The Young Hollywood Actresses Proving Why Representation Is So Important

Instagram / @lanacondor

POPSUGAR Australia is dedicating the month of September to featuring the next generation of inspired thinkers and courageous individuals who are building and manifesting a brighter future — because the next gen is unstoppable. We will deliver personal essays from young Australians who are making a name for themselves, as well as inspiring thought pieces and interviews with rising talent across different industries throughout the month. Find all of our pieces here, and if there’s someone you think is missing, email our editor so we can share their story — [email protected].

Hollywood has been producing films for decades now, but the star-studded industry doesn’t exactly have the greatest track record — especially when it comes to diversity.

With the Oscars being accused of favouring white people, to taking opportunities away from people of colour (POC), there is a long way to go when it comes to representation.

But as the younger generation is beginning to slowly make their mark in the industry, and there are plenty of actresses who are breaking barriers and making their voices heard.

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan

She’s the leading star of Netflix’s hit show, Never Have I Ever, and Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is showing no signs of slowing down. Along with playing an Indian-American character who is trying to navigate between two cultures, Maitreyi is making sure to educate those who follow her. Just recently, she schooled people on how to pronounce her name, saying she is asking for “basic respect.”

Lana Condor

We fell in love with her after watching To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, but there’s even more to Lana Condor than meets the eye. Sitting down with Shape, Lana is taking a stand against anti-Asian rhetoric, saying, “speaking up is important. It’s easy to be a bystander, but you could save a life if you stand up for someone.”

Yara Shahidi

She’s an actress, model and activist, and Yara Shahidi has, even more, to add to her already long list of credentials. Inspiring young women to get involved in politics and social justice, the Black-ish star is a passionate feminist and STEM advocate.

During her time in high school, Yara established ‘Yara’s Club’ in partnership with the Young Women’s Leadership Network, with the goal to end poverty through the use of education.

Auli’i Cravalho

You most likely know her from Disney’s Moana, as her beautiful voice gave soul to the animated character. But Auli’i Cravalho is proving to be a spokesperson for young people who are struggling with their sexuality after she came out last year as bisexual.

While the native Hawaiian doesn’t consider herself to be an activist, she understands how it feels to be pigeonholed, telling Entertainment Weekly, “If you’re playing someone who is part of the LGBTQ spectrum, that isn’t just the storyline. There’s so much more to them. We are straight-A students. We are avid readers. We have these wild imaginations. We don’t know what the heck we’re doing, but also don’t just show us in the light of ‘My sexuality is this burden,’ because it’s not. It is so joyful.”

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