Rising Stars Whose Careers Will Take Off In 2021

List Rules
Vote up the stars you think will have a breakout year in 2021.
Editor's Note: Voting has been closed.

Who are going to be the biggest celebrities of 2021? As we look ahead to the new year, these actors, singers, and influencers have several big projects lined up. 2020 might have been a bust in terms of movie and album releases, but that means that 2021 will be filled with stars on the rise.

You might not recognize a lot of names on this list, as some aren't quite household names... yet. But you'll be surprised just how many of these actors, musicians, and internet personalities are going to start popping up in your feed soon. Take McKenna Grace, for instance, a 14-year-old actress who is no stranger to the screen, having appeared in Disney Channel's Crash & Bernstein. But she's set to have a star-making turn in Ghostbusters: Afterlife and on the Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale.

This list has new actresses, such as Maitreyi Ramakrishnan of Netflix's Never Have I Ever, as well as popular young actors like George MacKay. Another up-and-coming star on this list is Daveed Diggs. Broadway fans know him best as the role of Thomas Jefferson/Lafayette in Hamilton, but Diggs will enter the mainstream when he portrays the role of Sebastian the crab in the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

Scroll down to find out all the soon-to-be hottest stars of 2021. Vote up your favorites you can't wait to see in the spotlight!

Ranked by
  • Ana de Armas
    • Birthplace: Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba

    She may have been known during 2020 quarantine as Ben Affleck's girlfriend, but she is an accomplished actress in her own right, gaining attention for her work in Knives Out. Her star is on the rise, with upcoming roles in No Time to Die and the Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde.

  • Jodie Comer
    • Birthplace: Liverpool, United Kingdom

    Jodie Comer gained critical acclaim for her role on the hit TV show Killing Eve. Now, she's taking on roles in upcoming movies Free Guy and The Last Duel.

  • Mckenna Grace
    • Birthplace: Grapevine, Texas

    The Crash & Bernstein star is only 14 years old, but she's already scoring high profile movie roles including the coveted lead in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

  • Daveed Diggs
    • Birthplace: Oakland, CA

    Hot off his appearance as Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton on Disney+, Daveed Diggs will appear as Sebastian the Crab in the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

  • John David Washington
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

    John David Washington is the son of Denzel Washington, and it's clear that acting talent runs in the family. Washington has had an impressive career as a football player, but has since transitioned to acting, appearing in BlacKkKlansman and Christopher Nolan's spy film Tenet. He also appears alongside Zendaya in upcoming Netflix film, Malcolm & Marie.

  • Barry Keoghan
    • Birthplace: Dublin, Republic of Ireland

    Barry Keoghan has acted in such films as The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Dunkirk, and was nominated for a BAFTA Rising Star Award. The next year will be huge for Keoghan, with high profile roles in Eternals, The Green Knight, and The Batman.

  • Maitreyi Ramakrishnan

    Maitreyi Ramakrishnan

    • Birthplace: Ontario, Canada

    The 19-year-old actress became an overnight star following her debut performance in Mindy Kaling's Netflix series Never Have I Ever, which has been renewed for a second season. 

  • Roman Griffin Davis

    Roman Griffin Davis

    • Birthplace: London, England

    Roman Griffin Davis had a star-making turn in Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit. He is currently acting in Camille Griffin's upcoming film Silent Night alongside Keira Knightley.

  • Halle Bailey
    • Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

    Halle Bailey is one half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, a musical act she formed with her sister. But Halle will be stepping into her own as she plays the iconic role of Ariel in Disney's live action adaptation of The Little Mermaid.

  • Sasha Lane
    • Birthplace: Houston, TX

    After being discovered on a beach during spring break by director Andrea Arnold, Sasha Lane starred in the critically-acclaimed film American Honey. Since then, she's had a role on the David Fincher series Utopia and in the movie Hellboy. She will have a lead role in the upcoming Loki series for Disney+.

  • Jessica Henwick
    • Birthplace: Surrey, England, UK

    Over the past decade, Jessica Henwick has been accumulating great stage and screen credits. After establishing herself in Game of Thrones and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she will now tackle roles in the highly anticipated Godzilla vs. Kong and The Matrix 4.

  • Micheal Ward
    • Birthplace: Jamaica

    Micheal Ward began acting professionally in 2018 — before that, he worked as a model. In the past few years, he has nabbed roles in The A List, Top Boy, and The Old Guard. Expect to see more work from him in the future.

  • George MacKay
    • Birthplace: London, England, UK

    George MacKay was nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2014. The British actor has big things ahead, including the starring role in Nathalie Biancheri's film Wolf alongside Lily-Rose Depp.

  • Sophia Taylor Ali
    • Birthplace: San Diego, California, United States of America

    Sophia Taylor Ali had a recurring role on Grey's Anatomy for years, but she's bound to become a household name with her lead role in the Prime Video series The Wilds and as Tom Holland's love interest in Uncharted.

  • Oona Laurence
    • Birthplace: New York, NY

    Oona Laurence got her start at a young age playing the title role in Matilda on Broadway. Now, as a teen, she has gotten roles in Lost Girls and A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting.

  • Tiffany Boone
    • Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America

    Tiffany Boone has had a solid acting career over the past decade, but she's set to level up with roles in the Hulu series Little Fires Everywhere and George Clooney's Midnight Sky.

  • Taylour Paige
    • Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, USA

    Originally known for her work on the VH1 series Hit the Floor, Taylour Paige's career is taking off in a big way. Catch her in the critically acclaimed Netflix film Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Zola, and Boogie.

  • Anthony Ramos
    • Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY

    Anthony Ramos recently appeared as the charismatic John Laurens in Hamilton on Disney+, a role which he originated on Broadway. Ramos will star as Usnavi in Lin-Manuel Miranda's next musical-to-film adaption In The Heights.

  • Lashana Lynch
    • Birthplace: London, England

    This classically-trained British actress can be seen as fighter pilot Maria Rambeau in Captain Marvel, but newer audiences will come to know her as Nomi in the upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die.

  • Jessica Rothe

      While horror diehards know her best as Tree Gelbman in the Happy Death Day movies, Jessica Rothe is on her way to becoming a more mainstream actress. In 2020, she began appearing in David Fincher's drama series Utopia and has some exciting projects in the works.

    • Eliza Scanlen
      • Birthplace: Sydney, Australia

      The Australian actor made her film debut in 2019, playing Beth March in Greta Gerwig's Little Women. In 2021, she will appear in M. Night Shyamalan's film Old.

    • Baby Ariel
      • Birthplace: Pembroke Pines, FL

      At only 20, Baby Ariel has over 34.7 million TikTok followers. In the upcoming year, she plans to focus more on music and acting.

    • Talia Ryder

      Talia Ryder


        Talia Ryder made a splash in the indie film Never Rarely Sometimes Always, and now she's hitting the mainstream in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story adaptation.

      • Julien Baker

        Julien Baker

        • Birthplace: Germantown, TN

        This Tennessee-born, soulful singer-songwriter has been gathering indie cred for the past few years. She will reach an even wider audience when her new album, Little Oblivions, releases in 2021.

      • Julia Stone
        • Birthplace: Sydney, Australia

        The sister half of the indie folk duo Angus & Julia Stone also records solo records. Her solo career has been picking up as of late, and her new album Sixty Summers will be released in February 2021 on BMG Records.