Meet the Young Influentials Changing Your WorldAll under 40, these superstars of media, marketing, technology and consumer brands are redefining ambition and achievement
The Girl: Lena Dunham, creator and star, Girls
One could be forgiven for thinking that Lena Dunham, 26, who writes, produces and stars in HBO’s hit Girls, is some version of her character—a self-absorbed, brainmeltingly pretentious hipster-writer wannabe. But in person, Dunham is friendly and modest and seems perpetually surprised by all the attention—despite being heralded as "the voice of her generation." (Adweek has talked to her a few times in the past, but HBO currently has the multihyphenate sequestered following a post-Golden Globes press marathon). “Nobody learns faster than Lena,” says Jenni Konner, who writes and produces for Girls.
Konner has supported Dunham both on and off the set—defending her vigorously in Adweek's sister pub, The Hollywood Reporter, after a particularly nasty New York Post column criticizing Dunham’s looks. “[What makes the show good is] her honesty in sharing sort of the darkness in her life and the humor of humiliation and terrible mistakes, and I think everyone can relate to those kind of feelings,” Konner says. The show has plenty of other advocates, among them Ryan Seacrest, who tells Adweek: “I think all guys should watch it so we can glean from it and learn more about girls.” —Sam Thielman