There are young people of all ages who dream of making it big in Tinseltown. These starry-eyed hopefuls sit in front of their laptops streaming the latest awards shows to get a glimpse of glamour and fame. For most, Hollywood recognition is simply a whimsical fantasy, but for a select few, their dreams are a reality. 

Sure, there’s a lot to be said about the talent and finesse of older actors like Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, or Al Pacino with decades of experience. However, sometimes age really is just a number. This is particularly true of the young actors and actresses in their 20s who have the acting chops to carry a whole critically acclaimed television series or an Oscar-winning feature film. Stars like Zendaya, Jenna Ortega, Jharrel Jerome, and Timothée Chalamet are just some of the actors whose careers might have the success and longevity of the icons before them. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the glitz of awards shows and forget the processes that these budding artists have gone through to get where they are today. What audiences don’t see are the sometimes grueling, long days on set, the hundreds of unrecognized auditions, and the years of both formal and informal training that make these actors stellar and globally noteworthy. It takes a lot of grit to stay relevant, continue to impress, and rise through the ranks, especially at such formative ages, because the competition nowadays is fierce. 

From child stars who were able to break the mold of typecasting to college grads who weren’t born into the industry, the following actors aren’t at the top of their game by chance. They each have a unique drive, talent, and character perspective that captivates audiences of all ages on the big and small screens. These are the top actors in their 20s.