Voices of the Year (VOTY) is BlogHer’s annual celebration of women doing culture-shifting work for the greater good. This year, we’ve expanded this initiative into the VOTY 100, a list of changemakers across 10 categories: Wellness Champions, Small Business Owners, Creators, Eco Impact Warriors, Next Gen Creatives, Biz Experts, Innovators, Social Impact Leaders, Storytellers, and Community Builders.
The future looks bright for Generation Z stars who continue to shape trends and champion causes in the most unique and entertaining ways.
Marsai Martin, Artist, Executive & Producer
What is your proudest moment of the past year?
Surviving the pandemic, with two completed feature films done mostly in my closet, and with my mental health intact.
When you’re in a rut, how do you get inspired?
Music is my therapy, taking the pain from all my anatomy. Marvin Gaye said it best. I can always bounce back from any low-energy days by listening to my favorite playlist.
What is something you wish you knew at the start of your career?
How to read, because I was only 5—but no seriously, at the beginning of my career, I was fearless. I didn’t know any better, because I was so young. I honestly wish I could have carried the amount of fearlessness that I had then into the future with me. That’s a remix on the question, but it’s honest.
Amanda Gorman, Poet & Author
Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, as well as an award-winning writer and cum laude graduate of Harvard University. The Los Angeles native’s incredible body of work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora. Amanda has written for The New York Times and has three books forthcoming with Penguin Random House. We’re honored to celebrate Amanda, whose moving words at President Biden’s inauguration early this year more than set the stage for the next four years with a message of hope, and a call to action for change and healing.
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Actress
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan kept us laughing (and sometimes crying) throughout every episode of Netflix’s hit series Never Have I Ever, created by Mindy Kaling. The actress and creator continues to make waves on the Internet for her unwavering positivity and desire to inspire the next generation of women, calling on her peers to celebrate their quirks and lead with fierce compassion.
Autumn Peltier, Clean Water Activist
Autumn is an Anishinaabe Indigenous clean water activist, who at only thirteen, traveled all the way to the United Nations Assembly to advocate against the pollution of water sources in First Nation communities. This courageous act earned her the title of Chief Water Protector for the Anishinabek, and she continues to advocate for access to clean water for the Indigenous community and Indigenous Peoples around the world.
Emma Chamberlain, Content Creator & Entrepreneur
Emma Chamberlain is a multi-hyphenate Internet sensation. At just twenty years old, she’s amassed a social following of more than 30 million people across TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram and holds over one billion views on her YouTube channel alone. She’s a podcaster, a model, vlogger, and the founder of her own namesake coffee brand, Chamberlain Coffee. Through her hilarious videos and self-deprecating sense of humor, she opens up about her personal struggles with mental health, anxiety, and creator burnout. Emma is undoubtedly a part of the new era of content creators that demands taking off the rose-colored glasses and sharing your life as is.
Ashlyn So, Fashion Designer & Activist
Ashlyn So is only thirteen, but her impact on the fashion industry and the world at large goes well beyond her years. Her avant-garde designs have already been featured at Fashion Week, and she recently organized the #StandForAsians rally, an event coordinated to spread public awareness about the rising violent crimes committed against Asian Americans throughout the Bay Area and beyond.
Barbie Ferreira, Model & Actress
Barbie Ferreira is a model and actress utilizing her platform to champion causes like body neutrality and a more inclusive media landscape. Barbie’s unflinching portrayal of Kat on Euphoria has also won her thousands of doting fans, brand deals, and beyond. She is undoubtedly a marker of a new era in Hollywood, one that prioritizes representation and relatability.
Chloe & Halle, Singer-Songwriters and Actresses
Chloe x Halle are no longer the tweenage YouTubers that stole our (and Beyoncé ’s) hearts with their viral rendition of “Pretty Hurts” in 2013. Today, this sister act is all grown up, and continues to top charts as they transition from content creators to Hollywood stars who sing, produce and act.
Lexi Underwood, Actress, Singer, Filmmaker & Activist
(and former BlogHer speaker)
In 2018, the former BlogHer speaker founded her production company, Ultimate Dreamer Productions, and shortly thereafter had her directorial debut through the company’s inaugural docu-short, “We the Voices of Gen-Z.” Lexi is committed to using her platform to give back and raise awareness on issues that impact girls and youth, both locally and globally.
Haley Pham, Influencer
(and former BlogHer speaker)
Haley Pham’s influence cannot be understated. The twenty-one-year-old YouTube star and former BlogHer speaker embodies what it means to be a vlogger of today, and her gigantic fan-base (aka, the Phamily) of over 2 million just can’t get enough of her lifestyle content or merch brand Girlypop.
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