These famous Black actresses have started their careers early! Appearing in television, film, and theater, these Black actresses have achieved a level of success that many won’t see in a lifetime.
Their passion and talent are visible to everyone who watches them on the big screen! Take a look at our list of some of the hottest young Black actresses under 20.
1. Sofia Wylie, 18 (Birthdate: January 7, 2004)
Born in Arizona, Sofia Wylie began dancing at the age of five. She competed in competitions like America’s Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance. In 2016, she performed on Justin Bieber’s world tour for his album Purpose.
Her acting career took off with her role as Buffy Driscoll in the Disney series Andi Mack, which she played from 2017 to 2019.
Wylie made her film debut in 2019, playing Cory Bailey in the comedy film Back of the Net. The same year, she started playing Gina Porter in High School Musical. She was nominated for a Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Female Star for this role in 2021.
2. Aja Wooldridge, 15 (Birthdate: November 17, 2006)
Despite a rocky start—Aja Wooldridge was born premature, weighing just three pounds—she has become a successful child actress and model.
In 2013, she appeared in the television mini-series Venus Fly Traps. The following year, Wooldridge was cast in the television show Poetry & Life. In 2015, she appeared in the documentary Fatal Attraction and played Jade in the film A Christmas to Remember.
She has performed in the 2016 movies Deficiency Notice and The Substitute Spy and the television mini-series The Closet. Most recently, Wooldridge played Nakita Strone in the fantasy series Ivacain.
3. Priah Ferguson, 15 (Birthdate: October 1, 2006)
Hailing from Georgia, Priah Ferguson first appeared on television in 2016; she played the role of Asia in the show Atlanta. The same year she appeared in three films: Ends, Deus ex Machina, and Suga Water.
In 2017, Ferguson performed in the television series Mercy Street and played Fatima in the show Daytime Divas. She also played the role of Jojo in the movie Perfectville.
She is best known for her role as Erica Sinclair in Stranger Things; she has held this role in the science fiction series since 2017. Ferguson is one of the most promising young Black actresses under 20.
4. Lexi Underwood, 18 (August 28, 2003)
At just 18 years old, Lexi Underwood has appeared in several television series, films, and theater productions. She performed in theatrical versions of A Christmas Carol, Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol, and The Lion King between 2013 and 2015.
First appearing on television in 2014, Underwood had the role of Queen Bee in the science fiction series Person of Interest. She next played Emily Campbell in the medical drama Code Black. The year 2017 saw her appear in several comedy series, including Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger, Disney’s Walk the Prank, and Raven’s Home.
More recently, Underwood played one of the leading roles in the 2020 series Little Fires Everywhere. She also appeared in Criminal Minds that year. In 2022, she played the role of Malia Obama in the drama series The First Lady. She also plays Kira King in the musical comedy Sneakerella.
5. Marsai Martin, 17 (Birthdate: August 14, 2004)
Hailing from Texas, Marsai Martin started her acting career in commercials at the age of five. By 2014, she had landed the role of Diane Johnson in the sitcom Black-ish. Over the past eight years, she has won multiple NAACP Image Awards for her performance in this series.
Martin played Melody Ellison in the film An American Girl Story – Melody 1963: Love Has to Win. She received a BET Award for this role.
Martin produced the 2019 comedy film Little. She also starred in the movie and received an NAACP Image Award for her work. She became the youngest person to produce a studio film, beginning production at the age of 13.
6. Quvenzhane Wallis, 18 (Birthdate: August 28, 2003)
At the tender age of six, Quvenzhane Wallis became the youngest person to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. She was nominated for her role as Hushpuppy in the 2012 fantasy film Beasts of the Southern Wild.
The following year, she played Margaret Northup in the 2013 film 12 Years a Slave. Wallis was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her performance as Annie Bennett in the 2014 film Annie.
She appeared in several episodes of the sitcom Black-ish in 2019 and had a lead role in the 2021 sports drama series Swagger. In addition to her successful acting career, Wallis has also authored four books.
7. Kyliegh Curran, 16 (Birthdate: December 10, 2005)
At 16, Kyliegh Curran has already won awards for her acting abilities. Born in Florida, she starred as Nala in a theater performance of The Lion King when she was ten years old.
In 2019, she had a leading role as Abra Stone in the horror movie Doctor Sleep. She received a Saturn Award for her performance. Since 2021, she has played Harper in the Disney series Secrets of Sulphur Springs.
Curran is currently filming a horror mini-series called The Fall of the House of Usher, which will premiere on Netflix.
8. Taylor Mosby, 19 (Birthdate: December 28, 2002)
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Taylor Mosby is an accomplished actress. She appeared in single episodes of the television series The Middle and Twisted in 2013. From 2014 to 2015, she played the role of Markayla Davis in Criminal Minds.
Mosby played Marie in an episode of Adam Ruins Everything in 2015. She also appeared as Gracie in a 2017 episode of Life in Pieces. In 2018, she played a young Miranda Bailey in the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.
From 2018 to 2021, Mosby played Amira Birkeland in the comedy series The Last O.G. She also had a role as Abby Hughes in the television series A Girl Named Jo in 2019. The same year, she played Chayla in the drama film Breakthrough. Most recently, she played Tracy in the comedy superhero film Thunder Force in 2021.
9. Heaven Hightower, 16 (Birthdate: January 21, 2006)
Starting her acting career at just seven years old, Heaven Hightower has experience in film, television, and theater. In 2017, she appeared as a pageant girl in an episode of Daytime Divas. The following year she played young Monica Stevens in the television mini-series 2REAL4U; she continues to act in this series.
Hightower played the role of Natasha in the 2018 film The Hate U Give. In 2020, she played Zora in the television sitcom The Stocktons. She is currently filming the movie Black Girl Magic, in which she plays the character Heaven.
10. Nia Johnson, 15 (Birthdate: March 10, 2007)
Born in Texas, Nia Johnson has performed in film, television, and theater. In 2015, she played a young Anuli in the short film Red Pearl. She appeared in Into The Light the following year, another short film.
In 2017, Johnson played Frankie in the movie A Fish Tale and also appeared in the short film Biomass. She played one episode in the television series Badge of a Quitter in 2018 and played Minnie in the 2019 short film Lillian.
Johnson played a young ‘Nique in the television series Paradise Lost in 2020. She has also performed in several theater shows, including lead roles in Into The Woods, Toy Makers Dream, and Fences.
11. Lyric Ross, 18 (Birthdate: September 30, 2003)
Born in Illinois, Lyric Ross began acting at the young age of five. In 2015, she appeared in an episode of Chicago Fire and one episode of the television show Sirens. In 2017, she began playing Deja Pearson in the hit drama series This Is Us.
Her performance in This Is Us led to her receiving a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2019. She has also been nominated for six other awards, including a BET Award, NAACP Image Awards, and a Teen Choice Award.
Ross appeared in the 2017 film Rogers Park and the movie Canal Street in 2018. Currently, she has roles in the 2022 films Wendell & Wild and The Class. Ross’s talent makes her one of the top young Black actresses under 20.
12. Sanai Victoria, 15 (Birthdate: January 15, 2007)
Born in California, Sanai Victoria started acting when she was seven years old. In 2015, she made a guest appearance as Cousin Diamond on the television series Black-ish. The following year she played Emma in an episode of Girl Meets World.
In 2018, she landed a recurring role as Lynn on the series The Paynes. She also played Tamika on the television show No-Good Nick in 2019. She appeared in one episode of Modern Family in 2019, playing the role of Vera.
Between 2020 and 2021, Victoria played Melissa in the television series Diary of a Future President. She made her first film appearance in the 2022 movie Summering. She plays Jasmine in the current series That Girl Lay Lay.
Victoria has also done voice acting for several television series. These include Vampirina, Madagascar: A Little Wild, Whisker Haven Tales with the Palace Pets, and Little People.
13. Mirabelle Lee, 15 (Birthdate: January 9, 2007)
Born in Philadelphia, Mirabelle Lee worked as a child model before getting started with acting. Her first role was in the crime film Blood Ties in 2013. She had her first television appearance the same year, acting in an episode of the series Umizoomi.
She has appeared in several television series between 2014 and 2018, including Veep, Madam Secretary, The Blacklist, and Puffy. She landed a recurring role in Unleashed in 2020. Lee had guest appearances on B Positive and Sydney to the Max in 2021.
She is currently working on a new television series called Saturdays, in which she plays the character Sonya Stevens.
14. Storm Reid, 18 (Birthdate: July 3, 2003)
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Storm Reid made her acting debut in 2013. She played the role of Emily in the drama film 12 Years a Slave. She also appeared in the movies Sleight in 2016 and A Happening of Monumental Proportions in 2017.
Her career took off in 2018 when she landed the role of Meg Murry in A Wrinkle in Time. She was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a Teen Choice Award for her performance in this adventure film.
Since then, she has also appeared in the thriller Don’t Let Go, the horror flick The Invisible Man, and the superhero film The Suicide Squad. Her television work includes performances on Euphoria, NCIS: Los Angeles, and Chicago P.D.
15. Anais Lee, 15 (Birthdate: January 9, 2007)
Born in Philadelphia, Anais Lee began working as a model at the age of three. She had her first appearance in film in 2013, playing the role of Janie in the crime movie Blood Ties; her twin sister Mirabelle shared the role.
Lee had a recurring role as Rose in the television series The Following in 2015 and Unleashed in 2020. More recently, she played Jessi Ramsey on The Baby-Sitters Club and Steph Greene in The Upshaws.
Other film appearances include The Truth About Lies in 2018, and The Sun Is Also a Star in 2019. As one of the best young Black actresses under 20, Lee is sure to have more in store for fans.
16. Gia Carter, 17 (Birthdate: January 27, 2005)
Born in New Jersey, Gia Carter is an accomplished actress and director. She played the role of Charlotte in the 2018 short comedy film Stage Fright. The same year, she appeared as Sara in the dramatic short film Done.
Carter also appeared in the 2019 romantic drama Waves. In 2018, Carter started a YouTube video series entitled “Gia’s Vegan Kitchen,” now called GG’s Kitchen. Episodes include baking, cooking, grocery shopping, and eating at restaurants on a vegan diet.
17. Jillian Estell, 17 (Birthdate: June 9, 2004)
Actress Jillian Estell had her first television performance in the police drama Chase. She played the character Gabriella Dawes in 2010. Her debut film appearance was in 2013 when she won the role of Darlene in the comedy-drama So This Is Christmas.
She starred alongside Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer in the 2014 film Black or White. Over 1,000 girls competed for the role of Eloise Anderson, who Estell played. In 2016, she had a recurring role in the romantic drama series The Night Shift.
Estell has also been featured in the documentary series Teens Wanna Know between 2017 and 2019. Other television series that she has appeared on as herself include Marcus & Joni, Today, Storyline Online, and The Melody Trice Show.
Top Young Black Actresses Under 20, Final Thoughts
It’s clear that these actresses have what it takes to make it in Hollywood despite their young age.
Whether they are starring as the lead character or acting in a supporting role, these young Black women have shown us how brilliant they are! We can’t wait to see what they do next.