Singer Lizzo named among 50 ‘new generation innovators’

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

Sex Education actor Ncuti Gatwa, music star Lizzo and disabled rights activist Sarah Gordy have been hailed as next generation innovators in their respective fields.

They feature on a new list recognising 50 “game-changers” who are shaking up the worlds of entertainment, beauty, fashion, politics, culture and technology curated by Elle magazine.

Called the Elle List 2019, it also includes the likes of American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – who at 29 is the youngest woman ever elected to US congress – Irish singer and actress Jessie Buckley, Widows actress Cynthia Erivo, activist Gina Martin, transgender actress Indya Moore and schoolgirl climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa (Ian West/PA)

The innovators were chosen by a panel including Elle magazine’s editor-in-chief Farrah Storr, actress Michaela Coel and model and activist Leomie Anderson.

They were each picked for their work in “reframing” the arenas in which they work, and for using their talents and platforms to change the world and make it a better place.

Those chosen to appear in the list are further propelled into the public eye through the publication, and will be celebrated at a VIP party in June.

Gatwa plays a gay black teenager in Netflix comedy drama series Sex Education alongside Gillian Anderson and Asa Butterfield, and has been praised for his portrayal of the character.

He said: “The script had a section explaining how complex he is … At the bottom, it said: ‘This character must be hysterical!!!'”

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg made the Elle List 2019 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Singer-songwriter, rapper and flautist Lizzo released her major label debut album earlier this year to critical acclaim, and is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the music world, appearing at Coachella for the first time in April and is an advocate for body positivity and self-love.

Gordy, a British actress who has Down’s syndrome, was awarded an MBE last year for her services to the arts and people with disabilities.

Best known for her role as Lady Pamela Holland in the BBC TV series Upstairs Downstairs, she has also appeared in Call The Midwife and Strike, and is a celebrity ambassador for the charity Mencap.

Gordy said: “Each person is represented as the individual they are.

“People have a tendency to group us, but everyone is different. I’m trying to break down barriers, change attitudes and give people with Down’s syndrome their human rights.”

Sarah Gordy (Steve Parsons/PA)

Martin has been a major force in the laws around upskirting being changed, after being upskirted at a festival in 2017.

She said she thinks everyone is becoming an activist “because we’re so tired”.

Other names on the list include fashion designer Bethany Williams, comedian Lolly Adefope, The Verge actress Niamh Algar, the Black Girl Fest collective, footballer Lucy Bronze and documentary maker Alice Aedy.

Elle’s editor-in-chief Storr said: “Elle has a long history of unearthing some of the fashion and art world’s greatest talents, as well as giving a home to some of our strongest and most original new voices.

“This year’s Elle List, in association with Magnum, is a tribute to the people Elle believe are shaping and will continue to shape the cultural landscape and conversation for today and for years to come.”

The Elle List 2019 is in the July issue of Elle UK magazine, available from Thursday May 30.