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This story first appeared in the Nov. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
LUPITA NYONG’O, 30
Hot project: Best picture frontrunner 12 Years a Slave.
Unique provenance: Born in Mexico, raised in Kenya.
Showbiz start: Worked as a PA on the 2005 Africa-set feature The Constant Gardener.
Big break: Landing the role of Patsey in 12 Years three weeks before graduating from the Yale School of Drama.
Best career advice: “Only be an actor if you feel there is nothing else in the world that you want to do.”
TAYLOR SCHILLING, 29
Hot project: Netflix’s prison dramedy Orange Is the New Black.
Education: New York University
Big break: Getting the lead in NBC’s [hospital drama] Mercy just out of school.
Inspirations: Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange and Gena Rowlands
When I’m not working: I’m in the back of a hardware store or having scrambled eggs with friends.
If I weren’t acting, I’d be: In a psychiatric hospital.
MILES TELLER, 26
Hot projects: James Ponsoldt‘s hit 2013 indie The Spectacular Now, 2014’s Divergent with Spectacular‘s Shailene Woodley.
Hometown: Downingtown, Pa.
Growing up, I wanted to be: A baseball player.
Big break: Rabbit Hole
I get starstruck around: Athletes. I saw Kobe Bryant at a CAA party. That was surreal.
If I weren’t acting, I’d be A struggling musician.
My proudest moment in 2013: Having my entire family at Sundance with me.
BELLA THORNE, 16
Hot project: 2014’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day with Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner.
Hometown: Miami Beach
Big break: I was the first and only child to ever be a spokesperson for Texas Instruments.
I get starstruck around: Quentin Tarantino and J.J. Abrams.
Craziest thing I’ve done to get a role: Convincing Disney, at 12, that I could do the job of the [teen] actors they were casting.
JAMES WOLK, 28
Hot project: CBS’ Robin Williams comedy The Crazy Ones and AMC’s Mad Men.
Hometown: Farmington Hills, Mich.
Growing up, I wanted to be: An illustrator like Norman Rockwell.
I get starstruck around: People I grew up watching (Robin Williams).
When I’m not working: I’m running.
If I weren’t acting, I’d be: A lawyer or doctor. My Jewish grandparents are still hoping I’ll find my way to graduate school.
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