Whether earnestly or as the result of some truly next-level trolling, last week's Time magazine has dubbed its cover subject, millennials, "entitled," "lazy," and "narcissistic." And, as with any generation of teens and twenty-somethings, some of us most certainly are terrible.
But we're also a generation of strivers, struggling (and succeeding) through an economic recession, ridiculous and petty politics, war, and an environment reeling as a result of the generations that came before us.
We are, for the most part, cleaning up the mess left by Baby Boomers with the help of Generation Xers. And, you know what? We're doing a good job.
So, in the spirit of celebrating a generation that I'm actually pretty thrilled to be a part of, here are ten millennials who are making big moves in fields like art, technology, fashion, and entertainment. And they're leaving the world a better, funnier, healthier, and more beautiful place than they found it.
Jennie Lamere, a 17-year-old high school student from New Hampshire, was the only girl to present a completed project at the TVnext Hack event in Boston. That project? Twivo, a program that allows Twitter users to block spoilers of their favorite shows from popping up on their streams. It took her simply 10 hours and 150 lines of code to complete. Lamere won in both the "best use of sync-to-broadcast" category as well as the overall "best in show." Not too bad for a lazy millennial. *Selfie snap.*
You might know Panmela Castro as "Anarkia," the name she uses while creating her lush, evocative, jarring, and often socio-political graffiti murals in her native Brazil. Originally from the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, 26-year-old Castro is president of Nami Network, a group that works to promote women's rights through graffiti-art. She won the 2010 Vital Voices Global Leadership Award for Human Rights. You can read more about her and her art here and here.
Nathan Sigworth is not yet 30, but he's already CEO and co-founder of PharmaSecure, a company that helps drug companies combat counterfeit medicine in the developing world, as well as help create dialogue between patients and their healthcare providers. His hard work and dedication landed him on Inc.'s "30 Under 30" list. The company also does more than help patients around the world verify that their medicine is legitimate and safe to use, it also dispenses health tips and free advice on the phone from healthcare professionals.
You've definitely heard of Tavi, right? She emerged onto the fashion scene at the tender age of 11 by offering her funny, insightful take on fashion through her personal blog, The Style Rookie, and eventually founded and became editor-in-chief of her own online fashion and culture magazine, Rookie, along with a book version. She also gave a very honest and really quite inspiring TEDxTeen talk about " Not bad for 17.
Jack Andraka is 16. Jack Andraka is the 2012 recipient of the Intel Science Fair grand prize and the Gordon E. Moore Award for developing a new method to detect pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer in their early stages. AT SIXTEEN. Jack Andraka is amazing.
Issa Rae is changing television. I mean, not single-handedly, obviously. After all, there are those who have had to be willing to lend her the platform and resources she needed to take her vision and her talent from the internet to TV (people like Pharrell Williams and Shonda Rhimes), and the talented performers and writers with which the savvy 27-year-old has surrounded herself since her web series, The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl made waves with its honest (and honestly cringe-inducing) look at work, relationships, friendships, and being generally awkward in LA. But at the center of all this is Rae's genuine talent, hard work, and sense of humor. And we can't wait to see how she'll keep making us laugh for years to come.
High school student Jeff Bliss became a viral video sensation after a fellow student surreptitiously filmed him standing up to a teacher who had kicked him out of her class. The 18-year-old -- and former high school dropout -- criticized his world history teacher for handing out packets of worksheets instead of interacting with students. "If you could just get up and teach them," he pleaded, "instead of handing them a freaking packet, yo..." Bliss says he doesn't regret his comments one bit and we admire him for his passion, his conviction, and his confidence. Disruptions aren't purely destructive -- they can also be a creative force, opening the path for new ways of thinking and acting. And Bliss is a prime example of that.
We're not exactly sure if or when Nicole Cardoza gets any sleep. When she's not busy with her full-time job as a mobile strategist at interactive ad agency Rosetta, she devotes her time and energy to Yoga Foster, a non-profit she founded that brings free kids' yoga to schools and community centers across NYC. As if that didn't keep her busy enough, she also does freelance web design, branding and web development for other non-profits and startups. Adds Cardoza, "I'm 23, live in Williamsburg, can't live without coffee, and looking forward to cooking more, getting more tattoos and teaching kids yoga abroad this summer."
|Cristy C. Road|
Cristy C. Road, according to her bio, is a 30-year-old, Cuban-American comic book artist whose work blends "social principles, sexual deviance, mental inadequacies, and social justice" and "thrives to testify the beauty of the imperfect." We're there. Her work often references fun, complicated, gross, terrifying, and inspiring things like her adolescence in Miami, punk, gender, sex, class, depression, and drugs without ever falling into anything resembling cliché. Her work always feels raw and real. And, yes, beautifully imperfect.
There is nothing as quintessentially millennial as Anonymous. The "hacktivist" (blegh, that term) group originated in 2003 and by 2012 was dubbed one of the "100 most influential people" in the world by none other than Time magazine. Although they have been met with their fair share of criticism, the group's supporters point out that they're basically the internet's equivalent of Robin Hood. This became all too evident when Anonymous cell Knight Sec released video related to the Steubenville rape case. "You can hide no longer," the group wrote. "You have attracted the attention of the hive. We will not sit idly by and watch a group of young men who turn to rape as a game or sport get the pass because of athletic ability and small town luck. You now have the world looking directly at you."