Crushable presents our first-ever roundup of the boldest, brightest, coolest girls in Hollywood (and the Jersey Shore):
Dakota Fanning, 15
Not many child actors are able to make the leap to adult-stardom. Dakota promises to be one of the few to pull it off. She gave us a glimpse of her grown-up bad-girl side in the Twilight sequel, New Moon, playing a member of vamp royalty. And her role as a teenage rock star in The Runaways promises to catapult her from freakishly-talented child prodigy to full-fledged Hollywood star.
Leighton Meester, 23
If an Emmy was awarded to the television actress most unlike her small-screen persona, Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester just might take the prize. Unlike Blair Waldorf, who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, it’s been reported that Leighton’s mother was in jail on pot charges when she gave birth to her daughter. Leighton is now on an upward trajectory, taking big screen roles in Date Night with Tina Fey and Steve Carell, The Roommate with Minka Kelly and Love Don’t Let Me Down with Gwyneth Paltrow. She also just released a new single, “Your Love’s a Drug,” off her upcoming pop album. But as far as we’re concerned, Leighton will always be Queen B.
Nina Dobrev, 21
Have you heard the story about the teenage girl and her doomed love affair with a vampire who’s sworn off human blood? No, not that one. The Vampire Diaries on the CW. All joking aside, what could have been a weak Twilight knock-off has turned out to be an addictive guilty pleasure (and a great way to get your weekly vampire fix until Eclipse comes out in theaters). Nina has become one of our favorite new heroines as the lucky mortal caught between two hot vampire brothers.
Taylor Swift, 20
Taylor became America’s sweetheart in the moment that Kanye West snatched the mic from her hands at the VMAs and turned “I’mma let you finish” into the catchphrase of the year. But Taylor has continued to earn that title –- breaking out a string of confessional, romantic hit singles and dominating the 2010 Grammy Awards. Okay, so her painful duet with Stevie Nicks at the Grammy’s wasn’t a high point. But we know Taylor has better moments ahead of her. One of them is her first movie role in Valentine’s Day, which also stars her ex, Taylor Lautner.
It’s hard to believe it was less than five years ago that Rihanna launched her music career with her debut single, “Pon de Replay.” Now it’s hard to imagine the industry without her danceable music and daring sense of fashion. Our respect for Rihanna has deepened in the past year due to the dignified way she handled her widely-publicized assault by Chris Brown after a 2009 Grammy’s pre-party. (Brown later pleaded guilty to felony assault and was sentenced to five-years’ probation and community service.) She also reminded us that domestic violence can happen to anybody.
Anna Kendrick, 24
Anna had a great 2009. First, she graduated from playing Kristen Stewart’s sidekick in the Twilight movies to playing George Clooney’s sidekick in Up in the Air. As if working with George wasn’t enough, the part also earned her an Academy Award nod for Best Supporting Actress. (Anna already has some experience with award shows. At the age of 12, she scored a Tony nomination for her role in the Broadway musical High Society.) Her next project –- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World with Michael Cera in the title role -– isn’t exactly Oscar-bait, but we’re planning to line up for tickets anyway.
Megan Fox, 23
We know why guys love Megan. That’s obvious. We love her too, although not for the same reasons. Megan is clearly someone who doesn’t care too much about what people think. She’s gotten in some trouble for saying less-than-complimentary things about other celebrities and even about her own movies. (Need a refresher? Here’s Megan on director Michael Bay: “He’s like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous mad-man reputation. He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is.”) Sure, some of what Megan says may not be diplomatic, but we like a girl who speaks her mind. This year, she’ll star in two fantasy dramas –- Jonah Hex with Josh Brolin and Passion Play with Mickey Rourke. We can’t wait to hear what she has to say about them.
Abby Elliott, 22
Every new Saturday Night Live cast member is haunted by the same question: Who will be the next Will Ferrell or Kristen Wiig? Well, our money is on Abby Elliott. In her second season, she’s proving to be one of the show’s most versatile players and best impressionists. (Her brutal takedown of Angelina Jolie is our favorite.) Her funny genes apparently come from dad Chris Elliott, who was an SNL cast member for one season in the mid-90s. SNL would be smart to keep Abby around for much longer.
America Ferrera, 25
What will we do without Ugly Betty? For three and a half years, it’s been our go-to show for ridiculous soap opera-style comedy. But even though we’re losing Betty, we’ll still have America Ferrera. This summer, she’ll star in Our Family Wedding, playing a bride-to-be coping with interracial family drama. We’ll also hear her voice in the upcoming DreamWorks animated comedy How to Train Your Dragon. Meanwhile, we still have two months of Betty before the finale. We hope the braces finally come off.
Carey Mulligan, 24
A year ago, we were all like, “Carey who?” Now she’s nominated for an Academy Award, dating Shia LaBeouf and one of the hottest young actresses in Hollywood. Carey has actually had a busy career in British film, but she didn’t break out until she took on the starring role in An Education as a 16-year-old whose life derails after she falls for a charming, but shady, older man. Next, she’ll show us her best American accent in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, playing Michael Douglas’ daughter and Shia’s fiancée. Back on her home turf of England, she’s also starring with Keira Knightley in Never Let Me Go.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, 23
Back in the Olsen twins’ Full House days, it was possible to mistake them for one girl with a very long name: Mary-Kate Ashley Olsen. Not anymore. Over the past few years, Mary-Kate and Ashley have been forging distinct, separate identities. We can totally them apart now. Mary-Kate, the bohemian actress, will follow her roles in The Wackness and Weeds with a part in Beastly, a fantasy romance scheduled for release this summer. Ashley is focusing on the twins’ design businesses and dating The Hangover‘s missing groom, Justin Bartha. Together or apart, we think they’re pretty fabulous.
Miley Cyrus, 17
Miley is finally shedding her Hannah Montana alter-ego and her liberation is coming not a moment too soon. Miley’s pole dance at the Teen Choice Awards last August signaled that she wouldn’t last under the family-friendly Disney regime for much longer. Once Hannah Montana wraps next year, we can’t wait to see what a less censored Miley has planned. For now, we know for sure that she’s starring in the upcoming movie The Last Song with boyfriend Liam Hemsworth. Also, we still can’t get “Party in the U.S.A.” out of our heads.
Charlyne Yi, 24
We’re rooting for Charlyne, who we first saw in Knocked Up playing the only girl in Seth Rogen’s posse of weirdo housemates. Last year, she proved herself more than just a bit player by co-writing and starring in Paper Heart, a hybrid documentary/fictional love story (with Michael Cera as her awkwardly adorable boyfriend). We’re hoping for more from Charlyne soon. We need more oddballs in Hollywood.
Britt Robertson, 19
Have you seen the new CW drama, Life Unexpected? If not, get to your DVR right now. It’s a smart, funny family drama –- kind of like Gilmore Girls, without being as self-consciously cute. Britt Robertson plays a 16-year-old orphan who tracked down her birth parents only to find that they were teenagers themselves when they gave her up. Shiri Appleby, whom we love from her Roswell days, plays the mom, but it’s Britt and her combination of cynicism and vulnerability that make the show a must-see.
Emma Watson, 19
Remember little frizzy-haired bookworm Hermione Granger? Emma is all grown up and –- according to Vanity Fair magazine –- she was the highest paid Hollywood actress last year. But instead of burning out on the L.A. party scene like some other starlets we won’t mention, Emma’s going to Brown University. Oh, and she’s also the face of Burberry, which means she’s probably much better dressed at those early morning lectures than we were in our college days. Not too shabby for a mudblood.
Ellen Page, 22
It’s hard to think of Ellen without calling up the image of Juno’s hooded sweatshirt stretched over her enormous pregnant belly. Because of that star-making role –- as well as other parts in Hard Candy, Smart People and Whip It — Ellen has become associated with cynical teens who are maybe too smart for their own good. This year, she’s moving on from teenage roles to star in Inception with Leo DiCaprio, a big-budget thriller directed by Christopher Nolan. In another change of pace she’ll also co-star in Rainn Wilson’s superhero comedy, called Super.
Scarlett Johansson, 25
Is there anything Scarlett Johansson can’t do? Since the age of 9, she’s been proving herself the onscreen equal of movie veterans like Robert Redford, Bill Murray and Woody Allen. Then she decided to be a singer and turned out to be pretty good at that, too. Now she’s getting rave reviews for her Broadway debut in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge. So what will ScarJo do next (other than star in the Iron Man sequel)? Brain surgery? Lion taming? Whatever it is, we have no doubt she’ll pull it off.
Amber Riley, 24
In a diva-off between the leading ladies of Glee, Amber Riley gives Lea Michele a run for her money. So it’s too bad she’s the most tragically underused talent on that show. As Mercedes, Amber killed with her rendition of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” on the winter finale, but Lea’s character ended up with the big solo at sectionals anyway. So not fair. We’re ready to start a letter writing campaign to FOX demanding more Mercedes in 2010. Who’s with us?
Sarah Hyland, 19
It takes a smart actress to play a ditz. Take Christina Applegate, who perfected her portrayal of bimbo Kelly Bundy over a decade ago on Married with Children. Following in Christina’s footsteps is Sarah Hyland, who plays our new favorite television airhead, Haley Dunphy, on ABC’s Modern Family. If you haven’t seen it, Modern Family is a mockumentary about three branches of an extended family, also starring Married with Children‘s Ed O’Neill as its patriarch. Sarah’s endearingly dim portrayal of 15-year-old Haley -– especially her scenes with Haley’s equally vacant boyfriend –- is just one of many reasons to watch.
Freida Pinto, 25
Would Slumdog Millionaire have come out of nowhere to just about sweep the 2009 Academy Awards if it didn’t star the stunning Freida Pinto as its hero’s love interest? We’ll never know, but we’re not surprised that Woody Allen has picked Freida to star in his new movie, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. She’ll follow in the footsteps of ScarJo and Evan Rachel Wood as the auteur’s latest muse. Make all the “dirty old man” jokes you like, but Woody does have great taste.
Lea Michele, 23
Lea , the reigning diva of Glee, can sing anything. As Rachel Berry, the self-appointed president of glee club, she has taken on Barbra Streisand, Idina Menzel, Jordin Sparks, Celine Dion, Rihanna…the list goes on and on. She’s also proven her acting chops by managing to make Rachel –- an overbearing, self-centered drama queen –- lovable. Not surprisingly, Lea got her start on Broadway, where she played a tragic ingenue in the rock musical Spring Awakening. We’re not sure what project Lea will take on next, but we have no doubt that she can do whatever she wants.
Kristen Stewart, 19
Kristen specializes in playing girls who are brooding, enigmatic and tough to pin down. The same could be said of Kristen herself. She’s not the type of actress who opens up about her personal life (R-Patz: are they or aren’t they?) and she’s never seemed comfortable with the Twilight fan frenzy. So we’re looking forward to seeing her shift into edgier films, where she seems to belong. She’ll star as rocker Joan Jett in The Runaways and then play a hooker befriended by a grieving married man (James Gandolfini) in Welcome to the Rileys. But don’t worry, fellow Twihards. Eclipse and Breaking Dawn are also on the way.
Blake Lively, 22
Just when we started to typecast Blake Lively as a Serena van der Woodsen-like It Girl, she surprised everyone with her role as the wild, younger version of Robin Wright’s character in The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. While Blake will continue to play the uber-glamorous Serena on Gossip Girl (thank god), she’s also branching out further with two new movies. This year, she’s starring in The Town, a crime drama directed by and starring Ben Affleck. Next year, she’ll star in the superhero flick Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds. Oh, she’ll also presumably keep dating Penn Badgley. Lucky girl.
Selena Gomez, 17
Selena is best known for Wizards of Waverly Place, a Disney show about three siblings with magical powers, as well as for an on-and-off romance with Nick Jonas. But she’s also a pop singer and her latest album, called “Kiss & Tell,” scored some respectful critical reviews. We’re hoping she can follow the path that Miley blazed to an adult, mainstream career…but without the stop at pole dancing.
Lady Gaga, 23
Gaga says that she’s a “free bitch” and there’s really no better way to explain the bizarre, sexy and powerful persona she’s created for the stage. Gaga, who was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has been called the next Madonna, but that comparison doesn’t really do justice to her originality and talent. And by the way, anyone questioning Lady Gaga’s talent should check out her badass duet with Elton John at the Grammy Awards. It leaves no doubt that a new pop icon is here to stay.
Honorable Mention: Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, 22
Oh, Snooks. We wanted so badly to include you on our list. But then we remembered those hot tub hook-ups. (The Situation? Really? You’re better than that, Snooks.) Here’s our advice to you for Season 2: Forget about the guidos. You’re better than them. You’re smarter than people realize and tougher than most guys three times your size. Let them come to you this season. Or don’t — now that you seem to have already snagged yourself a man, it’s time to concentrate on other things. Launching your own line of trucker hats or pickles perhaps?
By Kristen Lee
(Photos by WENN.com)