From Kim Jong-un to Kim Kardashian – the world’s most powerful millennials


From Kim Kardashian to Kim Jong-un, we look at some of the biggest movers and shakers aged 20-35

For some, millennials are the cursed generation who would prefer to concentrate on taking 2,000 selfies a year than anything else.

For others, including many millennials themselves, they are the generation coming to terms with being the first in the history of the western world to be worse off than their parents.

And then there are the exceptions: the power millennials, who have made a dramatic difference to the world in the relatively short time they have existed on it.

From the entrepreneurs, who have radically changed the way we communicate to the individuals who have prematurely inherited dictatorships, we look at some of the planets most powerful people aged 20-35.

Kim Jong-un

The 33-year-old North Korean ruler, with a penchant for nuclear explosions, inspecting submarines and the odd cheeky cigarette, took the reins of the pariah state when his father, Kim Jong-il, died suddenly in 2011.

IBTimes UK (@IBTimesUK) October 31, 2014

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The young, Kim who is not averse to executing family members, celebrated his birthday in January with the countrys fourth nuclear test. A few weeks later he shot a rocket into the sky, triggering international condemnation and threats of further sanctions against the isolated state.

Despite early hopes that Kim may have been willing to open up the country to the rest of the world, North Koreas preferred nuclear diplomacy seems here to stay.

Mark Zuckerberg

We have got to the point in the modern world where you can look back on your life in two distinct periods of time: pre-Facebook and post-Facebook.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photograph: Kay Nietfeld/AP

What started as a social network for Mark Zuckerbergs Harvard University classmates quickly ballooned to be one of the biggest websites in the world, used by 1.5 billion people 20% of the worlds population.

So ubiquitous is Facebook that people now use it to document every aspect of their lives. The platform has been used by activists to organise some of the worlds biggest protests and to Facebook someone is now seen as an acceptable verb to some (ie. millennials). For his troubles, 31-year-old Zuckerberg, is now worth $46.7bn.

Justin Bieber

The Canadian pop stars journey from teen YouTube sensation to international sex symbol has involved more than 50 tattoos, accusations of monkey cruelty and helping a babysitter land a modelling contract by Instagramming her photo with the words: OMG, who is this?

At just 22, Bieber is said to be worth $200m; he has smashed records held by the Beatles, and Drake, for having the most songs in the Billboard Hot 100 chart 17 in one week and can can proudly boast 60 million Instagram followers. A force to #belieb in.

Mohammed bin Salman

He actually knows what PlayStation is, may not be quite the badge of pride for all millennials, but for the 30-year-old deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia the comment from one of his supporters should serve as a reminder that he is dramatically more in tune with the general population than the head of his family: 80-year-old King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Mohammed bin Salman, defence minister. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Mohammed bin Salman, who also serves as a defence minister, has recently made a series of power moves that have caused the world to stand up and take notice: from presiding over the war in Yemen to efforts to fix the countrys economic woes.

His cousin, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, stands next in line for the loyal leadership. But some Game of Thones-esque rumours suggest Salman may surpass him to become the most powerful man in the Arab world. How will he cope? Perhaps Kim can offer some tips?

Beyonc Knowles

Mrs Carter, Queen Bey or just plain Beyonc whatever you choose to call the pop powerhouse there is no denying the strength of the 34-year-olds economic and social capital.

Multi-award winner Beyonc. Photograph: Armando Arorizo/Zuma/PA

She is the highest-ranked millennial on the Forbes 100 most powerful women list, coming in at number 21. Her last tour with rapper and music mogul husband Jay-Z (aged 46, so not a millennial) grossed more than $100m. Together the couple have a combined net worth of $1bn.

And, with its New Orleans police cars and stop shooting us graffiti, her most recent video, Formation, was welcomed by the Black Lives Matter movement as a valuable contribution to the cause.

Kim Kardashian

Ever since the cameras invaded the home of the Kardashian family (where everything is spelt with a K), the socialite best known for a sex tape scandal has become an unstoppable global force.

Kim Kardashian, second most-followed Instagrammer. Photograph: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

The second most-followed person on Instagram, eclipsed only by Taylor Swift, is married to rapper Kanye West and can legitimately add model, fashion designer and author to her CV.

The 35-year-old (she only just makes the millennial grade) is said to be worth $52.5m and can proudly say she started the celeb-emojis craze with Kimoji, a digital pack of emoticons including a pregnant Kim, and Kims infamous behind in a swimsuit, reportedly making $1m a minute when it launched. A host of hip-hop heavyweights have followed suit.

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta

Known to the entire human race as Lady Gaga. The jazz-art-pop-punk-actress-fashion-magazine-editor-and-columnist!, as she describes herself on her Instagram bio, is best known for using the world stage to champion the rights of people less able to speak for themselves.

Lady Gaga attends the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

She performed with sexual assault survivors at this years Oscars, has been celebrated as an LGBT hero, set up a foundation to help young people feel comfortable in their own skin and is primed for her acting debut in a film about addiction.

The 29-year-old is equally as renowned for her fashion bravery see the meat dress, riot police and lamp shade look books is said to be worth $59m. The true value of the Lady Gaga package? Priceless.

Lupita Nyongo

Lupita Nyongo was virtually unknown until her 30s when she won the worlds hearts and minds and an Oscar, for her supporting role in 12 Years a Slave.

Her career has gone from strength to strength: she was cast in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a film version of the Jungle Book and a film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies 2013 novel Americanah. Of course she was everybody loves Lupita, wrote Bim Adewunmi, who proudly named her crush of the year in 2014.

Oscar winner Lupita Nyongo. Photograph: Variety/Rex/Shutterstock

Shortly after clinching the Oscar in 2014, People Magazine named Nyongo the most beautiful woman in the world only the fourth time it had been given to a woman of colour since the awards began in 1990.

The Mexican-Kenyan artist is a modern style icon, the face of beauty brand Lancme and recently celebrated her 33rd birthday on the same day as Bieber.

Ekaterina Tikhonova

Remember when President Vladimir Putin introduced his daughter on the world stage? No? Thats because it never happened.

The identity of the youngest offspring of the most powerful man in Russia was, until very recently, a closely guarded secret.

In January last year, opposition journalist Oleg Kashin published an article called She in which he claimed that the acrobatic rocknroll dancer who had once represented Russia at an international dance tournament was in fact Putins daughter.

Katerina Tikhonova

Further media reports suggested that the 29-year-old, who uses her grandmothers surname, is married to Kirill Shamalov, the son of one of her fathers good mates. If it turns out to be true their assets could be worth up to $2bn.

While the Kremlin is yet to comment on her true identity, theres probably no harm in getting yourself acquainted with some fresh faces in Russias elite.

Neymar da Silva Santos Jnior

Almost as prolific on Instagram as he is on the football field, the 24-year-old Brazilian captain and Barcelona footballer is most commonly known as Neymar Jr.

While fellow millennials Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are considered the best players in the world, Neymars early reputation as a YouTube sensation: part anime-footballer, part agent provocateur; flash haircut and flasher skills firmly cements him on this power list.

He has since proved himself to be the ultimate team player, according to the Guardians sports writer Sean Ingle.

His total earnings were $31m last year, a number expected to rise dramatically as his career peaks, said Forbes, who have likened his financial model to marketing juggernaut David Beckham.

And while his fans were excited to see him wishing a fellow powerful millennial happy birthday on Twitter recently Bieber is yet to reply.

Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) March 1, 2016

Happy birthday @justinbieber

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