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Rising Stars Whose Careers Will Take Off In 2021

Updated January 20, 2021 974 votes 90 voters 3.7k views40 items

List RulesVote up the stars you think will have a breakout year in 2021.

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!

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  • 1

    Mckenna Grace

    2006-06-25
    48
    15

    BirthplaceGrapevine, 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.

    Things You Didn't Know About Mckenna Grace#7 of 36 Most Popular Teen Actors And Musicians Of 2021#21 of 30 Who Would Star In An Americanized 'Game Of Thrones'?

  • 2
    42
    18

    BirthplaceToluca Lake, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

    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.

    #206 of 219 The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Oscar (For Acting)#48 of 107 The Best African-American Film Actors#11 of 60 The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40

  • 3

    Daveed Diggs

    1982-01-24
    41
    17

    BirthplaceOakland, 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.

    #234 of 242 The Hottest Men Of 2019, Ranked#4 of 85 The Best Broadway Stars of the 21st Century#25 of 31 Who Is America's Boyfriend In 2021?

  • 4

    Ana de Armas

    1988-04-30
    32
    8

    BirthplaceSanta 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.

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  • 5

    Maitreyi Ramakrishnan

    2001-12-28
    34
    20

    BirthplaceOntario, 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. 

  • 6

    Jodie Comer

    1993-03-11
    18
    5

    BirthplaceLiverpool, 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.

  • 7

    Roman Griffin Davis

    2007-03-05
    24
    12

    BirthplaceLondon, 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.

  • 8

    George MacKay

    1992-03-13
    28
    18

    BirthplaceEngland, London

    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.

  • 9

    Anthony Ramos

    1991-11-01
    21
    12

    BirthplaceBrooklyn, 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.

    #7 of 27 The Best New Male Artists#8 of 10 Who Is The MVP Of The Original Cast Of 'Hamilton'?#10 of 12 Actors Who Bombed The Audition But Still Landed The Part

  • 10

    Eliza Scanlen

    1999-01-06
    20
    11

    BirthplaceSydney, 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.

  • 11

    Odessa Young

    1998-01-11
    17
    11

    BirthplaceSydney, Australia

    Odessa Young broke into the movie business with roles in 2015's Looking for Grace and The Daughter, but most recently she can be seen in the CBS All Access miniseries The Stand as Frannie Goldsmith.

  • 12

    Lashana Lynch

    1987-11-27
    24
    21

    BirthplaceLondon, 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.

  • 13

    Arlo Parks

    2000-08-09
    18
    15

    BirthplaceLondon, England

    The 20-year-old singer-songwriter had a breakthrough year with hit singles "Cola" and "Black Dog". Her debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams, is set for a January 2021 release.

  • 14

    Tiffany Boone

    1987
    14
    10

    BirthplaceBaltimore, USA, Maryland

    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.

  • 15

    Halle Bailey

    2000-03-27
    11
    7

    BirthplaceAtlanta, 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.

  • 16

    Barry Keoghan

    1992-10-18
    8
    4

    BirthplaceDublin, 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.

  • 17

    Jessica Rothe

    1987-05-28
    7
    4

    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.

  • 18

    Oona Laurence

    2002-08-01
    1
    4

    BirthplaceNew 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.

  • 19

    Taylour Paige

    1990-10-05
    7
    4

    BirthplaceSanta 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.

  • 20

    Sasha Lane

    1995-09-29
    7
    4

    BirthplaceHouston, 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+.

  • 21

    Paul Mescal

    1996-02-02
    14
    14

    BirthplaceIreland

    Paul Mescal is the breakout star of the British drama series Normal People, which earned him a Primetime Emmy nomination. He gained heartthrob status in 2020 and will star in Maggie Gyllenhaal's upcoming film The Lost Daughter.

  • 22

    Jonah Hauer-King

    1995-05-30
    0
    2

    BirthplaceLondon, United Kingdom

    Johan Hauer-King has starred in films including The Last Photograph and A Dog's Way Home. But expect his career to blow up when he takes on the role of Prince Eric in Disney's upcoming live action remake of The Little Mermaid.

  • 23

    Jessica Henwick

    1992-08-30
    7
    5

    BirthplaceSurrey, 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.

  • 24
    7
    5

    BirthplaceUSA, California, San Diego

    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.

  • 25

    Micheal Ward

    1995-11-18
    7
    5

    BirthplaceJamaica

    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.