Comparing your accomplishments to those of other people is a sure fire way to end up feeling bad about yourself. You will never have a squad as cool as Taylor Swift, win an Oscar at the young age Jennifer Lawrence did or, well, be Beyonce. However, it’s hard not to think about the fact that Swift is only 26 and Lawrence is only 25, or that Beyonce is, well, Beyonce. Though, at least these superstars are in their twenties and thirties. There are some teens out there that are so successful it will make you question all of your life choices. Why are you not a renowned chef, a successful entrepreneur or a freaking Nobel Peace Prize Winner? What have you been doing with your life if these kids were able to accomplish these things by 16? No, but seriously, someone on this list won a Nobel Peace Prize and she isn’t even 20.
If people only get better with age, who the hell knows what these young teens will accomplish in their twenties and thirties. Some of them are known for athletic achievements, accomplishing astonishing feats with their bodies at a very young age. Others have used their minds to extraordinary measures in order to create inventions or push activism with their words. While not everyone on this list is extremely famous, as successful chefs and scientists aren’t necessarily people of tabloid stories, all of these teens are worth your attention. From physical achievements to intellectual achievements, these teens will make you feel bad about the time you spent watching Total Request Live and passing notes with friends while you were young. You could have been winning a Nobel Peace Prize after all:
10. Lydia Ko (18) – The Golf Superstar
Lydia Ko may only be 18 years old but she’s already ranked the no. 1 woman professional golfer in the world. This makes her the youngest man or woman to achieve such a ranking at this age. She is also the youngest person to win a professional golf tour event and to win a LPGA Tour. In 2014, Time named Ko one of their 100 Most Influential People. In 2015, she won the LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award, making her the youngest person to even win this award. This golf prodigy makes you forget all about Tiger Woods.
9. Maddie Ziegler (13) – The Dancer
Maddie Ziegler is the youngest person on this list at only 13 years old. What can someone really achieve as a young 13 year old? Well, in Maddie Ziegler’s case, a lot. Ziegler got her break on the reality television show Dance Moms in 2011 when she was only nine. Ziegler’s star power only rose from there. She went on to appear in two of Sia’s music videos, “Chandelier” and “Elastic Heart.” Those two videos have gained over 1.5 billion views on YouTube, which has helped her amass her 4.7 million followers on Instagram. With her huge following, she is taking a leap into scripted acting with her feature film debut The Book of Henry set to premiere in 2016. At this point, Ziegler can probably retire by 17.
8. Flynn McGarry (16) – The Chef
Most chefs will never be at a place in their career where they can command $160 per head for a tasting menu, but Flynn McGarry was at that point in his career by the age of 15. McGarry is praised as prodigy in the kitchen and got his start young by opening supper clubs for 15 guests at his mother’s or grandmother’s house in the San Fernando Valley when he was only 11. That’s right – while most normal kids are mastering the microwave, McGarry was charging $160 a person for his cuisine. He’s been an apprentice at some of the best restaurants in the country – Alinea in Chicago and Eleven Madison Park in New York. He also consulted on a show in development at NBC about a young child prodigy chef, which was based on his life. Anyone who is in talks to have a show based on their life before the age of 20 is doing something right.
7. Kylie Jenner (18) – The Reality Star
For all of the “she’s only famous for being famous” arguments to be made of anyone bearing the Kardashian or Jenner name, Kylie Jenner certainly stepped forward as a smart business woman in 2015. She has launched clothing collections with PacSun, Steve Madden and Topshop. She also released Lip Kit by Kylie, a lip kit that sold out in only minutes and is now being sold on eBay for thousands of dollars. The Kardashian/Jenner clan also launched their websites and apps this years, with Kylie being a clear winner in that department as well. Her app, which costs $2.99 a month, beat out all her sisters and for a bit was even more downloaded than the apps for Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger or Snapchat. Kylie may not have a talent per se, but her influence over the younger population and her social media following are not something to underestimate.
6. Mo’ne Davis (14) – The Shutout Pitcher
Mo’ne Davis caught everyone’s eye in the 2014 Little League World Series. It wasn’t because she was one of two girls who were playing, which is impressive in its own right, especially considering the fact that she was the first African American girl to ever play in the series. She really came to the attention of everyone because she pitched a shutout, becoming the first girl in the Little League World Series to ever do so. Afterwards, she landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated, becoming the first Little League player ever featured on the cover. Her athleticism broke down barriers for young girls of color everywhere.
5. Lorde (19) – The Singer
Not even 20 years old, Lorde was the proud recipient of two Grammys. In 2013, the teenager released her debut single “Royals,” which, for lack of a better term, pretty much blew up everywhere. It was the US number 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100. She was even nabbed to create a new song for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 soundtrack. Her stock only keeps rising with a performance at 2014 Lollapalooza being named the best segment of the festival by Rolling Stone. While most teens are happy gaining a few thousand views on a YouTube video of them singing, Lorde has made a name for herself as an art pop-electronica-indie pop artist.
4. Gabby Douglas (19) – The Gold Medalist
Gabby Douglas was a member of the “Fierce Five” during the 2012 Summer Olympic. The Fierce Five were the five members of the women’s artistic gymnastics team, who won the gold medal for the team. So, that’s a great accomplishment, but Douglas didn’t stop there. Douglas also won the gold medal for best individual all-around, making her the first African American woman to win this award in Olympic history. She went on to appear on a box of Corn Flakes, veering from the traditional box of Wheaties. She also released an autobiography, which went on to become #4 on The New York Times Young Adult Bestseller List because is there anything that she isn’t good at?
3. Kiernan Shipka (16) – The Actress
Oh, to be 16 and have a net worth of $3 million. Not too shabby for the Mad Men star. Kiernan Shipka began her career in the limelight as a baby in commercial and print modeling but got her big break in 2007 when she was cast as Sally Draper. In 2009 and 2010, the cast won Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, nabbing her two SAG Awards before she could even drive. Now that Mad Men has ended, she’ll have freedom to take on even more roles, which she’ll have no problem getting after all of the praise for her performance as the wise daughter of Don Draper.
2. Malala Yousafzai (18) – The Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Malala Yousafzai puts us all to shame. At 11 years old, she was writing a blog for BBC where she would talk about her life under Taliban occupation while using a pseudonym. A New York Times documentary was made about her life, which brought her name to prominence. She was even nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. Everything changed one day when she boarded a bus and a gunman asked her name. After giving him her name, her fired three shots at her. She recovered and continues to work for women’s and children’s rights, for which she has received much praise. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, Time named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Oh, she also won a little thing called the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her activism in fighting for the right to education for all children. You know, she’s just changing the world and only 18.
1. Olivia Hallisey (17) – The Scientist
Remember being 17 and hating your physics class, or chemistry class, or whatever it was that you were taking at the time? Well, Olivia Hallisey is showing you up. The 17-year-old scientist won the 2015 Google Science Fair for inventing a way to test for Ebola, that virus that people were kinda freaking out about in 2014. Hallisey invented a way to test for the virus that is fast and cheap. The results only take 30 minutes to develop and are able to detect the virus in someone potentially before the person is even showing symptoms of Ebola. Olivia Hallisey putting that model of an atom you were once so proud of to shame.