ELLE’s Annual Hollywood Rising Portfolio

Posted on April 24, 2023


ELLE’s annual Hollywood Rising portfolio celebrates some of the most promising young talents in the business. The 2023 honorees are working with some of the most in-demand directors on the most-anticipated films and most-watched television series of the year including EUPHORIA, ABBOTT ELEMENTARY and YELLOWJACKETS. ELLE’s 2023 Hollywood Rising honorees are: Ever Anderson, Troye Sivan, Ariana Greenblatt, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Madison Bailey, Rachel Sennott, Tyler James Williams, Storm Reid, Kelvin Harrison Jr., and Reneé Rapp. They’re pop stars and treasure hunters; cannibalistic soccer players and charmingly nerdy teachers; celebrated composers and zombie apocalypse survivors. Some are even students at regular schools off-screen.

They’re young, but many of them entered showbusiness even younger. Now they’re managing a difficult balancing act that their more seasoned co-stars aren’t: coming of age at the brink of stardom, figuring out their careers, and themselves, in a very online world—and a very brutal business. What’s clear is their passion for their craft. They have big ambitions—producing, directing—and some have already forged dual careers in music.

Whatever their futures hold, it’s looking bright. Here, get to know these 10 on-the-rise stars and their dreams, from THE SEX LIVES OF COLLEGE GIRLS’ Reneé Rapp, who has her sights set on an EGOT, to BARBIE’s Ariana Greenblatt, who channels her most fearless self by asking, “What would six-year-old Ariana do in this moment?”



Reneé Rapp on how she approaches her work with an intense drive and is upfront about her effort, not disguising the ambition that has powered her since her North Carolina childhood: “I want to be an EGOT one day. Whatever serves that, is what I will happily do… My entire career and life and every f**king of moment of wake that I have is all surrounding how is this going to benefit my music and fulfill the one dream that I have of being a pop star. I’m like, how does this all make this work? From the things I do when I wake up to the things that I do when I go to sleep.”

Reneé Rapp on how she wants to talk about what she calls the “rough stuff” in an industry that is not as inclusive as it claims to be: “I think people are afforded so many more opportunities now, and I’m absolutely not in any way sh**ting on anyone who has knocked down some f**king bridge for me to be where I am today. [But] I think a lot of people are not what they say they are. So many people are like, ‘Oh, we’re creating these opportunities and these spaces.’ It’s actually just a ton of the same people sitting behind the same doors, saying different things because they know it looks better for them,” she says. “It’s really interesting to see, especially over the last two years, as it’s become more of a conversation in white spaces and in cis spaces, how everybody is so publicly supportive yet talks so much s**t in private. I just am always blown away by that.” Rapp has compared notes with friends on other TV shows. They’ve all seen the same things. “We’ve sat down at a table and had conversations about how people are treated, how [treatment can be different from] actor to actor, how they treat people on sets. The s**t you hear is crazy,” she says. “I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard from friends that they’re like, this white man or white woman is writing my plot line—and this is a person of color. Or they’re like, well this straight person is writing my queer story.”

Reneé Rapp on how she has an uncanny ability to harness her pain, rage, and upset to propel her forward: After an awful breakup in 2021—“I was essentially abandoned emotionally by someone I thought was my best friend,” she says—her first call was to her manager. “The second we got off the phone, i.e. we broke up, I called my manager and was like, ‘Oh, this is going to be the best year of my life,’ and he was like, ‘Are you good?’ I was like, ‘No, but this going to be the greatest year of my life.’ It just all made sense. All of a sudden, I didn’t have anybody who was trying to make me feel smaller so that they felt better and I was able to chase literally everything I’ve ever talked about.”




Kevin Harrison Jr. on how he has felt like original characters for Black men were few and far between—hence why he’s gravitated towards biopics – and what he is looking to do next: “Those are the movies that get green-lit,” he says. But now, he wants to head in a completely different direction. “I’m ready to go into more genre spaces like sci-fi and horror,” he says. “I think my next thing is going be more unique and more extraordinary. I’m looking for things that expand the universe. It would also just be fun to see myself in spaces like that. And, honestly, I just want to look at a poster and see myself.” As he reflects on his career thus far, he’s in a state of disbelief. “It’s unreal,” he says. “Every moment feels like, ‘Wow, pinch me.’”




Storm Reid on how one of her frustrations with growing up in Hollywood is that “people automatically associate you with your character and they don’t really get to know you”: The evidence of this phenomenon is all over Reid’s TikTok, where she posts playful dances for her more than 1.9 million followers, only to receive comments like, “Rueee come get Gia she keep acting up.” (This in reference, of course, to Reid’s role as little sister Gia to Zendaya’s Rue in the HBO hit Euphoria.) At the mention of this, Reid rolls her eyes and shrugs. “I am actively showing you Storm,” she says. “And if you are continuing to comment about Gia and June and all the other projects that I’ve been a part of, that’s up to you. I’m presenting myself in the most authentic Storm way.” She’ll admit that, every so often, a particularly creative comment will induce a chuckle, “but at this point, that’s all they comment on TikTok. So it’s just—I’ve become desensitized.”

Storm Reid on how when it comes to Euphoria, she knows better than to wish for a lighter chapter of director Sam Levinson’s series: “From personal experience, dealing with people who have dealt with addiction, it’s really hard to navigate. I would love for the Bennett family to be happy-go-lucky and be eating ice cream in the opening of season 3. I know it just doesn’t work like that.” As for Zendaya, whom Reid says she’s looked up to for “basically my entire childhood,” the Emmy-winning actress has emulated for Reid a particular manner of navigating fame. “She’s consistent, and she’s a good person, and she takes up space in the most beautiful, gentle way,” Reid says.




Tyler James Williams on working with Quinta Brunson—the award-winning creator behind Abbott Elementary, whom Williams met on the set of A Black Lady Sketch Show: “They usually say, ‘Never work with your friends,’” says, “but there are exceptions to that rule… I couldn’t be happier that Abbott happened now and not five or 10 years ago. I know what I’m doing and I’m comfortable with my choices. If I just follow the truth and follow what I know to be real, everything will be fine.”… Now, he feels particularly valued on Brunson’s set. “She pushes me, writing things that I’m afraid of or don’t know if I can pull off,” he says. “What I’ve learned is that working with friends, if done right, stretches you farther than anything else because they want to see you win.”

Tyler James Williams on how his dedication to the show and his character has been reflected back to him by its loyal audience and it has deeply resonated with and been embraced by countless viewers—especially Black men and boys: “What I love the most is the level of vulnerability in their eyes when they talk about [him],” he says. “When they say that they see something in him, I know it’s that thing that they can’t really talk about. It’s the pieces of themselves that they try to hide rather than show.” And for that, he feels a “massive sense of responsibility.” But, he assures me, it’s worth the weight. “The role model stuff is heavy, but I also think we find ourselves in a time where somebody’s gotta live radically enough to give us a path out. So, I love that.”




Rachel Sennott on working on The Idol and being a fan of the use of non-aggressive improv on The Idol set: “It was such a natural process where you discovered things about your character as you were working in a very refreshing way.” And she enjoyed working with Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd. “Honestly, Abel is amazing,” she says. “I’ve been a fan of his music for so long, but I had seen him as a huge pop star who sings all these sexy songs. The character he plays onstage is so different from who he is—he’s just silly and fun to riff with.” And, it turns out, a big fan of craft services, too. “He’ll be like, ‘I heard there are new snacks.’”

Rachel Sennott on how she has no plans to return to Twitter anytime soon—but she’s grateful the platform gave her a voice when the entertainment industry wouldn’t: “If someone tells me they’ve read my tweets since the early days, I feel like I know them; they know my highs and lows for sure. My style of humor was so personal and very open, which I’m not against at all,” she pauses to gather her thoughts, then continues. “I wanted to give myself a little space from that and let myself grow in a different direction. I think I’m at a better place in my life now. You can still be funny when you’re happy.” But even so, she’s kept the receipts, just in case. “I have a bunch [of tweets] in my drafts folder that would make great script notes.”




Madison Bailey on the idea of celebrity and staying authentic: “I don’t advocate for the idolization of celebrities. Celebrities are just people who gained notoriety for doing something they love. I’m still a human. But the message I’m always preaching is to be yourself, so if people don’t get that from me, where’s that message going?” Bailey has certainly gained “celebrity” status, recognized by fans while grocery shopping in sweats (“I’m like, ‘I forgot that I’m somebody, I’m just here to get bread.’”). Still, that hasn’t changed her dedication to authenticity.

Madison Bailey on going on the record about topics that for past generations of stars were considered completely taboo – her pansexual identity and mental health struggles: “I came out at 18, and gained my following at 21,” she says. “It wasn’t exactly a coming out, more like it was a detail when nobody knew anything about me.” Bailey also talks about her borderline personality disorder diagnosis and has been refreshingly open with how her mental health intermingles with her daily life. “I felt less ‘crazy’ post-diagnosis,” she says, using finger quotation marks around the c-word. “It’s comforting to know that my brain is just different, and it was easier to figure out where to go from there.”




Jasmin Savoy Brown on how she’s loved being part of Scream and why she previously didn’t have an interest in horror: “All three options in a Scream movie are solid. You either die, and it’s going to be an epic death. You survive, and that’s amazing, or you’re the killer. So, no matter which hand I’m dealt, every time I’m happy”—she has critiques for the genre. “I was never interested in horror because it was just so straight and white,” she says. “That’s just not interesting to me, aside from my one white woman show a year, which was Big Little Lies and then The White Lotus.”

Jasmin Savoy Brown on her character in Scream VI and how she pushes backs on the tropes: Mindy is the first queer role in the franchise, and in the most recent installment, she and her girlfriend Anika have become fan favorites. “Mindy’s queerness has nothing to do with her character arc, and no one cares. It’s such a big deal, because it’s not a big deal at all,” Savoy Brown says. “I love the idea that some people who would not normally interact with a character like myself are now meeting Mindy in that franchise and hopefully in a way that is pleasant for them.”

Jasmin Savoy Brown on Season 2 of Yellowjackets, as the show gets bloodier and gorier as the girls do eat their teammate, Jackie, who died from extreme cold at the end of the first season, and how throughout the whole series, the actors are confronted with intense or psychologically damaging situations: To help them film the hardest moments, the show had an on-set intimacy coordinator. “It is a mindf**k to ‘eat’ a person,” Savoy Brown says of filming the nauseating moment, revealing the “flesh” they consumed was actually jackfruit stuffed inside a body-like figure. “If someone got an upset stomach, we’d make fun of them, but then go see if they were okay. But I will never eat jackfruit again.”




Ariana Greenblatt on working with Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie on Barbie: “I’ve gotten to work with my dream actors that I would’ve never expected to even meet in my life.” During the audition process, she was just happy to be on Zoom with them both. “My only thought in my head was like, Look, however this goes, just cherish this moment forever [and] the fact that you get to meet these two beautiful, inspiring women just at least once. That’s all I wanted.” When she was cast, Greenblatt’s mom and brother broke the news by surprising her with a Barbie cake and afternoon tea (because she’d be filming in London) while playing the song “Barbie Girl.”




Troye Sivan on his fans: “They dress really well, and they’re really funny, and they are smart and cool and oftentimes queer.” His relationship with them is “this nice two-way street feeling…people are smart and people know when something is genuine and honest. And so never for one second have I even entertained the idea of being like, ‘Maybe I should try and dumb this down,’ or, ‘I’m not really into this, but I think it sounds like it would work on the radio.’ Those aren’t the people that I’m catering to.”

Troye Sivan on how he’s been teasing an upcoming album influenced by life back home in post-lockdown Australia, when he was going out clubbing almost every night: “There was a sense of hope and newness and meeting new people,” he says. “I think this is the most proud I’ve ever been of anything I’ve done.” He’s taken his time with the process, saying that “it’s been a really nice luxury to be able to live with the music.” … While he’s carefully vague about the musical contents, “I think what I feel comfortable saying is that it’s full of hope, which I didn’t know it was going to be when I first started making it. I made an EP during COVID [when] I was really in my feelings, going through a massive breakup, processing all of that and writing about it and I was like, ‘God, am I about to write a whole 12-track album or whatever about this?’” The new music reflects a changed outlook: “I have no idea what the future holds, and that is totally okay. I’m so happy to just be in this moment right now with this person that I just met five minutes ago, or my best friends, or whatever. I felt a really strong sense of humanity and connection, and that was very inspiring to me.”




Ever Anderson on spending eight months filming Peter Pan & Wendy in Canada and the Faroe Islands: “It’s something that I’m never ever going to forget,” she says. While she was pulling long hours, she was also having a bit of fun with her castmates. “We got to play a few pranks on [co-star] Jude Law which was like, oh my God!,” she says. “We had a water gun fight with everyone at the end of main filming.”

Ever Anderson on the way that eight months of filming took her out of her social rhythms, and how she’s working to make it up to her friends: “I can be the person who gets caught up, and I don’t check in like I should be doing. I’ve definitely been trying to work on that,” she says. “I’ve been trying to do everything I can to catch up with my friends while I’m here and not working, so that I keep these connections alive, because I love my friends.”


[Photo Credit: Greg Williams for ELLE Magazine]

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