TIME

The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014

Teens today might have a mixed reputation, but there’s no denying their influence. They command millions of fans on Twitter and Vine, start companies with funds they raised on Kickstarter, steal scenes on TV’s most popular shows, lead protests with global ramifications, and even—as of Friday—win Nobel Peace Prizes. But which ones rise above the rest? We analyzed social-media followings, cultural accolades, business acumen and more to determine this year’s list (ordered from youngest to oldest).

  • Mo’ne Davis, 13

    Mo'ne Davis #3 of Pennsylvania waits to pitch to a Nevada batter during the United States division game at the Little League World Series tournament at Lamade Stadium on August 20, 2014 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mo'ne Davis
    Rob Carr—Getty Images

    It’s not every day that a black female athlete appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated—let alone one who’s 13. So Mo’ne Davis made quite a splash in August when she landed that spot (cover line: “Remember Her Name”) after pitching a shutout game in the Little League World Series. Her team, Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons, was eventually knocked out of the tournament, but not before Davis got accolades from Michelle Obama, Kevin Durant and Ellen DeGeneres, among others. Many hope she will be a role model for girls in sports, especially those that are typically male-dominated. —Sarah Begley

  • Sasha Obama, 13, and Malia Obama, 16

    Sasha and Malia Obama arrive at the ceremonial swearing-in of their father President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
    Pablo Martinez Monsivais—AP

    A lot of dads get squeamish about their daughter’s first prom, but only Malia Obama’s date status could be called “classified information,” as the President joked on Live! with Kelly and Michael last spring. Nonetheless, she has emerged as a figure of national interest: her appearance at Chicago’s Lollapalooza Music Festival caused almost as much of a stir as the musicians themselves, and her name has spiked in popularity after her father’s election. (It’s predicted to peak again in 2018.) Sasha, meanwhile, has become an icon in her own right: after being photographed in a unicorn sweatshirt, the style sold out at ASOS in a matter of days. —S.B.

  • Kiernan Shipka, 14

    Actress Kiernan Shipka attends the Elle's Women in Television event in Los Angeles January 22, 2014. REUTERS/Phil McCarten (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) - RTX17QSW
    Phil McCarten—Reuters

    Mad Men fans first met Sally Draper, eldest daughter of Don and Betty Draper, when she was just five years old. Since then, she’s transformed into a central, scene-stealing character that may well launch Shipka into superstardom. As Mad Men‘s final season looms, the actress has broadened her resume—landing a starring role in the Lifetime movie Flowers in the Attic—and consistently wowed on red carpets and magazine covers. —Samantha Grossman

  • Jazz Jennings, 14

    Jazz Jennings arrives at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on April 20, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
    Gregg DeGuire—WireImage

    In a landmark year for transgender visibility in the media, Jennings stands out for how much she’s already accomplished. She’s been interviewed by Barbara Walters, met Bill Clinton and become the youngest person ever featured on the Out 100 and The Advocate‘s 40 Under 40 lists. She even co-wrote a children’s book, I Am Jazz, loosely based on her life (she started living as a girl at age 5), that aims to help other kids understand what transgender means. “I have a girl brain but a boy body,” Jazz says in the book. “This is called transgender. I was born this way!” —Nolan Feeney

  • Flynn McGarry, 15

    Jason Schwartzman and host Jimmy Fallon freeze Halloween treats with Chef Flynn McGarry on Thursday, October 31, 2013 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)..
    NBC

    At an age when many of his peers are still picking around the green stuff on their plates, McGarry has emerged as a chef du jour in the culinary industry. After helping to build a high-tech kitchen in his bedroom (modeled on Grant Achatz’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant Alinea), he started his own supper club, Eureka. It serves tasting menus—at $160 per person—at his mother’s home in Studio City, Calif. Since then, he has appeared on the cover of the New York Times Magazine, cooked on the Today show, and apprenticed at 11 Madison Park. His ultimate goal? To have, as he puts it, “the best restaurant in the world.” —S.B.

  • Erik Finman, 15

    Courtesy of Erik Finman

    The rural Idaho native is the founder of Botangle.com, which offers tutoring over video chat services for teens who, like him, wanted more than the limited education opportunities within physical reach. To fund the site, Finman two years ago invested a $1,000 gift in Bitcoin, then an unlikely digital currency; soon it spiked in value, and he had $100,000. It’s no wonder, then, that Finman says he struck a deal with his parents: if he makes $1 million before he turns 18, he won’t have to attend college. —Jack Linshi

  • Nash Grier, 16

    Vine star Nash Grier attends the 2014 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 18, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
    David Livingston—Getty Images

    The self-described “King of Vine”—the social media platform that loops 6-second videos—has more than 9.6 million followers and over 1.1 billion loops of his comedic videos, more than any other user. His meteoric rise to fame hasn’t been without scandal: Grier was slammed for using a homophobic slur on one of his since-deleted Vines. But he’s nonetheless parlayed his massive audience into endorsement deals, netting thousands to plug products such as Aquafina FlavorSplash. —J.L.

  • Rico Rodriguez, 16

    Actor Rico Rodriguez arrives to the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 12, 2014 -- (Photo by Trae Patton/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)
    Trae Patton/NBC/Getty Images

    As scene-stealing Manny on ABC’s smash-hit Modern Family, Rodriguez isn’t just one of the most visible child actors on TV (the show’s sixth season premiere averaged more than 11 million viewers)—he’s also one of the richest. According to reports, he’ll earn a whopping $115,000 per episode if the show continues through season eight. —S.G.

  • Ciara Judge, 16, Émer Hickey, 17, and Sophie Healy-Thow, 17

    Emer Hickey, Sophie Healy-Thow and Ciara Judge from Kinsale Community School in Co Cork as they are named the BT Young Scientists of the Year at the RDS, Dublin. Picture date: Friday January 11, 2013.
    Niall Carson—AP

    The trio from County Cork, Ireland took home the grand prize at the Google Science Fair after wowing the judges with their discovery: Diazotroph, a bacteria that sucks nitrogen from the atmosphere into soil, speeding up the germination of cereal crops like barley and oats and—more importantly—increasing their yield. This advance could play a crucial role in solving the global food crisis, and Judge, Hickey and Healy-Thow are already planning to commercialize it. —S.B.

  • Shawn Mendes, 16

    Canadian music artist Shawn Mendes poses for a portrait, on Wed., July 8, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Drew Gurian/Invision/AP)
    Drew Gurian—Invision/AP

    After amassing millions of Vine followers by performing six-second micro-covers of hit songs, Mendes caught the attention of Island Records and scored a record deal. His first single, “Life of the Party,” was an instant smash, making Mendes the youngest-ever artist to debuted in the top 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. And the follow-up EP, titled—what else?—The Shawn Mendes EP, reached the No. 1 spot on iTunes earlier this year, a mere 37 minutes after its midnight release. —N.F.

  • Jaden Smith, 16

    Actor Jaden Smith arrives at the Teen Vogue Young Hollywood issue party on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP)
    Dan Steinberg—Invision/AP

    Smith rose to fame as the son of Will Smith, occasionally popping up in movies. But his real legacy may well be his Twitter musings, which are equal parts absurdist (“Anything You See In Any Magazine Ever Is Fake.”) and insightful (“Once You Witness A Cycle Enough Times You Step Out Of It.”), earning him more than 5 million followers and labels like, “Confucius for the Internet age.” One of Smith’s recent posts sums him up pretty well: “Hate Me Love Me Doesn’t Matter I’m Still Occupying Time Inside Of Your Psyche.” —S.G.

  • Becky G, 17

    Singer Becky G attends the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for MTV)
    Christopher Polk—Getty Images

    Mega-producer Dr. Luke (who’s worked with Britney Spears, Kesha and Katy Perry) signed Becky G to his label in 2011 after watching her YouTube covers. The investment paid off: Rebecca Marie Gomez, who began performing at age 9 to help out her cash-strapped parents, saw her irresistible ode to young love, “Shower,” chart in more than a dozen countries and become a top 20 hit in the U.S. this summer. When she’s not writing her own music, she represents Covergirl as one of its youngest-ever Latina spokeswomen and helps craft tunes for other pop acts, like Cher Lloyd and fellow teen Cody Simpson. It’s fitting that one of her first music videos was a Jennifer Lopez cover (retitled “Becky From the Block“); she’s well-positioned to follow in her footsteps. —N.F.

  • Salma Kakar, 17

    Kakar is the lead rider on the co-ed Afghan National Cycling Team, which has drawn global praise for promoting female empowerment in a country where it has been rare to see women driving, let alone competing in a sport. Her dream is to wave the flag of Afghanistan at the Olympics one day, and to show the world how far Afghan women have come. —J.L.

  • Lorde, 17

    Singer Lorde poses backstage during The 24th Annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas at The Shrine Auditorium on December 8, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images for Radio.com)
    Gabriel Olsen—Getty Images

    The New Zealander, born Ella Yelich-O’Connor, started 2014 off strong by nabbing two Grammy Awards for her inescapable smash-hit “Royals.” Since then, the singer-songwriter has become a force in music and pop culture: her debut album, Pure Heroine, went platinum; she won an MTV Video Music Award; and she signed on to curate the Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 soundtrack, out Nov. 21. She has also established herself as a role model who promotes healthy body image. In March, she shared two photos of herself, one Photoshopped and one unedited, to remind her more than 1.3 million Twitter followers (at the time) that “flaws are ok.” —S.G.

  • Lydia Ko, 17

    Lydia Ko of New Zealand plays a shot on the 8th hole during the first round of the CME Group Titleholders at Tiburon Golf Club on November 21, 2013 in Naples, Florida.
    Sam Greenwood—Getty Images

    After going pro last year, Ko now ranks third among women golfers worldwide, sparking interest in the sport “not just in her native South Korea and adopted homeland of New Zealand but also among juniors across the globe,” as golf legend Annika Sorenstam wrote in this year’s Time 100. Thanks to her many tournament wins and endorsement deal with Callaway, she’s also the youngest millionaire in LGPA history. “That’s big money,” she said in April. “But when I’m out there I’m thinking about making birdies and hitting good shots and making putts rather than, ‘OK, this putt is going to give me an extra thousand.'” —S.G.

  • Chloë Grace Moretz, 17

    Actress ChloÎ Grace Moretz attends the 2014 Young Hollywood Awards brought to you by Samsung Galaxy at The Wiltern on July 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for Variety)
    Ari Perilstein—Getty Images

    The Atlanta native has already built an impressive resume with roles in films like (500) Days of Summer, Kick-Ass, Hugo and Carrie, and this year was no exception. She was the lead in this summer’s If I Stay, based on the best-selling novel of the same name, which netted $47.6 million at the box office (despite a considerably low budget) and also starred opposite Denzel Washington in hit thriller The Equalizer. Next up: roles in Dark Places, the film adaptation of Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn’s gripping crime novel, and the sci-fi thriller The Fifth Wave. —S.G.

  • Kylie Jenner, 17, and Kendall Jenner, 18

    Reality stars Kendall and Kylie Jenner share hot spring trends for teens on "Good Morning America," 2/8/13, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/Disney-ABC via Getty Images)KYLIE JENNER, KENDALL JENNER
    Donna Svennevik—ABC/Getty Images

    Together, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians co-stars hosted red-carpet events, released clothing and nail polish lines and even published a dystopian young-adult novel this past summer (though yes, they had some help). But they’ve had solo success too—Kendall with modeling (she’s walked the runway for designers like Marc Jacobs) and Kylie with pseudo-entrepreneurship (she’s launching a line of hair extensions and hopes to get into acting). Next up: a multimillion-dollar mobile game? —N.F.

  • Malala Yousafzai, 17

    Pakistinian teenager and education activist Malala Yousafzai is interviewed on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, airing MONDAY, AUG. 18 (7:00-9:00am, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images) MALALA YOUSAFZAI
    Ida Mae Astute—ABC/Getty Images

    Two years and one day after Taliban gunmen shot her in the head while she was riding to school, the Pakistani youth activist became the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The accolade caps an impressive—albeit early—career for Yousafzai, who has used her organization, the Malala Fund, as a platform to promote girls’ education, help Syrian refugee children and demand the return of the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, among other things. In April, she received an honorary doctorate in civil law from the University of King’s College in Canada. “Malala is a testament that women everywhere will not be intimidated into silence,” Gabrielle Giffords wrote of Yousafzai in this year’s Time 100. “We will speak, no matter how hard it is to do so.” —S.G.

  • Rachel Fox, 18

    Teen Vogue's 10th Anniversary Annual Young Hollywood Party - Arrivals
    Jason Merritt—Getty Images

    Known to Desperate Housewives fans as Kayla Scavo, the teen actress somehow found enough time between TV and movie shoots to train herself in the art of day trading: she says her investments earn her a 64 percent annual return. Now she’s trying to pay it forward. In addition to running the blog Fox on Stocks, which offers financial literacy tips for teens, Fox has created the MyGenLoves index, which tracks 20 companies that are currently hot in the youth market (such as Chipotle and Urban Outfitters). —S.B.

  • Bethany Mota, 18

    Internet personality Bethany Mota attends Blake Michael's 18th Birthday at Riviera 31 on August 9, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
    Imeh Akpanudosen—Getty Images

    The fashion and beauty blogger has spent five years building her YouTube channel, Macbarbie07, into a bona-fide business—with 7.4 million subscribers, 565 million-plus views, and between $500,000 and $750,000 in annual ad revenue. Now she’s expanding her brand. This year, Mota appeared on Project Runway as a guest judge and Dancing with the Stars as a celebrity competitor, all while overseeing the clothing line she launched with Aéropostale. She also released her first single, “Need You Right Now.” —S.G.

  • Joshua Wong, 18

    Joshua Wong, leader of the student pro-democracy group scholarism addresses demonstrators after the press conference of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in Hong Kong on October 2, 2014. Hong Kong's embattled leader rejected protesters' calls for him to resign, but in a significant concession agreed to talks with a students group involved in mass pro-democracy demonstrations that have paralysed parts of the city.AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
    Philippe Lopez—AFP/Getty Images

    Wong, who recently covered Time‘s international edition, has become the face of the Hong Kong protests, a civil disobedience movement demanding that China stages unfettered elections for Hong Kong’s top political position. To some, he’s a symbol of hope—a youth rallying his peers to fight for a cause they believe in. In mainland China, however, many argue Wong is an extremist and an emblem against China’s storied national order. —J.L.

  • Austin Mahone, 18

    singer Austin Mahone poses for a portrait in Los Angeles. His EP "The Secret" released on May 23, 2014. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
    Matt Sayles—Invision/AP

    Mahone’s social media following is modest compared to that of Justin Bieber—the pop star to whom he’s most often compared—but it’s still powerful: Mahone’s 7 million Twitter followers helped him became the first artist to hit No. 1 on Billboard‘s new Trending 140, a live-updated chart that tracks what songs have people buzzing online. It helps, of course, that he’s got a pretty sizable resume: in addition to touring with Taylor Swift and signing with Chase Records/Cash Money, Mahone released his first U.S. EP, The Secret, in May; it debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200. —N.F.

    Correction appended: Oct. 14, 2014, 5:18 p.m. E.T. An earlier version of this article misstated Mahone’s record label.

  • Tavi Gevinson, 18

    Actress Tavi Gevinson of 'Enough Said' poses at the Guess Portrait Studio during 2013 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2013 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
    Larry Busacca—Getty Images

    Gevinson may bristle at being called the “voice of a generation,” but the label does fit: Rookie, her online magazine for teenage girls, gets roughly 3.5 million hits a month—thanks in part to her mix of personal essays (see: her poignant editor’s letter about graduating high school and mourning “forever”) and insightful pop culture coverage (see: her chat about feminism with Lorde, the Seth Rogan contribution to Rookie‘s “Ask a Grown Man” video advice column). Next up: the recent high school grad, currently starring in the Broadway play This Is Our Youth, plans to head to college after a gap year. —N.F.

  • Megan Grassell, 19

    Megan Grassell
    Courtesy of Megan Grassell

    After taking her 13-year-old sister shopping for bras, Grassell was perturbed by how sexualized most of the available choices were for young girls; everything seemed to have padding and underwires. So she started her own company, Yellowberry, to offer an alternative: comfortable, colorful training bras with names like Junebug and Sugar Cookie. She initially raised $42,000 through Kickstarter—well above the $25,000 goal she set for herself—and now runs a full-fledged online retailer. —S.B.

  • Troye Sivan, 19

    Actor Troye Sivan attends the 4th Annual Streamy Awards presented by Coca-Cola on September 7, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/SAs 2014/Getty Images for DCP)
    Kevin Winter—Getty Images

    The South African-Australian may have initially broken through as an actor—he snagged a role in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine after a Hollywood producer found him on YouTube—but he’s found major success this year as a musician. Thanks in large part to the support from his 2.8 million YouTube subscribers, Sivan’s latest EP, TRXYE, which he recorded in secret, topped iTunes sales charts in more than 50 countries following its August release. —N.F.

  • Read next: The 16 Most Influential Teens of 2013

TIME Appreciation

35 Things We Learned From The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was published Oct. 12, 1979

Douglas Adams' novel was published on Oct. 12, 1979, 35 years ago on Sunday

Are you a hoopy frood who really knows where her towel is? Then you probably already know that Sunday marks 35 years to the day since legendary comedy/sci-fi author Douglas Adams published the novel based on his radio show The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, first in a trilogy of five books. Yeah, a trilogy of five — Adams was a weird dude!

The Hitchhiker’s Guide follows the story of a hapless human called Arthur Dent, who is saved from Earth’s destruction by aliens with just seconds to spare by his good friend Ford Prefect. Prefect, who Dent at first believes to be human, actually turns out to be an alien working for something called the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — sort of a combination travel guide/Wikipedia for intergalactic travelers roaming about the universe by grabbing rides on passing spacecraft.

Dent and Prefect wind up on a ship stolen by President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox. Along with another human runaway and a depressed robot, the crew find themselves in a serious of perilous adventures one after the other and it’s all good fun with a great story that holds up in its own right while also poking a lot of fun at the generally very serious science-fiction genre.

Anyway. In celebration of Hitchhiker’s 35th birthday, here are 35 things you learn from reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy”:

1. If you’re ever stuck on a question, you know the answer is, of course, just “42.”

2. Forget “Keep Calm and Carry On.” The book teaches this motto: Don’t Panic, written in very friendly letters on the front of the actual Hitchhiker’s Guide.

3. You learn to always know where your towel is, because that thing can save your neck in more ways that you can count.

4. Dolphins are smarter than humans — but they’re still thankful for all that fish.

5. Earth, despite its nuclear weapons, war, bacteria and so on, is really just Mostly Harmless.

6. The secret to understanding all the universe’s languages is putting a tiny creature in your ear called a Babel Fish — and you also know that’s where the online translation service got its name.

7. When you rock out to Radiohead’s Paranoid Android, you know the band was referencing Marvin, the chronically depressed robot with a brain the size of a planet — voiced by Alan Rickman in the 2005 film adaptation.

8. This killer restaurant at the end of the universe.

9. Time is an illusion — and lunchtime doubly so.

10. The universe’s creation made a lot of people very angry and was widely considered a bad move.

11. Anyone who can be elected President shouldn’t be trusted to do the job.

12. If a Vogon ever, ever tries to read poetry to you, you should turn tail and run immediately.

13. Ford Prefect isn’t just the name of a British car.

14. You’re not the only one who could never really get the hang of Thursdays.

15. You can understand that an alien sent to study life on Earth would think cars were the dominant life-form.

16. But not why people spend so much of their lives wearing digital watches.

17. When in a bar in outer space, the best thing to order is a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

18. If somebody suddenly thinks they’re a hedgehog, the best thing you can do is give them a mirror and some pictures of a hedgehog, and they’ll figure it all out soon enough.

19. Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is, to be honest.

20. Mice aren’t actually mice at all. Instead, they’re insanely hypersmart beings from another plane of existence. Also, they’re smarter than dolphins. Who are still smarter than humans.

21. That one can find tea on a spaceship. But it’s not really tea, it’s rather something almost but not entirely unlike tea. (Also, if you count the movies, there’s a tiny lightsaber that toasts bread while you slice it. Handy!)

22. You can spend a year dead to dodge your taxes. Good tip.

23. Sometimes your friends turn into penguins. Or sofas. It’s all a little weird.

24. Every once in a while, it’s absolutely terrific when somebody’s trying to kill you — it means you’re on to something.

25. The only thing that can break the speed of light is bad news.

26. Life is like a grapefruit, and some folks have half one for breakfast.

27. Ships can hang in the sky, but bricks can’t.

28. That you should always, always, always stay abreast of plans posted at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri.

29. That if you ever discover why the universe is here, it could be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

30. And that might’ve already happened.

31. It’s possible to be your own great-great grandfather, if something goes wrong with a contraceptive and a time machine.

32. One of the greatest sources of power in the universe is Restaurant Math. Oh waiter, check please!

33. Anything that happens, happens.

34. You don’t want to go to Heaven with a headache.

35. 42.

 

 

TIME Appreciation

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Ahoy, mateys!

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, an annual celebration that brings together all the swashbuckling scoundrels who set their Facebook languages to ‘English (Pirate),’ have closets full of costume eyepatches, pledge allegiance to the Jolly Roger or just want an excuse to walk around saying “Arrrrgh!” or order people to walk the plank.

There are many ways for landlubbers to celebrate today without hitting the high seas – Krispy Kreme is offering a free doughnut to anyone who talks like a pirate, and a dozen free doughnuts to those scallywags who show up in full pirate garb. (Need to brush up on your pirate parlance? Here’s a helpful how-to.)

After your free doughnuts, check out this Google map of all the Talk Like A Pirate Day events around the world. From free mini golf to pirate-y pub crawls, there’s sure to be something that will shiver your timbers.

And when your day of yo-ho-ho-ing is done, sit back with a bottle of rum and have a good laugh over these trending tweets about hypothetical pirate TV shows:

 

TIME Appreciation

Hero Starts a Petition to Get His Cat Into the High School Yearbook

Seems like a totally reasonable and attainable dream

Draven Rodriguez is just a normal high school kid in upstate New York hoping to make his dreams come true. In this case, those dreams involve getting the administration at Schenectady High School to agree to use the following photo as his senior portrait:

Vincent Giordano / Trinacria Photography

The school has said the photo can be included in the yearbook somewhere, but not as Rodriguez’s official senior portrait, a local CBS affiliate reports. So Rodriguez has started a petition as a “pre-emptive strike.” He hopes to gain enough backers so that the school simply can’t deny this request.

His goal was to reach 500 signatures by Sept. 15, and by the morning of Sep. 11, he’d already hit 721.

TIME celebrities

Celebrities and Comedians Mourn Joan Rivers With Funny Anecdotes and Reflections

ABC's "Good Morning America" - 2010
Joan Rivers talks about her documentary, "A Piece of Work," on "Good Morning America." Steve Fenn—ABC / Getty Images

From Kathy Griffin to Whoopi Goldberg to Billy Eichner

As soon as word spread that the legendary Joan Rivers had died Thursday, fellow comedians and celebrities swiftly took to social media to mourn the comedy icon.

As tributes and memories and reflections continue to roll in, here are a few of the responses to Rivers’ death:

Ryan Seacrest, in a statement: “Joan was a trailblazer in so many ways, and I greatly admired her talent and humor. She was a colleague and friend, as we worked together on E!, and she was also a treasured guest on my radio show many times. Regardless of the forum, Joan was full of funny, witty surprises and she had so much spirit. She will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Melissa and her family.”

Louis CK, in a statement: “I feel very lucky that I knew Joan Rivers and I feel very sad that she’s gone. She was a great comedian and a wonderful person. I never saw someone attack a stage with so much energy. She was a controlled lightning bolt. She was a prolific and unpredictable, joyful joke writer. She loved comedy. She loved the audience. She was a great actress and should have done that more. She loved living and working. She was kind. She was real. She was brave. She was funny and you just wanted to be around her. I looked up to her. I learned from her. I loved her. I liked her. And I already miss her very much. It really fucking sucks that she had to die all of a sudden.”

Amy Schumer, in a statement: “Joan was hilarious and relevant all the way to the end. She inspired every comic I know and we will carry her with us and quote her jokes forever. When I met her at the premiere of her movie, “A Piece of Work” she was so kind and wanted to make sure all the comics were going to stay so we could all hang out together. I thought that was so cool. Such a pro, such a hard worker. This was a huge loss for us all.”

Tyler Oakley, in a statement: “Whether you loved her or hated her, you can’t deny Joan Rivers’ impact on comedy as we know it. To me personally, she was kind, present, and genuinely interested in hearing my story. Her energy was electric and her presence was unmatched. She was unapologetically herself, yet always evolving. If her work ethic on Earth is any indication, she’ll have absolutely no interest in resting in peace – and I love her for that.”

TIME Appreciation

Hear the Wise Words Joan Rivers Said On Louie About Being a Comedian

The legendary TV host died Thursday at age 81

Joan Rivers, who TIME’s Richard Corliss remembers as an “acidly funny comedy diva,” has died at 81 after complications from throat surgery. Though her contributions to the world of television of comedy are incredibly vast, we’d like to take a moment to appreciate a small but bright little moment from the later years of her career: a 2011 cameo on Louie.

In the episode — titled “Joan” — Louis C.K.’s semi-autobiographical character, Louie, finds himself hanging out with Joan in her hotel room after an Atlantic City gig. Louie starts to whine about being a comedian, and Joan immediately shuts him down to deliver some serious real talk.

“Listen, I wish I could tell you it gets better, but it doesn’t get better. You get better,” the comedy veteran tells him. “I’ve gone up, I’ve gone down, I’ve been bankrupt, I’ve been broke. But you do it, and you do it because we love it more than anything else. That’s why you’re doing it.”

After she finishes her very wise and heartfelt speech, Louie of course pulls a Louie and totally ruins the moment, but the impact of her words remain.

TIME animals

Giant Hippo Splashes Into River Thames

Giant Floating Hippo River Thames
Steve Stills

The artist's latest creation following his giant floating rubber duck

Along London’s River Thames are some notable landmarks: the London Bridge, the Millennium Bridge, and now, a giant floating hippo.

The nearly 70-foot-long replica of the water mammal—named “HippopoThames”—is the latest project of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, according to CNN. The work was commissioned by the Thames Festival Trust, which had approached Hofman earlier this year to design artwork for Totally Thames, an annual festival celebrating the river.

Hofman, who debuted the “world’s largest rubber duck” last month, is known for his humor, sensation and maximum impact, In line with his artistic vision, HippopoThames was inspired by everyday objects, especially those that time warp people to their childhoods. It’s also designed to force viewers to appreciate public spaces, even after the installations are removed.

“I wanted to use the hippo to get people out of their homes, away from the Internet and the TV, and to explore London with a new perspective,” Hofman told CNN.

HippopoThames will be on display until Sept. 28.

TIME Appreciation

Google Doodle Honors Black Tennis Star Althea Gibson

Gibson was the first African-American to win the U.S. Nationals and Wimbledon tennis championships

Monday’s Google Doodle pays tribute to black tennis star and barrier breaker Althea Gibson, who paved the way for tennis greats including Venus and Serena Williams.

Gibson, who was born on Aug. 25, 1927, was the first black person to take the title at Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals. The Harlem-raised Gibson was also the first African-American named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in 1957; she won again in 1958.

TIME wrote of Gibson in 1957: “Lean, tall and well-muscled (5 ft. 10½, 144 Ibs.), Althea Gibson is not the most graceful figure on the courts, and her game is not the most stylish. She is apt to flail with more than the usual frenzy, and she often relies on ‘auxiliary shots’ (e.g., the chop and slice). But her tennis has a champion’s unmistakable power and drive.”

Gibson died in October 2003 in East Orange, N.J.

TIME Appreciation

Mara Wilson Pens a Beautiful Tribute to Her Mrs. Doubtftire Dad Robin Williams

Kobal
Twentieth Century Fox

"Robin Williams, as I knew him, was warm, gentle, expressive, nurturing, and brilliant"

Former child star Mara Wilson, who memorably played Robin Williams’ daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire, said she was too devastated last week to talk openly about the actor’s shocking death. Three days after the fact, she posted a “quick update” on her blog, briefly explaining that she was felt “shocked, confused angry, regretful, and above all, sad.”

Now, having had a week to process her emotions a bit more, the 27-year-old has posted a beautiful, thoughtful tribute.

“He always reminded me a little of my father,” she begins. “Robin Williams, as I knew him, was warm, gentle, expressive, nurturing, and brilliant. While it can be hard for me to remember filming Doubtfire, I’ve been flooded with memories in the past few days.”

She recalls his brilliant comedic mind and his ability to relate to kids without ever being patronizing or condescending. But she also remembers seeing a more vulnerable side of his personality:

Robin was so on so much of the time that I was surprised to hear my mother describe him as “shy.” “When he talks to you,” she told her friends, “he’ll be looking down at his shoes the whole time.” I figured he must have been different with grown-ups. I wouldn’t see that side of him myself until a few years later, when I was invited to be part of a table read of What Dreams May Come. … Robin crossed to me from across the room, got down to my level, and whispered “Hi, how are you?” He asked how my family was doing, how school was, never raising his voice and only sometimes making eye contact. He seemed so vulnerable.

Read Wilson’s full blog post here.

TIME Appreciation

Pizza Place Honors Robin Williams With Awesome Themed Specials

For example: the Pork & Mindy pizza and the Good Will Hotwing

People around the country have been finding all kinds of ways to honor Robin Williams following his shocking death Monday. In Brooklyn, the employees of Vinnie’s Pizzeria created a tribute that was a bit tastier than the rest. They named their specials after some of the actor’s most memorable works and displayed them on a whiteboard next to some lovely illustrations:

Vinnie’s is known for its pop culture-themed specials and corresponding illustrations — seriously, check these out, because they’re really great — but this one definitely stands out as a lovely tribute to a fallen star.

(h/t Grubstreet)

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