Reflection on the past year reveals that 2014 has been momentous for women everywhere. Emma Watson, a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, delivered an influential speech about feminism and launched HeForShe to fundamentally shift gender equality worldwide. Sarah Koenig, Dana Chivvis, and Julie Snyder produced the most popular podcast in history. Meanwhile, 13-year-old Mo’Ne Davis became a phenomenon after her Little League success and was granted recognition as Sports Illustrated Kids’ SportKid of the Year.
In a single year, the powerful and remarkable Shonda Rhimes owned ABC’s Thursday nights. Taylor Swift demonstrated her limitless potential by becoming the first female to top herself on the US singles chart. Maryam Mirzakhani achieved the incredible feat of being the inaugural woman to win the Fields Medal while Malala Yousafzai made history by becoming the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient ever!
This past year has been an impressive one for women, but who should we look out for in the New Year? Here’s a list of 15 female trailblazers from different industries that are sure to take 2015 by storm when the ball drops. Keep your eyes peeled and get ready to be inspired!
1. Bethany Mota
As 2014 drew to a close, it became evident that the most sought-after fashion designer wasn’t an already established name or couture house. Instead, it was the nineteen-year-old YouTube sensation Bethany Mota – who had not only released multiple collections with Aeropostale but also competed on Dancing With The Stars during this time! Returning to YouTube and developing an all-new collection, the future looks ever brighter for this intensely prosperous teenager. What wonders does 2015 hold? We can only wait and see!
2. Michelle Tan
Adweek certainly acknowledged that Joanna Coles’ role as the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan was a monumental success this past year, yet it is the recently chosen editor-in-chief of Seventeen that has caught our attention. Coles attests to Tan being a “standout talent” and it’s certain that we are all intrigued to see what she accomplishes as the director of America’s biggest teen magazine.
3. Lauren Graham
We are thrilled to have Lauren Graham, the beloved mother from Gilmore Girls, making her return to our television screens in a new show called Kate On Later. Not only is she starring in it but also co-writing alongside Liz Tuccillo of He’s Just Not That Into You fame. We can rest assured that this delightful project will be taken care of with finesse by executive producer Ellen DeGeneres!
4. Anna Kendrick
Starting off the year in style, Kendrick will be playing Cinderella in the movie musical Into The Woods. On top of that, she has a slew of other projects lined up for this coming year such as Pitch Perfect 2 and The Last Five Years – it’s clear why 2015 is her time to shine! Keep an eye out and your ears open for her amazing performances throughout the next 12 months.
5. Limor Fried
When we first became aware of Limor Fried, she was featured as a mentor on Google’s Made With Code project. This campaign is geared towards inspiring more girls to take up coding and technology-related activities. Later during the year, Fried earned the coveted title of one of Glamour magazine’s 35 Women Under 35 Who are Transforming the Tech Industry. Her business, Adafruit sells hardware kits so that anybody can design and build their own product with ease!
6. Jessica Williams
As we all gear up to celebrate the arrival of 2015, Jessica Williams is delighted to be ushering in the new year as WIRED magazine’s January cover star and guest anchor. Raise a glass and let’s toast her success! Last year, The Daily Show correspondent fearlessly addressed topics of race, privilege, and harassment without fail. As we look ahead to the coming months, we anticipate that she’ll remain as witty and refined as ever!
7. Reshma Saujani
Reshma Saujani is the leader and CEO of Girls Who Code, an organization devoted to equipping young women with the coding skills they require for success in today’s digital world. With Girls Who Code, girls are inspired and prepared to embrace this technology-driven age. Recently, Girls Who Code made an incredible announcement: their summer immersion program is projected to expand from 19 sessions to a staggering 60 in 2015!
8. Elizabeth Warren
This year, we’ll be watching with anticipation to see what female political figures make their way onto the ballot for the upcoming presidential election. Although it remains uncertain whether Senator Warren will run or not; The Washington Post calls her the “wild card in the 2016 race.” Nevertheless, she will be devoting her energy to serving as part of Senator Harry Reid’s leadership team.
9. Gina Rodriguez
Jane the Virgin, in which actress Gina Rodriguez portrays the titular character, recently earned The CW its first Golden Globe nomination – and Gina herself was nominated for Best Actress! This is a remarkable feat that speaks to her talent and skill. As Vanity Fair lauds, she portrays one of the few Latina protagonists featured across all media platforms. With a possible Golden Globe accolade to start off 2021, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for this superstar actress!
10. Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl, the hit film based on Flynn’s gripping novel, made her well-known across the globe. However, 2015 may just be the year that launches Flynn into superstardom! Get ready to be irresistibly swept away back into the genius of Flynn’s universe as Dark Places is being crafted into a motion picture due out in 2015 and Sharp Objects is soon to become an enthralling TV drama. We can’t wait to find out when we’ll get engulfed by her captivating stories once more!
11. Angela Merkel
In the eyes of The New Yorker, she stands as one of the most influential women in modern history. Angela Merkel – Chancellor of Germany and the first female to assume this role within Europe – has remained an elected EU head for over a decade now, proving her strength and tenacity with every passing day. As the leader of one of Europe’s most economically powerful countries, she is sure to be a critical figure as we navigate through geopolitical events such as those involving ISIS, Russia and Ukraine in 2021.
12. Karlie Kloss
Karlie Kloss is more than just a supermodel, philanthropist, and one of Taylor Swift’s new best friends – she can now count coding as an additional accomplishment! This STEM-loving model has been showcasing her love for drones through Instagram, and recently collaborated with Code.org to hold the Hour of Code this December! So what brilliant projects can we expect from her in 2015?
13. Ingrid Nilsen
This year has been an incredibly successful one for Ingrid Nilsen. Not only was she a judge on Project Runway: Threads, but her popularity graced the pages of Seventeen magazine and even landed her as CoverGirl’s “Glambassador.” With over three million YouTube subscribers and counting, it’s evident that Nilsen is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after fashion and beauty vloggers around!
14. Emma Cline
After receiving The Paris Review’s 2014 Plimpton Prize in March this year, Cline – a 25-year-old writer – sealed an impressive three-book deal with Random House for $2 million. Her work is already set to be published; her first novel, titled ‘The Girls’, will soon enough have the literary world firmly in her grasp!
15. Elizabeth Plank
Elizabeth Plank, the senior editor at Mic and passionate activist, has made waves in the past year by starting viral campaigns such as #AllMenCan and #WithoutTheWageGapIWould. Additionally, she is a renowned journalist who always dives into complex topics such as sexual assault, race issues, and feminism. We eagerly anticipate hearing her perspective for 2015, as the dialogue about these issues remains ongoing and controversial.
Photos: Ian Gavan, Astrid Stawiarz, Jonathan Leibson, Rachel Murray / Getty Images