Since starting her blog Style Rookie at the tender age of 11, the now-15-year-old has taken the fashion world by storm: she’s inspired a line of designer duds from Rodarte, snagged a spot in the front row at runway shows and reviewed collections for Harper’s Bazaar. Now she’s conquering publishing, too. Working with established editors like Jane Pratt of Sassy, Gevinson launched Rookie, an online magazine for teen girls. Even the Grey Lady took notice: the young media mogul’s launch was covered in the New York Times.
Like him or not, razor-tongued tastemaker Simon Cowell knows talent when he sees it. So when he signed a deal with the 10-year-old Toronto singer, she was anointed the next big thing. Like Justin Bieber, Russell’s singing attracted thousands of views on YouTube, where she can be seen performing You’re Beautiful, a song she wrote when she was all of eight; her voice, which sounds mature beyond her years, has fans comparing her to Mariah Carey. If Cowell has his way, Russell will be the next Canadian Idol.
The LPGA limits membership to those 18 or older, but it waived the rule to admit the 16-year-old golf phenom from Coral Springs, Fla. In September, Thompson handily won the Navistar LPGA Classic—making her the youngest LPGA tournament winner ever. The franchise is now counting on this photogenic teen athlete to boost flagging interest in women’s golf. Unfazed, Lexi said, “I’m just going to go out there and do what I love, and try and do my best.”
KATIE VAN DER SLOOT AND RACHEL BROWN
Noticing that antibacterial products are everywhere today, the best friends from Medicine Hat, Alta., started investigating triclosan (a microbe-fighting ingredient) as part of a science project. Finding triclosan-resistant bacteria in local water systems, their research suggests it could contribute to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They won a bronze medal at the national science fair in Toronto in May, and a UNESCO award, which brought them to a global youth science fair in Slovakia in July. These two young scientists are now fine-tuning their work, and planning a national petition against triclosan. “We want our work to have a real impact,” Rachel says.
KATHRYN AURORA GRAY
When she became the youngest person ever to find a supernova, the 10-year-old amateur astronomer from Fredericton became a star in her own right. Her father, Paul, is an astronomy buff, too; he helped her with the discovery by ruling out the possibility that her find was an asteroid, or a previously known supernova (which is an exploding star). The supernova Gray discovered is a mind-boggling 240 million light years away. But she says she doesn’t want to be an astronaut, preferring to observe the stars from the ground.
The 14-year-old from Buffalo, N.Y., used to spend hours adjusting the look of characters in her NHL game for PlayStation 3, trying to make each resemble her own all-girls hockey team, the Purple Eagles. But while her younger brother could craft a player that looked like him, she could never pull it off, because all the available characters were men. Lexi wrote a letter to Electronic Arts (EA), one of the biggest video-game makers in the world. Seeing it as a wake-up call, execs decided to include a female character in the latest version of the game—one modelled after Lexi. Playing the latest version of EA’s game, Lexi took to the ice as the first female player ever to be featured.
When Lady Gaga saw a video clip of the 10-year-old Winnipeger adorably covering her song Born This Way, she took to Twitter: “Can’t stop crying watching this. This is why I make music. She is the future.” Living up to the prediction, Maria went on to duet with Gaga herself onstage in Toronto. Wearing sparkly black tights and a leather jacket, the young musician sat on her idol’s lap as they performed. When the song was over, Maria hoisted her orange stuffed monkey in the air and gave a shout-out to her family and friends.
In Grade 6, the Barnwell, Alta., native decided she was going to raise money to help school kids in Nepal, where the low cost of living makes it cheap to build. By appealing to her friends, family and peers through grassroots efforts, Sam managed to raise $32,000; working with the Calgary West Rotary Club, she’s now trying to raise another $15,000 for school supplies. “My theory is that life is like a lottery and we got the winning ticket, but you could share your prize with everyone,” she told the Globe and Mail.