Olivia Rodrigo to Leo Messi: 22 people to watch in 2022

Artists, athletes, activists and leaders
Who will help shape 2022?
Hibatullah Akhundzada
The future of Afghanistan
Gabriel Boric
Redifining Latin American politics
Austin Butler
Playing Elvis
Stephen Curry
Becoming a NBA legend
Viola Davis
Writing her memoirs
Jennifer Egan
Manhattan Beach
Kathy Hochul
Bigger and better things
Kylian Mbappé
From PSG to el Real?
Lionel Messi
Adios, Leo
Lil Nas X
'Montero' and more
Nemonte Nenquimo
Champion of the Earth
Tulio de Oliveira
Far from over
Naomi Osaka
The best since Serena Williams
Robert Pattinson
The Batman
Leni Robredo
The future of the Philippines
Olivia Rodrigo
Same level as Taylor Swift
Olaf Scholz
Tough act to follow
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
The Brazilian comeback
Anya Taylor-Joy
Chess queen and videogame princess
Frans Timmermans
The European Green Deal
Xi Jinping
The last emperor of China?
Éric Zemmour
Leading France
Artists, athletes, activists and leaders

2021 was meant to be the year that humanity would defeat Covid-19. Instead, variants like Delta and Omicron remind us that the virus is far from gone.

Who will help shape 2022?

That doesn’t mean that 2022 isn't full of expectations, though. It’s only that the up and coming politicians, activists, rookie athletes, and rising artists are facing a world and a time very different from the recent past. Let's see some of the names that might have a role in shaping in 2022.

Hibatullah Akhundzada

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan after the retreat of US troops was one of the biggest shocks of 2021 and Hibatullah Akhundzada is now the country's new leader.

 

Photo: Aljazeera

The future of Afghanistan

The dust is still settling following the Taliban's takeover. Still, one thing is certain: Hibatullah Akhundzada, religious and political leader of the Taliban and de facto head of state of the country, will be a crucial figure to define Afghanistan's fate.

Gabriel Boric

At age 35, Chilean president-elect Gabriel Boric is one of the youngest heads of state in the world.

Redifining Latin American politics

This millennial leftist is riding high on the wave of discontent against the conservative government of Sebastián Piñera, and with him is the promise of a change of paradigm within Latin American politics.

Austin Butler

Actor and singer Austin Butler made himself a name starring in teen comedies like 'Zoey 101' and 'The Carrie Diaries'.

Playing Elvis

The 30-year-old performer, who shared the screen with Brad Pitt in 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood', will star in Baz Luhrmann's 'Elvis', along with Tom Hanks, and set to premiere in mid-2022.

Stephen Curry

Golden State Warriors point Stephen Curry set a new 3 pointers record in December 2021 a new record, a few months after breaking another record, formerly held by Kobe Bryant.

Becoming a NBA legend

The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player is on his way to cementing himself as a legend, on equal standing to Michael Jordan or LeBron James.

Viola Davis

Viola Davis stood out in movies like Fences and 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom', and on television with 'How To Get Away with Murder'.

Writing her memoirs

The performer will add being an author to her impressive résumé, publishing her memoirs, 'Finding Me', in 2022.

Jennifer Egan

American writer and Pulitzer Award winner Jennifer Egan will release her much-awaited new novel 'The Candy House' in 2022.

Manhattan Beach

Her last novel, 'Manhattan Beach', won the Andrew Carnegie Medal in 2018 and was lauded as one of the best novels of the last decade by The Atlantic.

Kathy Hochul

In August 2020, Andrew Cuomo stepped down as governor of New York amid scandal. Democratic politician Kathy Hochul is now in charge of one the most important US states, one where Covid-19 has hit the hardest.

Bigger and better things

If Hochul manages to succeed Cuomo as “America’s governor” in the eyes of the public, it could be a stepping stone to bigger and better things in politics for her.

Kylian Mbappé

With only 22 years, some regard this French footballer as one of the best players in the world.

From PSG to el Real?

Negotiations with Real Madrid for this Paris Saint-Germain player fell through in 2021, but many agree that the Spanish team will try once more in 2022. Who knows if Mbappé can resist.

Lionel Messi

Argentinean footballer Lionel Messi signed in 2021 with Paris Saint-Germain after 15 seasons in FC Barcelona.

Adios, Leo

What changes this brings for the player and the Spanish team Barça will probably become noticeable in 2022.

Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X rose to fame in early 2019 with his single 'Old Country Road'.

'Montero' and more

However, it was his 2021 debut album, 'Montero', that has cemented his status as a music sensation and gay icon, with provocative songs such as 'Montero' or 'Industry Baby'. Let's see what surprises he has in store for 2022.

Nemonte Nenquimo

Nemonte Nenquimo did something no other Indigenous leader has managed in Ecuador: She took an oil company to the court and won.

Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize

Champion of the Earth

Her activism has earned her a place in TIME magazine's 100 most influential people list in 2020 (the only indigenous woman ranked) and received the Champion of the Earth award by the United Nations.

Tulio de Oliveira

Professor Tulio de Oliveira is the director of South Africa's Centre for Epidemic Response & Innovation and one of the earliest scientists to detect and study the Omicron variant.

Photo: South African Broadcasting Corporation

Far from over

With the Covid-19 pandemic far from over, scientists like de Oliveira no doubt will continue to be vital sources of information for years to come.

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka became the first tennis player to light up the Olympic cauldron in Tokyo 2020 and with a good reason!

The best since Serena Williams

The Japanese athlete has quickly become one of the top tennis players in the world, becoming the first woman to win successive grand slam singles titles since Serena Williams.

Robert Pattinson

American actor Robert Pattinson is better for playing Edward Cullen in The Twilight Saga, but the 35-year-old performer has acquired a reputation as a serious actor with roles in 'The Lighthouse' and 'Tenet'.

The Batman

Patterson will star in 'The Batman', set to premiere in March. Let's see if the once-young vampire can take on the role previously played by the likes of Christian Bale and George Clooney.

Leni Robredo

Liberal Party politician Leni Robredo managed to become Vice President of the Philippines after a very close election against Ferdinand Marcos Jr, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The future of the Philippines

Robredo is now running for president in an election that pits her against Marcos and boxer Manny Pacquiao and could define many things for the Asian country.

Olivia Rodrigo

Filipino-American performer Olivia Rodrigo got seven Grammy nominations for her debut album, 'Sour', released in 2021.

Same level as Taylor Swift

At only 18 years of age, the 2021 Performer of the Year by TIME Magazine could easily become a star on the same level as Taylor Swift or Katy Perry.

Olaf Scholz

2021 saw the end of the Merkel era in Germany, a though act to follow in the world of international politics.

Tough act to follow

2022, in contrast, will be the year that new German chancellor Olaf Scholz has to prove if he has what it takes to govern one of the leading nations of the European Union.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Former Brazilian president Lula da Silva will run for a second term in office against the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro at the polls in October.

The Brazilian comeback

Da Silva, who has faced contentious corruption trials in the past, remains a widely popular leader in the South American country.

Anya Taylor-Joy

Anya Taylor-Joy's breakout role in the Netflix TV series 'The Queen's Gambit' put her in the spotlight.

Chess queen and videogame princess

Her streak continues in 2021 with roles in movies by David O. Russell and Robert Eggers. She will also voice Princess Peach in the Super Mario Bros. movie planned to be released in late 2022.

Frans Timmermans

Dutch politician Frans Timmermans, in his role as the First Vice President of the European Commission, is in charge of the European Green Deal.

The European Green Deal

The European Green Deal is a set of policies meant to make Europe carbon-neutral by 2050. Let's hope that his efforts begin showing results in 2022.

Xi Jinping

2022 is a crucial year for Xi Jinping. The Chinese Communist Party Congress, celebrated every five years, is to declare him paramount leader of China for another term.

The last emperor of China?

This is unprecedented for modern Chinese politics, and many Western experts have voiced their concern that it could pave the way for Xi to rule the country indefinitely.

Éric Zemmour

It's unlikely that French political journalist Éric Zemmour will become president of France anytime soon...

Leading France

However, the far-right presidential candidate has left his mark during the country's presidential elections. Many are worried about the direction the country will take, as one of the leading countries of the European Union, in the future.

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