1. Matthew Yglesias, 24, blogger.
After Yglesias’s blog was name-checked by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, Yglesias hit the political talk-show circuit as a pundit. Today he’s a writer for The American Prospect.
2. Orion Weiss, 24, pianist.
Weiss has had an agent and a concert career since high school. Now he solos at Alice Tully Hall.
3. Ari Graynor, 22, actress.
After a bit part in Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, she landed roles in Game 6, with Robert Downey Jr., and Christopher Guest’s upcoming For Your Consideration. This month, Graynor is back on the New York stage, starring in an Off Broadway satire of Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts.”
4. Ben Stapelman, 19, rock singer.
Ben Stapelman’s band, Surefire (imagine early Tom Petty crossed with Coldplay), has built a rabid following on MySpace and now plays sold-out gigs at the Bowery Ballroom.
5. Abigail Dawn DeVille, 24, artist.
This FIT junior mixes many media—painting, sculpture, collage—on gargantuan ten-by-twelve-foot canvases. Last year she won the school’s Frank Shapiro Award for excellence and a spot on gallerist Jeffrey Deitch’s new reality show, Art Star.
6. Nico Muhly, 24, composer.
He’s helped Philip Glass edit his movie scores, sessioned with Björk, and collaborated with Antony and the Johnsons. In March, he releases his first CD, Speaks Volumes, an album of chamber music with electronic instruments and sounds.
7. Alexander Mitchell, 13, actor.
The Lion King was Mitchell’s introduction to Broadway, and since then he’s landed the parts of Travis in A Raisin in the Sun and Billy Ray in On Golden Pond. This month he takes a break from the stage for a guest spot on The Sopranos.
8. Kristjan Thorgeirsson, 25, theater director.
This fall, Thorgeirsson (and producing partner Joel Bravo) staged an adaptation of King Lear called Learegardless, which started at Columbia, then moved to the Vortex Theater in Chelsea. Now they’re opening the Syrup Room, a theater space in Bushwick, where their first production will be a postmodern version of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.
9. Grace Bonney, 24, blogger.
Designsponge.blogspot.com keeps 10,000 design insiders informed on where to score the coolest, hippest new objets. Next up: a TV show for design-savvy travelers.
10. Bliss Lau, 24, handbag designer.
Lau’s handbags in organic shapes and tropical colors are carried by Bloomingdale’s, Steven Alan, and 45 other stores across the country.
11. Terrence Fisher, 20, filmmaker.
The taut, gritty 22-minute documentary Fisher and producing partner Daniel Howard made about gun violence in their neighborhood, called Bullets in the Hood: A Bed-Stuy Story, took a special short-documentary jury prize at Sundance, making them the youngest black filmmakers ever to win there.
12. Karen Gomyo, 23, violinist.
The New York Philharmonic asked Gomyo to solo when it performed in Central Park. And when the L.A. Philharmonic needed a last-minute replacement for a big performance at the Hollywood Bowl, she flew out and pulled it off.
13. Lisa Salzer, 23, jewelry designer.
Salzer, a.k.a. Lulu Frost, is best known for her “Plaza Number Necklaces,” made out of the hotel’s actual, original bronze room numbers, which she discovered at a Chelsea junk shop. Now they’re sold at Barneys New York.
14. Patrik Rzepski, 23, fashion designer.
At 19, he launched his own label. Now he sells his mod-punk frocks in New York by private order to famous clients (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sienna Miller) and in more than eighteen stores across Japan and in London.
15. Ryan Michael Kelly, photographer, 23.
Barely out of SVA, Kelly has been flagged by American Photo magazine as one of the field’s rising stars, and his work has appeared in Clear, Vellum, Trace, and Italian Vanity Fair.
16. Kaavya Viswanathan, 18, writer.
In her freshman year at Harvard, Little, Brown gave Viswanathan a $500,000 two-book deal. She finished the first, a novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life, during finals. She’s now at work on her second.
17. David L.V. Bauer, 18, scientist.
As a lab intern at City College, he created a molecule that glows when exposed to certain weaponized toxins and walked away from the Intel Science Talent Search with a $100,000 scholarship.
18. R. Kikuo Johnson, 24, graphic novelist.
Night Fisher, a coming-of-age story set amid a crystal-meth epidemic in Hawaii, was singled out by Kirkus Reviews as “remarkably assured but astonishingly fresh.” Meanwhile, Johnson just had his first solo show, at the Christopher Henry Gallery in Chelsea.
19 Tiler Peck, 16, member of the corps de ballet of the New York City Ballet.
Peck is the youngest dancer to have a principal role in The Nutcracker, and in February, she’ll be the female lead in Peter Martins’s new ballet.