Millennials (Generation Y) are those of us born in the early ‘80s to mid ’90s. We’ve received a bad rap for being known as “Generation Me,” meaning that we are narcissistic attention seekers who have a strong sense of self-entitlement. Our biggest fans know us as being confident and assertive individuals with a strong sense of worth and identity. Others know us as lazy brats who are uncommitted and have poor work ethics… and that’s because we expect too much in life. Who can blame us when we were raised in a society that was constantly teaching us that we’re special? However, for some of us, the millennial stigma has made us not so special after all.
This stigma going against our generation has actually caused employers to become hesitant even when hiring millennials. This simply can’t be a solution considering that we currently make up the world’s largest generation. Rather, if we take a good look at some of the most influential people in the world today, we would see that they’re millennials who are setting trends and changing the world for the better. They are unique, hard-working individuals who have transformed society by advancing technology and expanding the world of art and music. These are our top 15 most successful millennials.
15. Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence (born August 15, 1990) is one actress who can play any movie role and put her own stamp on it, making her the top earning actress in 2016. She has pocketed over 46 million dollars within 12 months, out earning both Melissa McCarthy and Scarlett Johansson. Lawrence is loved by fans of all ages for her most notable role as the brave Hunger Games champion Katniss Everdeen, as well as for her mature roles in Joy and Silver Linings Playbook. She is sought after for her mature charm despite her actual young age of only 26 years old. She is another millennial that proves hard work and signature talent truly pays off.
14. Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber (born March 1, 1994) has made a comeback in recent years. He has always bounced in and out of the media’s love and attention. He’s certainly had his bad moments (for throwing public tantrums and whatnot) but has proven to be one of the most successful and youngest millennials. At 27 million YouTube subscribers, he is the third most followed YouTuber. He also has the second most followed Twitter account with 91 million followers (Katy Perry being #1). Also, his albums never disappoint, proving that he is one millennial who is constantly reinventing himself and staying at the top of his game. You don’t have to be a fan of him personally to have his songs on constant repeat in your mind.
13. Katy Perry
Like Justin Bieber, Katy Perry (born October 25, 1984) has a huge international platform (she is apparently bigger in China than anywhere else in the world). Her Twitter account is live proof of her honorary mention on this list. She is the top most followed person on Twitter with 95.8 million followers. Fans love her energetic music that exudes positive feelings, her exciting shows that never disappoint, and her artistic style that is unique and original. Most importantly, she is one gutsy lady who is never afraid to speak her mind (and her Tweets prove this to be true). She is one millennial leading the way.
12. Michelle Phan
Like Justin Bieber, Michelle Phan (born April 11, 1987) garnered a huge fanbase from YouTube. She started off doing simple makeup tutorials and cosmetic reviews that made every girl feel like they could transform their face into looking like whoever they wanted to look like. Now, she is a top leader in the beauty industry and also the owner and founder of Ipsy, a 500-million-dollar company dedicated to sampling top beauty products. Her 9 million YouTube followers simply love her for her authenticity, as every one of them has seen her without any makeup on. She proves to be a millennial who has literally worked her way to success from the bottom up.
11. Bruno Mars
Known for his swag style and relatable songs (“Billionaire” and “Nothin’ on You”), Bruno Mars (born October 8, 1985) has been ranked #1 on the Forbes 2013 Thirty Under Thirty list. He was also named as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2011. He is known for his critically-acclaimed retro performances that are artistically choreographed with dynamic dancing and always accompanied by a full band. But Bruno Mars isn’t just a millennial that is leading the way through his talent and style, he is also known for his generous philanthropic gifts and activities. He’s a millennial that is certainly setting a golden example for his peers.
10. PewdiePie (Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg)
PewdiePie (born on October 4, 1989) is the #1 most subscribed YouTuber with over 53 million subscribers. If you don’t know who PewdiePie is, he was made popular by dubbing video games, a hobby that has now earned him over 14 billion views. Yes, there are that many gaming fans in the world that enjoy watching someone dub and comment games. He was the first YouTubers to ever reach 10 billion views. He was also named one of Time’s most influential people of 2016. Sure, he may fit the millennial mold being that he is known for gaming, but he’s certainly made a successful living for himself off of it.
9. Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps (born June 30, 1985) is known as the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, with 28 medals in total (23 of them gold) spanning over four Olympic games. At the most recent summer 2016 Olympic games in Rio, it was predicted that Phelps wouldn’t have much success due to him being considered “old” in terms of age for Olympic swimmers. However, he proved the media wrong and earned much public praise and attention. The spotlight wasn’t just on his competitions, but the cameras also obsessed over him as he rested on the sidelines. He is one notable millennial who has led the way and made a world stage for himself by being himself doing what he loves.
8. Mark Zuckerberg
Also known as the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg (born May 14, 1984) has paved the way for millennials founding tech startups. He probably pulled his most millennial-like move when he dropped out of Harvard in his sophomore year to focus on Facebook. But in his case, it was probably the smartest move he could have made, making him now one of the richest people alive. Also going against the millennial stigma, Zuckerberg is also a huge philanthropic activist. He has generously supported many charitable causes including donating $100 million to the Newark Public School System in New Jersey and $25 million dollars to combat the Ebola virus in West Africa.
7. Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba (born April 28, 1981) is a millennial who has done it all from being a leading actress and model to a successful business owner. Alba is famous for her roles in The Fantastic Four, Good Luck Chuck, Entourage, and more. You probably didn’t know that she also owns the multi-million-dollar Honest Company committed to selling non-toxic, chemical-free household products. It’s currently a top brand next to Johnson & Johnson. This is quite the impressive list of accomplishments for a millennial, considering she is also a mother of two. Alba is also known for being a political and charitable activist, a supporter of the Safe Chemicals Act.
6. Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake (born January 31, 1981) is most known for being a singer and trendsetter. Acting and singing was always a part of his life, having started as a Mickey Mouse Club member as a child and then being the youngest singer of the best-selling boy band NSYNC. He is one of the rare members who have been able to break away from his band and lead a successful solo singing career of his own. He is considered to be a top fashion and pop icon, and has landed on Time’s 100 most influential people in the world list twice (2007 and 2013). He’s also been named “The President of Pop” and considered to have as much influence as Michael Jackson.
5. Lady Gaga
Otherwise known as “Mother Monster,” Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986) is another pop icon who has created a name for herself in the music and pop industry. Contrary to the lazy millennial stigma, Lady Gaga is probably one of the hardest working musicians out there today. Not only is she a dedicated performer who throws the most extravagant and unforgettable concerts, but her music is a platform for her huge role in social activism and philanthropic activities. She doesn’t shy away from vocalizing her political beliefs nor from donating to various charities. In 2011, Rolling Stones named her the “Queen of Pop” and she has already created a legacy for herself.
4. Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump (born October 30, 1981) may have been born into wealth and affluence, but she has created her own success as a leading businesswoman. She is recognized as her father’s (President Donald Trump) sounding board and voice of reason because of her non-millennial-like ability to remain level headed in the most stressful situations. Now in the political eye, Ivanka, along with her husband Jared Kushner are of powerful influence on key presidential decisions as well. Although she denies, Ivanka plays a quasi-first lady role in the presidential administration. She has been the spotlight of much media negative attention recently, but continues to prove herself to be a millennial of exemplary class.
Beyonce Knowles-Carter (born September 4, 1981) is a singer, songwriter, and actress who rose to fame from leading a girl band to being an icon of her own. In 2014, Time listed her as one of 100 most influential people in the world, and she was also listed as the highest earning black musician ever. In 2015, she was named the most powerful female in entertainment, a very deserving title. Beyonce’s private and public life are constantly in the media. Her marriage with Jay-Z and life as a mother have garnered much recent attention. She is certainly one of the world’s most successful millennials.
2. Prince William & Kate Middleton
Okay, so this is a two-in-one, but Prince William (born June 21, 1982) and Kate Middleton (born January 9, 1982) are second on our list for most successful millennials. Not only are they a stunningly beautiful pair, but they also have irresistible chemistry and a love story that everyone envies. They are both intelligent, charming, and charitable, and they both wear their royal crowns with grace and dignity. With such a heavy burden on their shoulders, these millennials have taken on their roles quite well. Kate has shown off her class and elegant style, often compared to the late beloved Princess Diana. And Prince William has warmed the hearts of many with his continuous charitable acts, even working to help the homeless.
Racking in five Grammys in total this year, including Album, Song, and Record of the Year, Adele (born May 5, 1988) tops our list for most successful millennial. Her songs will go on to be timeless classics and her signature voice is inimitable, despite being one of the top covered artists on YouTube. Adele is truly a legend, and her fans also love her for her transparent personality that is so genuine and true to self. Also, most notably contrary to the millennial stigma, Adele is incredibly humble as she often directs her spotlight onto others. At the recent Grammy Awards, Adele gave her speech time over to her producer, and then even gave a warm shout out to her predecessor, Beyonce.
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