Hollywood is full of incredible actresses in their 20s. While the old guard has been there and done that, this new generation of stars is taking the movie world by storm. These actresses are talented thespians who are easy on the eye and are changing the game. They come from diverse backgrounds from all corners of the globe and are dazzling audiences with roles in some of the biggest films on the planet.
Some of these actresses have been acting since they were kids while others have only recently dipped their toes into the acting pool. The likes of Elle Fanning, Hailee Steinfeld, Zoey Deutch, Zendaya, and Florence Pugh are already household names leading the charge.
To celebrate these amazing women and make sure you are up to date with the next big thing, we’ve compiled a list of the most famous actress in their 20s who are out there getting it done.
28 Famous Actresses in Their 20s
1. Anya Taylor-Joy (26)
Born in America but raised in Argentina and the United Kingdom, Anya Taylor-Joy has quickly made a name for herself in Hollywood circles. After several small television appearances, the talented actress was cast in Robert Eggers’ The Witch. After this everything changed for the now 26-year-old. Although not a box office smash, the film was well-received, especially Taylor-Joy’s performance, and she soon found herself starring in M. Night Shyamalan’s Split and Glass.
It was her role as Beth Harmon in Netflix’s chess drama Queen’s Gambit that really broke her into the mainstream. Since then she’s had a recurring role in the final two seasons of Peaky Blinders and appeared in movies Last Night in Soho, New Mutants, and The Northman. Taylor-Joy is a true talent sure to be on our screens for many years to come.
2. Dakota Fanning (28)
The elder of the Fanning sisters is a wonderful performer who got her start as a child actress. She popped up in several TV shows before breaking through in the Sean Penn starring I Am Sam. Since then she has never looked back and become one of Hollywood’s top actresses in their 20s.
Her filmography is stacked, with some of her most prominent roles coming in the movies Man on Fire, War of the Worlds, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and The Twilight Saga. Fanning is another actress who is not afraid to pick an unusual role or star in a film that doesn’t have a budget in the hundreds of millions.
3. Zendaya (25)
The paparazzi love Zendaya. The actress, singer, and occasional model seems to be everywhere these days. If she isn’t gracing the covers of the big fashion magazines or appearing on popular talk shows, she’s ever-present on our screens in blockbuster summer movies such as Spider-Man: No Way Home and Dune, or on her hit television series Euphoria.
Getting her start on the Disney series Shake It Up in 2010, Zendaya released her first album in 2013 before beginning to concentrate on her acting career. While she has only appeared in ten films, Zendaya is one to watch in the coming years.
4. Florence Pugh (26)
English starlet Florence Pugh has only been acting for eight years but is already making her mark. Appearing in several semi-big films shot in the UK, Pugh’s big break came about when she was cast as Saraya “Paige” Knight in Fighting With My Family. The movie, based on the life of former WWE wrestler Paige, was somewhat of a sleeper hit and opened up American audiences to Pugh.
She followed this up with the one-two punch of horror Midsommar and coming-of-age drama Little Women. This led to her nabbing the role of Yelena Belova/Black Widow in the movie Black Widow, as well as the Marvel series Hawkeye. It’s safe to say her career is on an upward trajectory now, as once you are in a Marvel film you are set.
5. Hailee Steinfeld (25)
American actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld has been in the entertainment industry for over 15 years. In that time she has appeared in more than 25 movies, nearly ten TV shows, and released two albums.
While her breakout role was in the Cohen Brothers remake of True Grit, her best roles have come over the past couple of years. The Edge of Seventeen and Bumblebee did well at the box office, while on the small screen she excelled in Hawkeye and Arcane.
Although her music career hasn’t had as a big impact, Steinfeld still has many fans and has toured with the likes of Katy Perry, Niall Horan, and Charlie Puth.
6. Saoirse Ronan (28)
Saoirse Ronan has been nominated for four Academy Awards and five British Film Academy Awards before hitting 30, which is an impressive effort. Making her acting debut in the Irish medical drama series The Clinic, Ronan has steadily built up an impressive filmography that covers all types of genres.
She’s played a teenage assassin in the action flick Hanna, an Irish immigrant in the 50s set period drama Brooklyn, an apprentice baker in Wes Anderson’s comedy-drama The Great Budapest Hotel, and a high school student in coming of age drama Lady Bird. Extremely talented and already possessed with a stacked resume, Ronan is clearly one of the best actresses in their 20s.
7. Joey King (22)
Joey King can thank The Kissing Booth for putting her on the radar of moviegoers. The Netflix film and its two sequels have done big business and helped push King into the limelight. Before the romantic trilogy put her on the map, King had small roles in several hits, including Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Dark Knight Rises, The Conjuring, and Whitehouse Down. She is also in the first season of Fargo.
The American actress hails from Los Angeles and has been working steadily for over 15 years. If you need convincing of her talent, just give The Act a watch. King was nominated for both a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for her role as Gypsy Blanchard in the crime drama hit.
8. Yara Shahidi (22)
Audiences have witnessed Yara Shahidi grow up in real-time on their screens in the long-running sitcom Black-ish and its spin-off series Grown-ish. The 22-year-old has been on our screens since the age of seven, mainly featuring in live-action and animated TV series. A graduate of Harvard University, Shahidi has also launched her own production company with her mother as she continues to excel in the world of entertainment. Fun fact: her cousin is hip-hop star Nas.
9. Naomi Scott (29)
Being able to act and sing appears to be the norm with the new generation of actresses taking over Hollywood. Naomi Scott is another who shines at both. Getting her start on UK series Life Bites in 2008, Scott has split her time between movies, TV, and music over the past decade. She’s released three EPs and started in big-budget action flick Power Rangers, the Charlie’s Angels reboot, and Guy Ritchie’s live-action remake of Aladdin.
10. Sophie Turner (26)
Game of Thrones helped boost the profile of many actors and actresses. One such cast member to take advantage of the exposure is Sophie Turner. The Brit made her acting debut as Sansa Stark and has fast established herself as one of the top young actresses in her 20s. She has appeared in the erotic thriller Josie, the true-crime series The Staircase, and as Jean Grey in the X-Men films X-Men: Apocolypse and Dark Phoenix.
Although Turner’s output hasn’t been great over the past few years since marrying Joe Jonas and giving birth, she is sure to be on our screens again in the near future.
11. Kathryn Newton (25)
Kathryn Newton’s first role was as a five-year-old in the American soap opera All My Children. Five years later she starred in Gary Unmarried and her career in the entertainment industry officially took off.
Newton has been in a wide range of movies and TV series since then. Some of her most notable performances have come in the movies Paranormal Activity 4, Lady Bird, and Freaky, and TV shows Supernatural, The Society, and Big Little Lies.
A versatile actress who can play everything from a leading lady to a scene-stealing supporting role, Newton has it all.
12. Madison Lintz (23)
While not as recognizable as many on this list, Madison Lintz is certainly one to look out for in the coming years. While she has only starred in three movies, it’s the small screen where Lintz has been putting in the work. Getting her start on The Walking Dead, Lintz then spent six years working on hit American police drama Bosch. She’s also in the recent spin-off Bosch: Legacy.
While her filmography is still rather small, Lintz has shown that her acting chops are the real deal. Hopefully, it won’t be long until she features in a blockbuster movie and gets the plaudits she deserves.
13. Jessica Sula (28)
The only Welsh actress on this list got her start as Grace Blood in the third iteration of UK teen drama Skins. She’s since popped up in several other TV shows since, including Recovery Road, Scream: Resurrection, and Panic, while also featuring in M. Night Shyamalan’s Split alongside Anna Taylor-Joy and James McAvoy. Sula is another actress who might not have been in a lot so far but is destined for a successful career in the entertainment world.
14. Chloe Grace Moretz (25)
It feels like Chloe Grace Moretz has been on our screens for decades. The 25-year-old got her start as a child actress, starring in several TV shows (My Name Is Earl, Desperate Housewives, Dirty Sexy Money) along with horror flick The Amityville Horror and terrible comedy Big Mama’s House 2 (you gotta start somewhere right?).
Mortez has appeared sporadically on television since then, but it’s in films where she has made an impact. Some of her best performances have come in romantic drama 500 Days of Summer, comic book adaptation Kick-Ass, horror remake Carrie, and post-apocalyptic thriller Mother, Android. Always choosing to push herself and take on interesting roles, Moretz has one of the most diverse filmographies on this list.
15. Letitia Michelle Wright (28)
While her controversial stance on the COVID-19 vaccine has cast a shadow over Letitia Michelle Wright, there is no denying her talent. The Guyanese-born Brit is slowly becoming one of the top acting talents in the world. Her role as Shuri in Black Panther exposed her to many and she followed this up with great parts in Player Ready One, Guava Island, and Death on the Nile.
She has won several awards, including a BAFTA for the Rising Star Award in 2019, and will next be seen in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
16. Zoey Deutch (28)
The daughter of famous director Howard Deutch and actress Lea Thompson, it’s no surprise Zoey Deutch is a ready-made star. Getting her start on the Disney Channel comedy series The Suite Life on Deck, it wasn’t long before Deutch found herself cast in Hollywood movies.
Vampire Academy, Dirty Grandpa, and The Disaster Artist might not be the greatest films, but Deutch is fantastic in all three. Her best showing might be in the 2022 flick The Outfit, a mob-related movie that takes place in a tailor’s shop in 50s-era Chicago. A tremendous talent who has a long career ahead of her, Deutch is another fantastic actress in her 20s.
17. Maya Hawke (23)
Imagine having Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman as your parents? The acting talent running through your veins would be off the charts. Thankfully the acting bug bit the star’s daughter Maya Hawke, who is carving a nice niche in Hollywood. The 23-year-old did some modeling (appearing on the cover of Vogue like her mother) before entering the acting world.
Hawke has only appeared in a few movies and television series, with the standouts being Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Fear Street Part One: 1994, and Stranger Things alongside Millie Bobby Brown, another up-and-coming actress. Not only is she a terrific actress, but Hawke can also sing and has released two albums.
18. Elle Fanning (24)
The younger sister of Dakota made her film debut in I Am Sam portraying a younger version of her sibling. Since then Elle Fanning has racked up the credits and become a well-known name in the industry. While she has starred in a couple of big-budget flicks, such as Stephen Spielberg and J. J. Abrams’s Super 8 and the Matt Damon starring We Bought a Zoo, Fanning prefers to work on independent projects or for auteur directors.
19. Selena Gomez (29)
Selena Gomez has a career many in the industry would be jealous of, and rightly so. Getting her start on Barney & Friends and the Disney series Wizards of Waverly Place, Gomez showed up in numerous kid’s movies before getting into music. She’s released three albums and toured the world multiple times, all the while still making TV series and showing up in the odd movie here and there.
Recently she has been focusing on her acting, particularly on the small screen. Her cooking series Selena + Chef has been going great guns while comedy-mystery Only Murders in the Building with Steve Martin and Martin Short has received rave reviews.
20. Ariel Winter (24)
Modern Family helped a slew of actors and actresses with their careers. Ariel Winter is one of the cast members who benefited from being on the long-running sitcom. Although Winter had starred in some great movies and television series before Modern Family, there is no doubting the comedy elevated her status.
During the filming of the show, Winter did a lot of voice work for animated features. Since Modern Family ended in 2020, Winter has only appeared in the horror video game The Quarry. She seems happy to sit back and enjoy her millions while she waits for the right role, which is understandable.
21. Naomi Ackie (29)
Getting her start on stage at the National Theatre in Success, Naomi Ackie broke through after her role as Anna in the 2016 British adaptation of Lady Macbeth. Then came her main role in The End of the F***ing World (in which she received a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress in 2020), a part in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and another lead part in Master of None season three.
Soon to be seen in the biographical music drama I Wanna Dance with Somebody, based on the life of Whitney Houston, the future looks bright for Ackie.
22. Maisie Williams (25)
Another Game of Thrones alumni, Maisie Williams has had an interesting career since the fantasy epic finished. She has acted in several movies (New Mutants being the most well-known) and TV shows while also embarking on a career as an Internet entrepreneur. She created the social media app Daisie and is the Creative Strategist for the platform Contact.
Hopefully, these projects don’t take up too much time as Williams is a sensational actress we need to see more of.
23. Kiersey Clemons (28)
Having a break-out moment in the 2015 cult flick Dope, Kiersey Clemons has established themselves as one to watch. The American actress has appeared on several well-known TV shows (CSI: Crime Scene Investigations, New Girl, and BoJack Horseman) but is really making moves in the world of movies.
Along with Dope, Clemons has started in Bad Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, the Flatliners remake, horror Antebellum, and Zach Snyder’s Justice League as Iris West. They will next be seen in the feature-length Flash movie.
24. Sydney Sweeney (24)
Blonde bombshell Sydney Sweeney hit the jackpot when cast in the role of Cassie Howard on HBO hit Euphoria. Not only is the show one of the most-watched in the Network’s history, but Sweeney is easily one of the best things about it. Her character appears on the verge of a mental breakdown every episode and you never quite know what she will do.
Before Euphoria, the trained MMA fighter had a long list of credits playing small roles in multiple movies and television series. While Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is her biggest film role to date, she has popped up in some great TV shows, including The Handmaid’s Tale, Grey’s Anatomy, The White Lotus, and Pretty Little Liars. An exceptional talent who will go far.
25. Isabela Merced (20)
The real-life version of Dora the Explorer is just 20 years old but has already impressed with the work she has done. Isabela Merced is an American actress known for starring in 100 Things to Do Before High School and voicing Dora the Explorer across 40 episodes during its two-season run.
The past five years have seen Merced crop up in the full-length live-action Dora the Explorer film, action film Sicario: Day of the Soldado, and the 2022 remake of Father of the Bride. Merced also made an appearance in the Canadian version of The Amazing Race for some reason.
26. Thomasin McKenzie (21)
Kiwi actress Thomasin McKenzie had a small cameo in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies before receiving rave reviews for her performance in the 2018 drama Leave No Trace. Roles in Netflix’s historical drama The King alongside Timothée Chalamet and a starring role in fellow New Zealander Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit solidified McKenzie’s star qualities.
Her last three movies – Old, Last Night in Soho, and The Power of the Dog – have all been big releases and are great showcases of McKenzie’s talent as an actress.
27. Lili Reinhart (25)
Teen drama Riverdale has been a major career boost for several actors and actresses, including Lili Reinhart. She plays Betty Cooper on the CW series that is set to release its final season in 2023.
Reinhart moved to Los Angeles at 18 to pursue her dream of becoming a movie star but almost bailed after five months. Luckily she stuck around, securing small roles in a bunch of projects until landing one of the leads in Riverdale. On the film front, her biggest role to date is in Hustlers alongside Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, and Cardi B.
28. Eliza Scanlen (23)
Eliza Scanlen is a wonderful performer hailing from Australia. After getting her first taste of acting on soap Home and Away, it wasn’t long until America came calling, with Scanlen cast in the HBO series Sharp Objects alongside Amy Adams. Aussie coming-of-age drama Babyteeth followed, leading to a role in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women adaption and M. Night Shyamalan’s Old.
Scanlen’s most recent role is as Eleanor Roosevelt in the Showtime series The First Lady.
- 1 28 Famous Actresses in Their 20s
- 2 1. Anya Taylor-Joy (26)
- 3 2. Dakota Fanning (28)
- 4 3. Zendaya (25)
- 5 4. Florence Pugh (26)
- 6 5. Hailee Steinfeld (25)
- 7 6. Saoirse Ronan (28)
- 8 7. Joey King (22)
- 9 8. Yara Shahidi (22)
- 10 9. Naomi Scott (29)
- 11 10. Sophie Turner (26)
- 12 11. Kathryn Newton (25)
- 13 12. Madison Lintz (23)
- 14 13. Jessica Sula (28)
- 15 14. Chloe Grace Moretz (25)
- 16 15. Letitia Michelle Wright (28)
- 17 16. Zoey Deutch (28)
- 18 17. Maya Hawke (23)
- 19 18. Elle Fanning (24)
- 20 19. Selena Gomez (29)
- 21 20. Ariel Winter (24)
- 22 21. Naomi Ackie (29)
- 23 22. Maisie Williams (25)
- 24 23. Kiersey Clemons (28)
- 25 24. Sydney Sweeney (24)
- 26 25. Isabela Merced (20)
- 27 26. Thomasin McKenzie (21)
- 28 27. Lili Reinhart (25)
- 29 28. Eliza Scanlen (23)