meet the young actresses shaping the future of hollywood, part one
Hollywood upstarts become full-blown stars with a role in a Coppola film, so you better believe these talented actresses, handpicked by Gia herself, are destined for big things.
Yara wears jacket Alexander Wang Denim. Dress Chloé.
As Zoey Johnson in hit TV show Black-ish, Yara Shahidi plays the perfect teenage girl — unfathomably beautiful, incredibly smart, unashamedly popular, and heedless in her pursuit of 100k Instagram followers. But Minneapolis-born Yara is anything but typical. She's more switched-on than most adults, and is blazing through Hollywood, making a name for herself with her acting skills as well as her fearlessness in speaking out for what she believes in. At just 16, Yara is pretty much an acting veteran. "At two I'd done commercials and print jobs alongside my mother, and by seven, I completed my first movie Imagine That with Eddie Murphy." She fell in love with acting young for its ability to "explore worlds I could quite literally only imagine." Now she's one of the industry's brightest starlets. Black-ish returned to screens for its third season in September to glowing reviews. "It's because it's so relatable," she answers, when asked about the show's success. "Black-ish directly addresses the different aspects of of being black in America, and recognizes the complexity of our individual experiences rather than falling into the idea of a monolithic black experience." When Yara isn't on set, she's busy discussing the importance of girls' education with First Lady Michelle Obama, launching her young women's mentoring program, Yara's Club with Ann Tisch, planning to study of sociology at college, and generally just being the voice of a generation. "Being politically engaged is a way of addressing concerns and realizing the power that we hold when we channel our energy and voices into making positive changes."
Text Lynette Nylander
Last September, Rowan Blanchard found herself at her first New York Fashion Week as the star of Kenzo's latest fashion film. Even though she was sharing the screen with Natasha Lyonne and Kim Gordon, Rowan still managed to steal the show. It's something we've come to expect from the young actor, a natural on the screen, full of charm and humor. She's been acting since she was five, and has spent the past three years as the star of the hit Disney show Girl Meets World. Next up is a starring role in the new Ava Duvernay film, A Wrinkle In Time. "Growing up feels as normal as it can, I guess," she states, of coming-of-age with the whole world watching. But as Rowan's grown up, she's also realized the importance of using her platform to speak up. She's one of the most well respected activists of her generation — using her position to speak honestly and openly to millions of loyal followers about feminism, sexism, and politics. She's educating and inspiring in equal measure. She's currently railing against President-elect Trump ("We can't normalize this!" she states), and spent last week on the streets protesting his election. "Because of working on the Disney network, I get doubted a lot," she says, of being judged for being young. "There are a lot of people who are like, 'You're 15, you don't know what you're talking about.' But speaking out is also about trying to figure these things out for myself. I'm working it out as I go. I never want to be like, 'Don't worry, I have all the answers to this,' because I don't."
Text Felix Petty
Halston Sage is one of those girls who are unfathomably brilliant at everything. She was editor of her high school newspaper, a student council representative, equestrian team rider, and school ambassador. On top of that, she's also a highly talented young actress. Growing up in Los Angeles, a career in the entertainment industry is perhaps inevitable; but for the 23-year-old, it's more a case of nature than nurture. Her desire to tell stories is an intrinsic part of who she is. "When I was little, I would always make up a show to put on at the dinner table to make my family laugh," she recalls. She made her acting debut on the American sitcom, Victorious, while her silver screen debut came with a small role in Sofia Coppola's Bling Ring. Then came Paper Towns, an adaptation of John Green's coming-of-age novel, starring Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff. Cast in the role of Lacey Pemberton, the beautiful best friend and one of the most popular girls in school, Halston was able to breathe life into the stereotypical mean girl role, adding a nuanced, human, and compassionate element to the character. "I think it's very interesting to look at life from someone else's perspective," she muses, "to put yourself in that person's circumstance it helps you to appreciate and relate more to other people in your life."
Text Tish Weinstock
The force is strong with Billie; the daughter of legend Carrie Fisher and Hollywood agent Bryan Lourd, the 24-year-old has already proven herself to be a talented actor with a lead role in Fox's horror series Scream Queens. Although initially discouraged from pursuing such a career by her parents, early plans to become a neurosurgeon were quickly forgotten as the desire to act set in. She has applied the resulting passion to a role in the forthcoming Billionaire Boys Club. Filmed in New Orleans, she stars alongside her Scream Queens co-star Emma Roberts, Taron Egerton, and Ansel Elgort, in what she promises will be a "a fast-paced party of a movie." Also just wrapped is Star Wars: Episode VIII, which, following her brief appearance in The Force Awakens, will see her reprise the role of Lieutenant Connix for a whole lot more screen time. Things seem to be falling into place quite nicely, but she notes that there is a downside to having a famous family. "I feel like I have to work twice as hard to prove to people I deserve what I have." Keeping her chin up, she recalls the good advice her mother gave her back in fourth grade. "I got in trouble and was sent home. My mom came to pick me up and pulled over and asked, "do you want to be an asshole when you grow up?' That definitely stuck with me." Thank the Lourd for mothers!
Text Frankie Dunn
Photography Gia Coppola
Styling Heathermary Jackson
Hair Jamal Hammadi at Art Department
Make-up Tracy Alfajora at Jed Root
Photography assistance Nicole Netzah
Styling assistance Jordyn Payne, Quan Nguyen
Models Yara Shahidi. Billie Lorde. Rowan Blanchard. Halston Sage.