Young adult stars are everywhere. Whether they're on television shows, in magazines, promoting products, in films, or on tour, these stars have the stamina and desire to get out there and entertain while still making time to interact with their fans.
Defying the common idea that young adults can be reckless and unmotivated, these stars prove that hard work and dedication can serve you well. From acting in today’s hottest young adult films to acting, producing, and other business ventures, these stars have what it takes to stay in the spotlight. Whether they were born into a well-known family, started a band with their siblings, were cast in a film that would blow you out of the water, or they have gradually progressed to stardom over a long career in Hollywood, these 14 young adult stars are in the spotlight and are taking advantage of it.
With their ability to relate to fans their own age and younger audiences who look up to them, these stars use their well-defined social media skills and honest nature to stay in touch with their fans as they juggle being a Hollywood celebrity and an average young adult spending time with their friends and family.
When you want to see young talent in action, these stars do not disappoint. Driven, courageous and talented, these stars prove that when it comes to stardom, age is secondary to commitment.
14 Josh Hutcherson
While most movie-goers know Josh Hutcherson for his role as Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games series based on the book trilogy written by Suzanne Collins, Josh has been on the Hollywood scene for years.
Over his acting career, Josh has worked with some of Hollywood’s most elite actors, including Will Ferrell in the 2005 film Kicking and Screaming and Robin Williams in the 2006 comedy RV. Another fantasy film that Josh has under his acting belt is Bridge to Terabithia, which was a popular 2007 adaptation of a novel with the same title.
What makes us keep coming back to Josh for more? He’s got that great all American boy-next-door sort of look, yet he is impressively varied in his ability to convey different emotions on screen: it's a gift not many young stars can claim they have. Thanks to the success of his long standing acting career, Josh has solidified himself as a young adult star to watch.
13 Hunter Hayes
Hunter Hayes is a down-to-earth country music star from a small area in Louisiana. Despite his modest surroundings in rural Louisiana, Hunter proves that when you have a passion for something and you put time and effort into your work, you can do anything.
Hayes released his first studio album, simply titled Hunter Hayes, in 2011. Most recently, he released his second album, Storyline. Hunter’s style blends the best of country music, catchy riffs and storytelling with catchy pop vocals and style. Hunter has toured with some of the greatest stars in music today, including Taylor Swift. Now signed with Warner Music, Hunter has secured his spot in the pop country music world and is steadily gaining momentum and diversifying his fan base. Hunter is active on social media; he has over a million followers on Twitter and regularly posts videos to his YouTube account.
12 Shailene Woodley
Sweet-natured but fierce on screen, Shailene Woodley is on fire in the young adult star scene. Woodley made a name for herself in her role on the hit television show The Secret Life of an American Teenager on ABC Family. When Shailene moved onto the big screen, she gained household recognition almost instantaneously. Starring as Tris in the hit film series Divergent, Shailene went from playing a timid, pregnant teenage girl to an ambitious and courageous leader.
Woodley’s followed up her success in Divergent with taking the lead role of Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars. The film’s monumental success made Shailene even more popular. Unconcerned with conventional beauty norms, Shailene even offered to cut her hair for the part of Hazel instead of having a wig made to cover her long locks.
Aside from her stellar acting skills, what makes Shailene so popular is her kind and down to earth nature. Despite all her success, Shailene is a sweet-hearted young woman who appreciates all she has accomplished.
11 Nat Wolff
Actor and musician Nat Wolff is a young adult heartthrob. With talents ranging from acting to singing and playing guitar and keyboard, Nat is a well-rounded performer.
Nat’s two-man band with his brother Alex (known as Nat & Alex Wolff) gave Nat a start in show business. The brothers write and sing their own music. With an impressive seven albums, the brothers have shown a true love and passion for their craft as musicians.
As an actor, Nat got his start in The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie and The Naked Brothers Band television series. While Nat has had a steady acting career, his role as Isaac in the smash film adaptation The Fault in Our Stars made Nat an instant favorite in the young adult circle.
Most recently, Nat appeared in another John Green book adaptation film, Paper Towns. Whether he’s singing or acting, Nat Wolff is sure to have a long standing career in entertainment.
10 Cara Delevingne
Cara Delevingne is a young adult star who has it all—she’s beautiful, she can sing and is killing it as an actress. This London UK native started her acting career in 2012 when she played Princess Sorokina in the film adaptation of the classic novel Anna Karenina, but the film that really put her on the acting map was her role as Margo in the 2015 release of Paper Towns, which is a film adaptation of the popular John Green novel of the same name.
At this year’s San Diego Comic Con, Cara got a bit of attention for her role as The Enchantress in the widely anticipated 2016 release of Suicide Squad. As a model, Cara has had a robust career under the elite Storm Modeling agency, though according to sources such as Teen Vogue, Storm no longer features Cara as a model with their agency, leading many to wonder if she’s quit modeling to focus on her acting career.
With a whopping 15 million followers on Instagram, Cara has plenty of fans who are willing to follow her down whatever career path she may choose.
9 Joe Jonas
Joe Jonas is no stranger to the spotlight. From his music career as both a bandmate in the brother band trio the Jonas Brothers to acting in various television shows, Joe has maintained constant momentum in his endeavors. Thanks to their catchy, pop music style and charming good looks, the Jonas Brothers took the pop music scene by storm.
Despite the band’s great success, Joe has committed himself to working on his career as an actor in addition to his music. Having starred in films like Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and having roles on hit shows like Hot in Cleveland, Joe has shown he likes to act in roles that will make his audience laugh out loud. With over two million followers on Instagram, Joe keeps his fans up to date on his day to day life.
8 Selena Gomez
From Disney Channel star to pop princess, Selena Gomez has proven she is versatile, upbeat, and fun. Selena got her start in acting back in the early 2000s when she appeared in a few episodes of the children’s show Barney and Friends. However, it was her appearance in the Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place that put Selena on the map as a young actress.
While Selena is still acting, her main focus these days is her music career. With an impressive ten studio releases, Selena is a music machine. On social media, Selena has over 36 million followers and counting. Sharing her life through her posts lets the pop star keep her peers and fans alike up to date on what it’s like to live as a young pop star.
7 Nick Jonas
Jonas Brother star Nick Jonas is not shy about his success in both the acting and musical realms. From his success with his brothers in their collaborative group to his booming solo artist career and blossoming acting career, Nick Jonas is a busy young adult star.
Nick is well-liked, not just for his musical skills and acting talents, but for his fit physique and natural appearance in front of the camera. With a healthy fan base on social media, fans keep up with Nick’s playful nature daily.
Starring in the 2014 television series Kingdom and with the upcoming television series Scream Queens in the works, we’ll be seeing a good amount of Nick on screen. In a more music-related setting, Hollywood Life reported in January of this year that Nick Jonas is set to appear as a guest mentor on season 8 of the popular music competition show The Voice. Whether he’s acting, coaching young musicians, or singing, we’re excited to see how Nick continues to shape his career.
6 Miley Cyrus
When it comes to reinventing yourself, no one in the young adult world does it quite like Miley Cyrus. Daughter of the country hunk star Billy Ray Cyrus, it’s no surprise that Miley is an entertainer at heart.
From her days as the star of the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana, fans have seen Miley as a funny and vibrant girl with an undeniable talent for singing and acting. As Miley got older and wanted to ditch the Disney Channel typecasting many people pushed on her, Miley progressively began experimenting with her musical style and appearance. Miley’s Instagram feed has been a sort of diary of her transition and changes in tastes.
Miley shows her 24 million followers life through a colorful lens of glitter, memes, and personal photos. While some fans (and their parents) haven’t received Miley’s transformation well, Miley has come out on top—she’s happy, being true to herself, and is open to explore her talents as she sees fit. With a wealth of studio albums and a healthy touring career to promote her music, Miley has proven she plans to stay in music for a long time.
5 Ariana Grande
With a varied acting background and a clear talent for singing, Ariana Grande is a sweet and sassy young adult star. Ariana’s acting career was helped greatly by her appearances in iCarly and as a regular member on the Nickelodeon television series Victorious and Sam & Cat. Ariana’s time on Victorious is said to have inspired her to pursue a career in music.
Currently touring for her album My Everything, Ariana is taking the nation by storm. Ariana’s 37 million Instagram followers are treated to the soft, girly and family-centric side of Ariana.
In addition to her work as an entertainer, the Huffington Post reported that Ariana co-founded a charity called Kids Who Care. According to the Kids Who Care website, the non-profit organization works to encourage and enrich the lives of young people through theater and music. It’s great to see such a young star giving back.
4 Ansel Elgort
Ansel Elgort has been in a wealth of young adult box office hits over the past couple of years. First staring in the 2013 reboot of Carrie, a film adaptation of Stephen King’s breakthrough novel, Ansel has increasingly found success as a young actor. His role as Caleb in Divergent, Insurgent, and the upcoming Allegiant films (which are all adaptations of the Divergent trilogy written by Veronica Roth), brought Ansel to the center stage for young male actors.
Continuing with his upward acting momentum, Ansel starred as Gus in the break-through hit The Fault in Our Stars, a film adaptation of the John Green novel of the same name that deals with teens who fall in love despite battling terminal cancer. Through his brief acting career, Ansel has not only shown that he is talented, but that he is a versatile actor as well. On his Twitter feed, Ansel keeps things simple and humorous, showing life through the eyes of a star who’s diving into Hollywood life with full force.
With his goofy grin and kind nature, it is great to see Ansel be praised for his hard work and dedication to his acting career while remaining as “normal” as possible.
3 Taylor Swift
The queen of pop with a smile that can melt most hearts, Taylor Swift is an unstoppable force in the world of young adult stars. Taylor knew from a young age she wanted to perform as a country star. When Taylor’s self titled album released in 2006, her career took off almost instantly.
Over the years, Taylor has perfected her style, continuing to write and perform her own music while gaining more of a pop feel meshed with a rocker chick edge that helps diversify her fan base. Singing about common relationship troubles and triumphs in a true country music style while adding catchy lyrics makes it hard to not appreciate Taylor’s music.
Swift has a special connection with her fans, even going as far as to personally purchase and send gifts to them. Fans were shocked and in awe of Taylor’s generosity as she gifted them with the personalized gifts. From her kind and thoughtful gestures towards her fans to her catchy lyrics and entertaining performances, Taylor Swift is an amazing young adult star
2 Kendall Jenner
Despite being born into the well known Kardashian-Jenner family, Kendall Jenner has been passionate about pursuing her own dreams outside of her family’s celebrity status.
Best known for her modeling career, which some have criticized for having started via her social media accounts, Kendall is a take-charge woman who's unafraid to be herself, letting the criticisms motivate her to push herself toward her goals.
Despite her vast network of celebrity connections through her family and friends, Kendall took her modeling career into her own hands. While her name and status gave her an instant following, her talent as a model is what has launched her career. With over 30 million followers on Instagram, Kendall has plenty of viewers at all times. From social media to the Paris Fashion Week runway, Kendall has proven she is a young adult with plenty of talent and a drive to succeed.
1 Jennifer Lawrence
With an Academy Award on her resume and a wealth of roles in box office hits such as Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, and The Hunger Games films, Jennifer Lawrence is a dominant force in the world of young adult acting. Lawrence’s willingness to promote body positivity and go against the unhealthy yet popular trends like “thinspo” makes her especially powerful.
Jennifer has used her status to help promote healthy and realistic body image goals for young girls, often using her own body and habits as an example. With the success of her role as Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games films, Jennifer took the opportunity to diversify herself in the geeky film niche, signing on to play Mystique in the newest X-Men films.