Rowan Blanchard is redefining what it means to be a Disney star today. Back in the not-so-distant past, Disney starlets were all camera ready, and unable to be their true selves until the day they turned 18. (See: Miley.) Now, outspoken, modern-day Mouseketeers like Rowan are open about everything, and they’re educating their followers on intersectional feminism and challenging victim blaming. When Rowan isn’t writing poetry, the 15-year-old is hanging out with Tavi Genvinson, the O.G. cool teen, wearing Clueless inspired clothes and fighting gender inequality.
Lydia Night is the 16-year-old lead singer of The Regrettes, a pop-punk band with a political premise. Their latest release is “Seashore,” a song that starts with the lyrics, “I got news I’m not a little girl." On Instagram, she posts about her inspirations, including Beyoncé and Bowie.
On Project Runway Junior, Peytie Slater was famous for her colorful, boho patterns and surfer girl vibes (she's distantly related to Kelly Slater). At 16, she's more put together than most adults, wearing printed dresses with matching shoes she made herself. During her time in New York, Peytie was influenced by Alice and Olivia, but before her run on the show she was making swimwear. The Cali girl even manages to make Tim Gunn proud, which is truly saying something. The surfer girl posts her colorful designs, scenes from the beach and promotes her line, True Violette. And she’s barely old enough to have her driver’s license.
Lucky Blue might get all the glory, especially since his girlfriend's surprising pregnancy announcement, but his sister and the bass player in their family band, The Atomics (think The Partridge Family, only edgier and blonder) is another Instagram-star on the rise. At 18, the ultimate multi-hyphenate model/musician/aspiring actress hit the red carpet at the Met Ball with her brother, where she showed off her pink hair. She's currently dating Brandon Thomas Lee, fellow model and Pamela Anderson's son, who easily looks like he could play in the Atomics.
Autumn de Forest is a painter who has met with the Pope, starred in a campaign with Ellen Degeneres and partnered with Nordstrom to launch her shoe line, a collaboration with Converse. Prepare for super artsy shots of her traveling the world, when the farthest you’ve traveled recently was to the door to collect your Seamless delivery. When she’s not busy modeling for Gap, the philanthropist is donating her proceeds to The Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. The child prodigy is the youngest artist in history to have a solo museum exhibit—while your friends are showing with 25 people in Bushwick, she has her very own space…and she’s only 15.
Odeya Rush is a Chanel wearing model friend of Rowan Blanchard and Lea Thompson's daughter Zoey Deutch. The Israeli actress is based in Los Angeles and can be seen in The Giver, if you want to relive your middle school reading list. She was also a child model for Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and the Gap. Alongside selfies, Odeya posts inspirational quotes, but not the Pinterest kind: think Diana Vreeland quotes, not Marilyn Monroe ones. The fashion-forward ‘grammer can be spotted hanging out with Marc Jacobs when she isn’t pinning a boutonnière on her prom date.
While these lades are technically two cool teens, they do share an Instagram account…and approval from Beyoncé, who they opened for after signing to her label. Their ‘gram game consists of professional photoshoots (most recently for their new mix tape, "Two of Us"), Michelle Obama, hipster mom jeans any adult would be happy to wear and Ivy Park. The powerful singers and sisters released their EP Sugar Symphony in 2016 with a little help from Beyonce. They made a cameo in her Lemonade video, alongside fellow cool teens Amandla Sternberg and Zendaya.
Performance artist That Poppy (she's never revealed her real name) has a bubblegum aesthetic that's obvious in her pastel photographs. On Spotify, you’ll probably mistake her for a "Rock Steady" era Gwen Stefani. It's also entirely possible she's not even a cool teen, although she certainly has the aesthetic down. She's been rumored to be anywhere from 16 to 22 and won't reveal her real age. On Instagram, she brings all of the pink super kitschy Katy Perry cupcake vibes. But her strangest style moments take place on YouTube, where she makes cult-like videos with millions of views on Poppy TV.
When Amandla posted the video “Don’t Cash Crop On My Cornrows,” as a response to Kylie Jenner’s latest looks, it cemented her place as a truly powerful young voice. Amandla also attended prom with Jaden Smith, the ultimate cool teen, who broke gender norms by wearing a dress to the dance (Amandla does, too, and uses "they/them" gender pronouns). These days, the former Hunger Games star is using Instagram to demand equality and accountability.
Maggie Lindemann has 1.9 million Instagram followers and a new single climbing the charts. The former Vine star and Texas native has faced down cyberbullies, and continues to do so in her song "Pretty Girl." She has a penchant for big lashes, thick brows and Vans, and counts Lana del Rey as a style icon.
The current slew of cool teen squads are far chicer than previous generation’s ever were, with butterfly hair clips and glitter tubs of eyeshadow (now, said tubs are used as lipstick). Today, Instagram filters make everyone look better than Myspace angles, Twitter hashtags are less revealing than Livejournal confessions and YouTube tutorials mean everyone below the age of 20 has an enviable brow game.
If you don’t have a cool teen in your life to show you the ropes (or the velvet choker, as it may be), here’s a list of everyone you should follow on Instagram to up your hip factor immediately.
Scroll through to see the chic teen designers, artists, models and actresses taking on Instagram.