The Top 10 Film Actresses Under the Age of 30

The future is now for these young actresses. They’ve been stealing the screen in some of the best films from the past decade, all before hitting the age of 30. Sure, they’ve made appearances in award-worthy films across the board (which blossoming star hasn’t worked with Greta Gerwig?), but these 10 actresses take bold roles as well – from the blackest of black comedies to the goriest of horror flicks. Here are the female stars you need to be paying attention to, because they’re going to dominate the film conversation for years to come.

10. Elle Fanning

Age: 23
Films: The Neon Demon, 20th Century Women, The Beguiled, Super 8

Elle Fanning is transitioning well from a child star to a reputable young actress, and it’s come on the back of a few solid roles in recent years. She’s effortlessly maintained her stature in dramas The Beguiled and 20th Century Women, as well as artsy horror flick The Neon Demon – a film I hated but can salvage for Elle’s feminine punch as the lead alone. The 23 year old has stayed busy over the past half-decade, staying relevant in the film medium with several roles a year. Her sister Dakota is still arguably the bigger name, but I prefer Elle as an actress.

9. Hailee Steinfeld

Age: 25
Films: The Edge of Seventeen, True Grit, Begin Again, Bumblebee

How exactly do you follow up an Oscar nod at age 14? Hailee Steinfeld has figured that out, judging from her filmography since 2010’s True Grit (as well as a burgeoning music career with the single “Starving”). The Edge of Seventeen is her most career-defining role behind Mattie Ross, but the brown-haired 20-something knows how to reach a big audience. She hopped aboard several Pitch Perfect films, a Transformers sequel, and – most recently – the Marvel train with the Hawkeye TV series. Hailee’s in the limelight, and it’s going to stay that way.

8. Zendaya

Age: 25
Films: Spider-Man films, Dune, Malcolm & Marie, The Greatest Showman

She’s well known as M.J. in the new Spider-Man movies, but Zendaya is much more than another Marvel love interest. The California actress – full name Zendaya Coleman – is an artist of the highest order, recently flexing her muscle in the sci-fi thriller Dune and brooding romance Malcolm & Marie (as well as the conversation-dominating HBO show Euphoria). She began her career on the Disney Channel and has traveled far and wide since. Arguably the most well-known young black actress in Hollywood, Zendaya has earned her mononymous title.

7. Chloe Grace Moretz

Age: 25
Films: The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Carrie, Kick-Ass, Suspiria

Back in the early 2010s, it looked like Chloe Grace Moretz was going to be a Natalie Portman-level dignitary – emerging on the scene in her teens but maintaining a steady consistency beyond that. While the heyday of her career remains the years in which she starred in (500) Days of Summer and Kick-Ass, Chloe still stands as one of my favorite 20-something stars. Her performances in the remake of Carrie and The Miseducation of Cameron Post in 2018 assure she’s settling into her career as a young adult quite nicely – and she just turned 25.

6. Olivia Cooke

Age: 28
Films: Sound of Metal, Thoroughbreds, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Ouija

Two words: bleached eyebrows. Olivia Cooke says a lot that her light brows can’t in Sound of Metal, and it was the first time I realized this British actress could be a star. But her strong acting gigs don’t end there, as she’s tried her hand in a multitude of genres – including the black comedy of Thoroughbreds, the teen drama of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and the horror of Ouija. Whether Olivia has blonde brows or a shaved head, she maintains strength and elegance in her screentime, and she’s gone a long way in her acting career before hitting the age of 30.

5. Thomasin McKenzie

Age: 21
Films: Jojo Rabbit, Last Night in Soho, The Power of the Dog, Old

In just two movies, Thomasin McKenzie went from next-to-unknown to New Zealand’s next big thing. Her roles in 2019’s Jojo Rabbit and 2021’s Last Night in Soho broke her out big time – and deservedly so. Thomasin’s petite stature and soft voice bring out plenty of emotion, a perfect foil to the dark, decrepit environments of the thrillers she’s starred in. Ultimately, it was Scarlett Johansson who was nominated for Jojo Rabbit, but the 21 year old Thomasin has plenty of time to catch up.

4. Kathryn Newton

Age: 25
Films: Freaky, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Pokemon Detective Pikachu

I believe in Kathryn Newton supremacy. Seriously, how has she been in everything these past five years and I’ve just now noticed? After playing memorable support roles in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Lady Bird, Big Little Lies, and Supernatural, the brow-tabulous blonde is onto bigger and better things. Recently, Freaky and The Map of Tiny Perfect Things broke her out as a bona fide lead star. She’s got the Kubrick stare down, proving she can play a serial killer with the same power as she can a teenage girl. Kathryn slays – literally.

3. Anya Taylor-Joy

Age: 25
Films: The Witch, Last Night in Soho, Thoroughbreds, Split

Anya Taylor-Joy is the new Emma Stone: gorgeous eyes, a deep voice, and hair that looks good in any color. But there’s much more to everybody’s favorite TV chess player than her cupid’s bow. Beyond The Queen’s Gambit, she’s a sensational film actress who’s unafraid to get her hands dirty. With stellar performances in The Witch, Thoroughbreds, Split, and Last Night in Soho, Anya dominates the genres of thriller and horror. The 25 year old has already made quite the name for herself in film and television, and she has quite a bright future in front of her.

2. Saoirse Ronan

Age: 27
Films: Little Women, Lady Bird, Brooklyn, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Saoirse Ronan has been an acting prodigy from a young age, inserting herself in the Academy Award acting race multiple times by the time she was 21 (2007’s Atonement and 2015’s Brooklyn). Since then, she’s only continued her awards run, with two Best Actress nominations in Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and Little Women. Perhaps it’s the fact that she’s been working with some of the premier filmmakers in the industry – from Gerwig to Wes Anderson to Joe Wright. But the Irish actress is an unquestionable heavyweight when it comes to dramatic roles.

1. Florence Pugh

Age: 26
Films: Midsommar, Little Women, Black Widow, Fighting with My Family

Imagine being a scream queen, a Marvel action hero, and an Academy Award nominee – all before your 30th birthday. That’s Florence Pugh for you, and she shows no signs of slowing down. The Oxford native is a megastar in the making, if she isn’t already. She has the versatility to dive into a horror, action, or drama role – you name the genre, and she can carry the movie. After stealing the screen in Midsommar, Black Widow, and Little Women, the possibilities are endless. She’s even become a social media cooking star. Is there anything Flo can’t do?

Runners Up:

  • Millie Bobby Brown
  • Kaitlyn Dever
  • Beanie Feldstein
  • Maika Monroe
  • Haley Lu Richardson

Featured Image Credit: Florence Pugh (Edward Berthelot/Getty Images), Kathryn Newton (Brian Douglas/Universal), Elle Fanning (Amazon Studios/Broad Green Pictures)

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