Over the years, It Girl has often come to mean something else; a way of noticing women for their fifteen minutes of fame regardless of the industry in film, television, music, or fashion; treating them more as a promoted trend than a natural force to be reckoned with. It became less about celebrating actresses who rose from indies or obscurity to entertain and enlighten, and more of who could be more gif-worthy in interviews and on the red carpet. Most recently, Hollywood used the the term to peg rising stars Brie Larson, Emma Stone, Lupita N'Yongo, and Jennifer Lawrence as they captured the audience's and media's attention with their talent, personality, and range on-screen. Yet just as fast as they took over film, magazine covers, and social media, the celebration of a woman or women taking over Tinseltown slipped quietly out of the spotlight, rarely to be used again since.
This suddenly made me ask: What happened to all the It Girls? Granted, the answer arrived pretty easily: The past six months in Hollywood alone from the #TimesUp and #MeToo movement, and the political warfare making waves around the world, have paved the way for more important issues. (And comparatively, there is no It Bro putting actors on a pedestal, is there?.) The glamorous side of Hollywood isn't the first thing on most people's minds right now when it constantly feels like the world is in peril.
Though I shirk at the idea of singling out actresses over others in a superficial game of Who-Is-Better-or-More-Famous, I also look forward to the inspiring success newer actresses have created by breaking out on-screen or out of the mold. It is refreshing to see fresh faces pave the way for themselves and imagine where their careers will be in the future. As 2018 is almost halfway over, powerful actresses have continued to slay on-screen but haven't been offered the spotlight as they have in the past. This still made me want to share my top five favorite bad-ass It Girls for 2018 in the hopes that you're inspired to check them out and see what they have going on. 'Cause they are slaying Tinseltown right now (and for the foreseeable future).
What actresses or actors are onto big things this year? Whose work should I check out? Let me know in the comments below!
Dakota JohnsonAs much as the Fifty Shades franchise put her on the map, as soon as Fifty Shades Freed was released in theaters earlier this year, E.L. James's trilogy was pretty much forgotten. Johnson's performance, however, was singled out by critics who admitted she salvaged what little there was to save. Taking time to regroup after filming, she's become aware of the type of challenging stories she wants to tell. Her next movie Bad Times at the El Royale brings a group of strangers together in a rundown motel where things go awry. And, she'll also be starring in the Suspiria remake, which has already garnered intense reactions by critics at CinemaCon. Hopefully soon, she'll have left Anastasia Steele behind in the dust completely.
Hannah John-KamenI don't know if an actress can get off to a better start than Hannah. She's only four movies into her on-screen career, and the credits ain't too shabby. In 2015, she debuted as a First Order Officer #1 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens...and then her next three movies all came out this year. She kicked off 2018 as Sophie in Tomb Raider, turned it up a notch as F'Nale Zandor in Ready Player One, and most recently, became The Ghost / Ava Starr in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Getting a recommendation letter from Steven Spielberg? She's got a future in showbiz.
If you love The Walking Dead, you were already familiar with Danai as the bad-ass heroine Michonne. And, after the epic release of Black Panther, the whole world knows her name as the incredibly fierce, determined, humorous, loyal warrior and leader of the Dora Milaje, Okoye. As Black Panther's protector, she stole the screen in the few moments she had in Marvel's biggest movie of the year Infinity War. She doesn't currently have any big projects scheduled except The Walking Dead's ninth season and the next Avengers untitled movie coming out in 2019. Oh you know, two of the biggest franchises around right now.
She started out as a rapper and comedian posting a viral video My Vag that caught on like wildfire. There's probably no better way to make your on-screen debut than starring alongside Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett, and lots of fellow bad-ass women, in Ocean's 8. As Constance, the crew's main thief, Awkwafina was able to break out of the mold of well-known actresses to be the skillful comedic relief. And in August, she'll be the talk of the town in Crazy Rich Asians, an adaptation of Kevin Kwan's best-selling novel starring Constance Wu.