sprinting – specifically races that last about 11 seconds – it took off from there.
I loved the idea that as soon as you hear the gun you just run as fast as you possibly can, and I still do now. If you want to
run just go out there
and try it. It's the
easiest sport to get
involved in. But it
takes complete self-
belief to compete
at the highest levels
of sport. If you have
utter confidence
in your own ability
and your training then you are far more likely to go out and perform
to the best that you can. When I'm running I think about the one thing that my coach wants me to do in
the race. That could be to get my legs turning faster, make sure I put down a lot of power or remember
to stay relaxed as I cross the line. I always want to improve. For me, this extends further than athletics and sums up my attitude to everything. Setbacks can be annoying but they are not the be-all and end-all. Am I fast at other things, too? Reading and eating, yes... Getting dressed for a night out, no!'

A.V. ROBERTSON, 24, designer, London 

When a young designer has Georgia May Jagger on their runway, and Marc Jacobs sitting in their front row you can guarantee they'll be big. After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2014, A.V. worked with Asos Black to produce a capsule collection before launching her own label last year. As far as debuts go, she was the talk of London Fashion Week.

CHRISTELLE KOCHER, 37, founder
of Koché, Paris 

Before launching Koché in 2014, Christelle spent 12 years honing her craft as a designer at big brands including Chloé, Bottega Veneta and Dries Van Noten. After just two years, her tough yet feminine streetwear brand is stocked in Selfridges in the UK and Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong, and she's already received a nomination for the LVMH prize.

SYD THA KYD, 24, singer and producer, Los Angeles 

No one has the stage presence of soul band The Internet's frontwoman Syd tha Kyd. The silky voiced androgyne is one of the few openly gay figures in hip-hop. The band's most recent album, Ego Death, was nominated for a Grammy. Play now.

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HARRIET REUTER HAPGOOD, 34, author, Brighton 

Two things any hopeful writer wants: a book deal and a bit of buzz. Freelance journalist Harriet has achieved both with her debut novel, The Square Root Of Summer, which is out now. With reviewers declaring it 'the next Hunger Games', thebookisamixof young romance and quantum physics.

ALANNA ARRINGTON, 17, model, Iowa 

Spotted by the scouts who discovered Karlie Kloss and Grace Hartzel, Alanna went from high- school basketball player to fashion's most recent It girl. The curly haired model has walked for Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Diane von Furstenberg, Mulberry and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. She also opened for Altuzarra at New York Fashion Week earlier this year despite it being only her first season.

ROSE PILKINGTON, 26, graphic design artist, London 

In the Forties, the psychological powers of colour and sound were used to calm soldiers. Central Saint Martins graduate Rose has taken this theory to a new level with her 3D animations. She's created visuals and artwork for Jamie xx's album, In Colour, and commissions for brands including adidas and H&M.

TOKYO VANITY, 21, singer, Louisiana 

With 172m loops on Vine, rapper Tokyo Vanity's catchy song That's My Best Friend also gained more than 8.4m views on YouTube. The social media star frequently speaks up about gender discrimination in the male-dominated hip- hop industry, and encourages her fans to defy beauty stereotypes and feel comfortable in their own skin.

VASHTIE KOLA, 35, video director and artist, New York 

Vashtie,
whose popularity has earned her the nickname of 'Curator of Cool',
is a designer, DJ, photographer, creative director and a real champion of emerging talent. Did we mention she wrote, directed and starred in an art film set to Drake's Hotline Bling track? Need we say more?

JADE AZIM, 20, activist and blogger, London 

This Durham University politics student and avid Labour Party campaigner blogs about everything from inequality and the welfare state to 'the continuing emptying bowels of The Labour Party'. She's also spearheaded
a campaign to get women into Westminster. Follow @JadeFrancesAzim for biting political commentary and updates on the realities of student life. There's a sticker I shoved in the faces of reluctant passersby when
I worked on voter registration
on campus at my university in Durham,' says Jade. 'It read, "If you don't do politics, politics will do you." As aggressive and clichéd as that may be, it is true and we see it with every passing budget. Young people don't vote. Older people, especially those over 65 years old, vote at twice the rate 18-24 year olds do. The government pays attention to this reliable constituency and legislates in its favour. It's simple and obvious, but the intergenerational betrayal we see now is getting out of control. It's about time that we spoke out. To other young women interested in politics I would say: do not tread carefully. Make yourself heard. You will experience bumps in the road, especially if you dare to speak out online, but politics is full of wonderful women who are there for you and want you to achieve. I believe in the potential of my generation. I see us as more tolerant and more open-minded. We can create movements like never before.'

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WARSAN SHIRE, 27, poet, London 

Before Beyoncé made her a household name by reciting her poetry on her visual album Lemonade, Warsan had already won the Brunel University inaugural prize for African Poetry, and in 2013 she was selected for London's Young Poet Laureate. Her moving words on African migration to Europe, identity and feminism have gained her more than 76k followers on Twitter.

BIBI BOURELLY, 21, singer-songwriter, Berlin 

Hit machine Bibi is one of the co-writers behind Rihanna's Bitch Better Have My Money and has since collaborated with Lil Wayne, Usher and Nick Brewer. Born in Berlin, she grew up in Maryland in the US, and first went on tour aged 11 with her dad, guitarist Jean-Paul Bourelly. She hasn't taken a break from music since and writes songs every day. Check out her recent single, Sally, on Spotify.

MADDIE ZIEGLER, 13, dancer, Pennsylvania 

The dancer from Sia's Chandelier, Big Girls Cry and Elastic Heart videos has added another string to her bow; she stars in family drama The Book Of Henry with Naomi Watts, out later this year. She will also be a judge on So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation.

WILLOW SMITH, 15, singer, Los Angeles 

Any offspring of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith was unlikely to be dull, but Willow
has taken the famous surname and made it her own. Nicknamed 'baby Rihanna' after Whip My Hair dropped in 2011, Willow then released her debut album Ardipithecus in 2015 through Jay Z's record label Roc Nation. She's starred in a Marc Jacobs campaign, is this season's Chanel muse and she's an ambassador for Project Zambi, a charity that raises awareness for kids orphaned by Aids.

AZEDE JEAN-PIERRE, 27, designer, New York 

'Our goal is to design special clothes that a woman can cherish and live in,' says Azede. The fact that her collection
is both beautiful, strong and practical is in part
a product of Azede's unique background: she's a refugee from Pestel, Haiti, and first- generation American. Leandra 'Man Repeller' Medine has helped grow the brand on her blog, manrepeller.com, and her designs have now been worn by Naomi Campbell, Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama and Solange Knowles. Azede uses her work to promote long-term sustainable growth in developing countries by hiring and supporting artisans of marginalised groups.

NEELAM ROSE, 24, Director of the Safra Project, London 

Being the Director of the Safra Project – an organisation that works with LBTQ Muslim women – takes resilience, but it's all in a day's work for Neelam. Her career started at
13 years old when she became a young feminist campaigner. Since then, she's founded a LGB interfaith think tank called Global, she's supported women across Europe with issues connected to gender and sexuality, and she's spoken as a human rights consultant at parliament and at a UN conference. She says: 'It is time to build the most inclusive agenda for equality and human rights.'

ISSA RAE, 31, actress and writer, Maryland 

Stop what you're doing and watch an episode
of The Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl on YouTube instead. As a response to the limiting stereotypes of black women on TV, Issa has created a weird, loud and totally original series with more than 20m views to date. It is no great surprise that HBO has green lit a whole series for TV, coming later this year. 

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