Words by Becky Burgum & Olivia Blair, Photographs by Ruth Ossai, Styling by Molly Haylor
If 2020 has taught us anything, it's this: that individuals not only make a difference, they are the difference.
This is the year that a premier league footballer prompted the government to do a monumental U-turn on free school meals. It's the year a Black woman finally took a lead role in a James Bond film. It's the year when writers came together to share awards, and a TV show - Normal People - kept the entire nation hooked, while two unknown actors stole our hearts.
This may have been a year of devastation, but 2020 has also been a year when bold new talent has been able to stand out and soar. Here, The ELLE List, in association with Magnum, presents that talent to you.
The panel that chose The ELLE List
The ELLE List
1. MARCUS RASHFORD, 22, footballer
SADIQ SAYS: ‘Not content with being a fantastic footballer, his intervention led to the government continuing free school meals during summer. Like Marcus, I had them too, so this was close to my heart.’
2. CHLOE WISE, 29, artist
Anyone with Jacquemus’ seal of approval gets ours too. When this Montreal-born, New York-based oil painter worked with the designer on his SS19 campaign, she soon became a fashion favourite.
3. KOFFEE, 20, singer
The Jamaican singer made history when she became the first woman and youngest- ever winner of Best Reggae Album at the 2020 Grammys.
4. LULU WANG, 37, filmmaker
GEMMA SAYS: ‘I loved Wang’s film The Farewell. Sensitively directed by her, with beautiful performances from Zhao Shuzhen and Awkwafina, it explores family, love and loss through the lens of the immigrant experience. I can’t wait to see what she does next.’
5. LEMARA LINDSAY-PRINCE, 31, publisher
CANDICE SAYS: ‘The biggest game changer of all time! She’s doing insanely brilliant things as the commissioning editor at #Merky Books and is a shining example of talent and confidence for queer Black women.’
6. CHRISTOPHER JOHN ROGERS, 26, fashion designer
Rogers has blazed a neon trail through the industry. He’s won the 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award, dressed the likes of Rihanna and made his 2020 Net-A-Porter debut.
7. HOLLY FISCHER, 17, tennis player
The rising British tennis star swapped grass courts for the runway at London Fashion Week, joining Kaia Gerber and a troop of models to open JW Anderson’s AW20 show – she’s one to watch.
8. JODIE TURNER-SMITH, 33, actor & model
She caught our attention in Netflix’s Nightflyers, then acclaimed film Queen & Slim made her an on-screen and red-carpet favourite.
9. RUTH OSSAI, 29, photographer
FARRAH SAYS: ‘Raised between Nigeria and Yorkshire, Ossai started out by taking portraits of her grandmother, and now shoots for Fenty and Nike. She created one of the year’s most iconic covers – Michaela Coel for New York Magazine – and also shot the main portraits for this list.’
10. ELIZABETH HAIGH, 32, chef
Having won a Michelin star as founding head chef at Pidgin, Haigh is now striking out with new Singapore- influenced food project Kaizen House, and has a growing YouTube channel.
11. DAISY EDGAR-JONES, 22, actor
Normal People catapulted Daisy and her block fringe (which rivals co-star Paul Mescal’s silver chain when it come to Twitter followers: @mariannesbangs) into stardom. She landed an agent at age 16, and kicked off her TV career in Cold Feet. This autumn, she returns to our screens in BBC sci-fi drama War of the Worlds.
12. FADHI MOHAMED, 21, model
When this new face isn’t shooting for the cover of The Wall Street Journal, she’s studying maths at Queen Mary University of London. We’re hoping to see and hear a lot more from her.
13. Lashana Lynch, 32, actor
You might recognise Lynch as single mother-cum-fighter pilot Maria Rambeau in Captain Marvel, but when news leaked that the Londoner had been cast as the first Black female ‘OO’ agent in the James Bond franchise, her star status was cemented.
14. RAVEN SMITH, 32, author
This writer and columnist’s memes and commentary on pop culture have given him a viral following on social media, while his debut book Trivial Pursuits was as moving as it was hilarious.
15. JILL KORTLEVE, 26, model
Having made her debut at Alexander McQueen SS19, this model is changing how fashion approaches body image. She’s also walked for Chanel and starred in campaigns for Fenty.
16. HUNTER SCHAFER, 20, model & actor
MUNROE SAYS: ‘She provided the most nuanced, vulnerable and original portrayal of the trans experience as Jules in Euphoria. A true talent.’
17. DR ROSENA ALLIN-KHAN, 43, doctor & MP
GEMMA SAYS: ‘I have such admiration for this woman – she’s been doing 12-hour shifts as a doctor as well as her duties as an MP and has been a member of the Shadow Cabinet since the start of the pandemic.’
18. ANNEMARIE PLAS, 36, activist
SADIQ SAYS: ‘Plas started Clap for Carers – the weekly ritual of giving thanks to our brave NHS staff and key workers. In those early, uncertain stages of the pandemic, it was a highlight of my week’.
19. RUTH MADELEY, 33, actor
SINEAD SAYS: ‘In an era where disabled characters continue to be played by non-disabled people, talented actors like Ruth have never been more important. She should be on screen at all times.’
20. JENNIFER TANG, Theatre director
This award-winning stage director specialises in new writing that fuses theatre with music and opera. Earlier this year, she was named the next Genesis Fellow and associate director at the Young Vic.
21. MONA TOUGAARD, 18, model
Scouted at just 15 in Denmark, she has already walked for Prada, Dior and Versace, and fronted campaigns for Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
22. KENNETH IZE, 29, fashion designer
SINEAD SAYS: ‘Fashion is political: our clothes narrate who we are to the world. Kenneth viscerally understands the relationship between the political and the personal, and leverages his collections to discuss identity, sustainability and Nigerian pride. His work changes the fashion system from the inside.’
23. CELESTE, 26, singer
FARRAH SAYS: ‘She won the BBC’s Sound of 2020 and the Brits Rising Star Award, plus a front-row seat at Gucci, and has been compared to a young Aretha Franklin – she’s the sound to my 2020.’
24. ERIN DOHERTY, 28, actor
Just four years out of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, the Crawley-born actor mesmerised us all with her mischievous and formidable portrayal of Princess Anne in Netflix’s big budget series The Crown.
25. ROSH MAHTANI, 31, jewellery designer
As the recipient of this year’s Queen Elizabeth II Award for Design, Mahtani – who has never had any formal training – cemented her mark on the British fashion industry with her brand Alighieri.
26. EMERALD FENNELL, 34, filmmaker
GEMMA SAYS: ‘An already- accomplished actor as Patsy in Call The Midwife and Camilla in The Crown, and screenwriter on season two of Killing Eve, her directorial debut Promising Young Woman has marked her as a directing talent to watch, too.’
27. JIA TOLENTINO, 31, author
Earning comparisons to Joan Didion for her astute take on contemporary culture, The New Yorker staff writer‘s debut collection of essays, Trick Mirror, is a must-read.
28. TESS McMILLAN, 20, model
This Texan-born model’s star has been on the ascent since her career began. She’s walked for Simone Rocha with Chloë Sevigny and starred in a Rodarte campaign. Next, she’s set her sights on acting.
29. SNOH AALEGRA, 32, singer
MUNROE SAYS: ‘Hers was one of the best gigs I’ve been to in years. I can’t wait for her to be a household name; her work is impeccable. Plus, her Paris Fashion Week debut with Mugler was stunning!’
30. MICHEAL WARD, 24, actor
FARRAH SAYS: ‘From the lead in Top Boy to being cast in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe – it’s impossible not to be mesmerised by him on screen.’
31. THEBE MAGUGU, 27, fashion designer
As one of the first LVMH Prize recipients from Africa, this Johannesburg-based designer has become celebrated for the colours and patterns he creates in his womenswear collections.
32. JESSICA ANDREWS, 27, author
Her semi-autobiographical debut novel Saltwater was the winner of the 2020 Portico Prize in Manchester, which is often billed as the ‘Booker Prize of the North’.
33. KAI-ISAIAH JAMAL, 25, poet
This spoken word poet dismantles stereotypes in their work, has appeared in campaigns for Stella McCartney and is the Institute of Contemporary Arts’ first poet in residence.
34. EMILY ADAMS BODE, 31, fashion designer
As the first female designer to show at New York Men’s Week, Bode has since gone on to clinch the LVMH Prize with her modern workwear silhouettes, which mix quilting with patchwork.
35. AWENG CHUOL, 21, model
FARRAH SAYS: ‘This supermodel is my runway favourite. Aweng is also an advocate for mental health for War Child and the UN – a true inspiration.’
36. PAUL MESCAL, 24, actor
Spring 2020 belonged to Paul Mescal and his silver chain when his role as Connell in Normal People brought the Irish actor Bieber-levels of hysteria.
37. BERNARDINE EVARISTO, 61, author
Evaristo made history last October, when she became the first Black woman to be awarded the Booker Prize, for her eighth book Girl, Woman, Other. Barack Obama is a big fan, and so are we.
38. WERUCHE OPIA, 32, actor
Though her first TV role on The Bill was almost a decade ago – with subsequent parts in in Top Boy and Bad Education – it was a lead role as Terry in Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You that has seen Opia earn worldwide attention and acclaim.
39. HARRIS REED, 24, fashion designer
The mastermind behind Harry Styles’ world tour looks, Reed had dressed Solange and Ezra Miller before graduating from Central Saint Martin’s. Reed’s Instagram hat filter has been used almost a million times.
40. PAAPA ESSIEDU, 30, actor
He became one to watch onstage in King Lear and Hamlet. But it was provocative TV roles in Gangs Of London and I May Destroy You that made this Essiedu’s year.
41. MAE MARTIN, 33, comedian
MUNROE SAYS: ‘Feel Good – which Mae wrote and starred in – gave incredible perspectives on addiction, coming out, new relationships, anxiety and parental trauma, while being super funny.’
42. JOY YAMUSANGIE, 26, artist
With work that is a mix of illustration, paint and collage, Joy’s texture-rich art has a Basquiat quality to it, which has led to collaborations with fashion brands including Gucci.
43. CHIKA, 23, rapper
She went viral for challenging Kanye West’s support of Donald Trump and, with fans including Erykah Badu, Chika is ready to take centre stage.
44. HAMZAA, 21, singer
She learnt to play the piano at four, wrote her first songs at nine and now this London-born R&B singer has racked up millions of Spotify streams with debut EP First Signs of Me.
45. SONOYA MIZUNO, 34, actor
FARRAH SAYS: ‘I’ve been a fan of Sonoya since Ex Machina and Crazy Rich Asians, but this year’s Devs cemented her place on this list.’
46. JERRY HARRIS, 21, cheerleader
He became the most-loved man on TV as the breakout star of Netflix docuseries Cheer. This adorable bundle of positivity had the likes of Greta Gerwig declaring themselves fans.
47. ANAÏS VAN MANEN, 29, chef
Making her mark on the London food scene, the Vietnamese chef has been responsible for menus at the capital’s most exciting restaurants, from BAO to Xu Teahouse & Restaurant.
48. MATA MARIÉLLE, 21, make-up artist
Having already worked with Fendi, Adidas and Nike, along with with Ray BLK, Skepta and Lauryn Hill, Mariélle has beauty world domination in her sights.
49. NAOMI ACKIE, 27, actor
Before winning the Supporting Actress BAFTA earlier this year for her role in The End of the F***ing World, Ackie starred in critical success Lady Macbeth alongside Florence Pugh and Idris Elba’s Yardie – and her role in JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was when a star was truly born.
50. CAROLINE HU, 30, fashion designer
This Parsons graduate built her career working withJason Wu and Tory Burch, before launching her solo debut of Disney-damsel layered tulle dresses in NewYork for AW19. We predict she’ll be an award-season red-carpet favourite with Hollywood’s A-List.
ELLE's October 2020 issue hits newsstands on September 3.
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