11 Celebrities and Influencers Raising the Bar for Creativity in 2017

Meet the multi-talented stars of Adweek's Creative 100

Donald Glover has become one of today's most versatile and in-demand talents.
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Hollywood has no shortage of talents who excel in their crafts, but the rarest joy is to find a celebrity or rising star who seems capable of doing almost anything—and doing it well.

Each year, Adweek’s Creative 100—our list of the most creative professionals in America—honors 10 celebs and influencers who represent the best of the artistic, innovative spirit coming out of television, film, music and more.

Our list is new each year with no repeat honorees, meaning you’ll definitely want to check out our 2015 and 2016 lists, which included stars who’ve risen far higher since, such as Chance the Rapper and Legion creator Noah Hawley.

Here are our picks for 2017:

 

Issa Rae
Actor, Writer, Director, Producer

With an HBO series based off her successful web series and book, Rae provides a fresh voice to the comedy scene. Her insightful point of view and background in production as a woman of color fuel her relatable and honest sense of humor.

Recently, thanks to an unofficial social media campaign across Tumblr and Twitter, Rae was named the writer of a feature heist/action film starring Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o. In previous speeches, Rae has thanked her mother for their shared sense of awkwardness, which seems to continue to inspire her projects and success throughout her career.
Sami Main

 

Jordan Peele
Actor, Writer, Director

Get Out, a 2017 horror film he wrote, co-produced and directed, became the second biggest R-rated horror movie in North America. It earned over $165 million in domestic sales as of April, and the departure from Peele’s usual medium of comedy showed that his talents are far more wide-ranging than casual fans might have thought.

As one half of the comedy and sketch duo Key and Peele, he helped create sketches for Comedy Central before the pair starred in Keanu, a feature-length film also written by Peele.

“Get Out was totally a passion project,” Peele said in an interview with Fandango. “I didn’t think it was ever gonna get made, but it was just fun to write.”
Sami Main

 

Alexander Wang
Fashion Designer

In an industry where designers come and go faster than you can say Anna Wintour, 33-year-old Alexander Wang has managed to stay atop the fashion pyramid for more than a decade. The reigning king of New York’s cool kids and “models off duty,” Wang launched his first collection to massive critical acclaim in 2006, winning the coveted CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize in 2008, and he hasn’t slowed down since.

In addition to designing his wildly popular namesake collection and a diffusion line, T by Alexander Wang, the fashion wunderkind spent three years as creative director for legendary label Balenciaga, launched a sold-out capsule with H&M, designed a line of furniture with Poltrona Frau, and last year, kicked off an ongoing collaboration with Adidas Originals.

In 2016, the Alexander Wang business turned over $150 million in revenues, growing at double-digit percentages annually, according to Business of Fashion.
Emma Bazilian

 

Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij
TV and Film Collaborators

In Hollywood, the phrase “frequent collaborators” is usually used to describe directors and their favorite character actors, or recurring costars with comedic chemistry. But for Marling and Batmanglij, the definition goes much deeper, and the results of their years-long partnership have been some of the most creative TV and film ideas in recent memory.

The two vaulted to fame in late 2016 with the debut of Netflix’s The OA, which they developed and wrote together. Marling starred in the surreal and addictive show (which Adweek’s TV Hot List named the year’s Hottest Binge), while Batmanglij directed each episode.

This story first appeared in the June 12, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.