Happy 21st: Meet tomorrow's hot shots today

They're driven, they're ambitious, they're raring to go - and they're only barely out of school. As Prince Harry comes of age, Adrian Turpin introduces 21 talented 21-year-olds
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Nicky Hilton

The younger sister of Paris and heir to the hotel chain fortune

She says: "Paris is really young at heart - I'm the older one in the relationship. I'm always telling her not to do stuff."

Achilles heel: There'll always be Paris.

She's the new: Paris Hilton (only duller).

Lesson for Harry: The youngest sibling doesn't have to be the most embarrassing.

Prospects She will inherit an estimated $50m.

Euan Blair

Like his degree from Bristol University, the PM's eldest son's drunken arrest in Leicester Square is ancient history. He has signed up for two political internships in Washington, one for the conservative Republican David Dreier, the other for the Democrat Jane Harman.

He says: Wisely, very little.

Youthful folly: The facial hair he had this summer.

He's the new: Kid on Capitol Hill.

Prospects: Harvard Business School has been mooted. Will a political career follow?

Robinho

The waiflike figure - one reporter described him as looking like he was made from pipe-cleaners - is regarded by many as the greatest Brazilian striker for years. "Little Robin" (Robson de Sousa) was sold by Santos FC to Real Madrid for $30m. Not that it stopped the Spanish losing 3-0 in the Champions' League last week.

Youthful folly: He was given a yellow card once for doing too many tricks with the ball.

He's the new: Pele. Says who? Er, Pele...

Prospects: He driled his way out of poverty and crime in the "barrio". In September 2004, his mother was kidnapped and held for two months until a ransom was paid. After that, cracking Europe must seem simple.

Christopher Paolini

The Harry Potter lookalike from Montana wrote his first novel, Eragon, at 15.

He says: "In one paragraph I might have to invent a fictional history, create a new world, throw in new bits of language.

Youthful folly: You worry about a 21-year-old whose hoies are yoga and making chain-mail.

He's the new: J R R Tolkien.

Lesson for Harry: Promoted his first book by dressing up in a leather jerkin and beret. Silly, but no swastikas.

Prospects: The force is with him.

Nick McDonell

The Harvard-educated son of the managing editor of Sport Illustrated magazine was 15 when he began his first novel.

He says: "I was born at the right time, in the right place, to the right people." Right.

Achilles heel: "I'm worried about getting a fair shake because I've had so many advantages."

Lesson for Harry: The best way to defuse people's resentment about privilege is admit it and sound grateful.

Prospects: The backlash has begun, but then he's hardly lacking in self-confidence.

Lauren Cuthbertson

The Devon-born Royal Ballet wunderkind is a homegrown British dancer who worked her way up through company ranks.

She says: "I'm proud to be English and of the English training I've had. At other times, I hate people to think highly of me just because I'm English. Sometimes I wonder if I wasn't English would I be given the same opportunities?"

Achilles heel: Nothing obvious.

She's the new: Darcey Bussell.

Prospects: Her breakthrough performance as Juliet, aged 19, suggests a long career.

Mandy Moore

Moore is the least-known of America's pop princesses, a virginal little sister to Britney Spears, with a sideline in wholesome films. On her new album, she promises to plough through the emotional wreckage of her relationship with the tennis player Andy Roddick.

She says: "I still don't have the self-confidence to walk around in a mini-skirt and heels and a tube top."

She's the new: Julie Andrews.

Prospects: Despite being dumped by Sony, she's signed up with Warner. A tougher cookie than she looks.

Jake Meyer

In June, the environmental science student at Bristol University was the youngest Briton to climb Everest. He has now climbed the highest peaks on seven continents.

He says: "Getting to the top is only half the story; you have to get down afterwards."

He's the new: Ranulph Fiennes.

Lesson for Harry: After finishing university, Meyer intends to go to Sandhurst where the Prince will be his senior.

Prospects: Anyone who calls his seven-peak feat a "touristy challenge" is unlikely to be deterred by much.

Lauren Bush

George W's model niece has appeared on the cover of Tatler and Vanity Fair, and is the face of Tommy Hilfiger. Perhaps more importantly, to the Bush dynasty she's the snow-white, animal-loving, charity-bestowing antithesis of the President's wild twins, Jenna and Barbara.

She says: "My friends and I are collecting prom dresses to give to girls who can't afford them for their proms."

She's the new: Mother Teresa (but better dressed).

Prospects: meek chic will outlast her uncle's administration.

Anna Stothard

Daughter of novelist Sally Emerson and TLS editor Peter Stothard. At 19, she published her first novel, Isabel and Rocco, a tale of oversexed adolescence.

She says: "Teenage girls flirt with older men - but only because boys are hideous."

She's the new: Francoise Sagan/Glenda Slag

Lesson for Harry: At 18, she wrote in a Guardian column: "There is nothing terribly sinister about underage drinking. A couple of alcopops and a bit of weed are not going to set Harry on the road to heroin."

Prospects: Ooh er, missus

Karolina Kurkova

The Czech model was destined for stardom after Miuccia Prada signed her up at Milan fashion week in 1999.

Mario Testino says: "The proportions of her body and her face, as well as her energy level, make her a model who could fit almost into any moment."

Achilles heel: No. She's reputed to be as good tempered as she is good looking.

She's the new: Eva Herzigova.

Lesson for Harry: He wishes.

Prospects: American Vogue's editor Anna Wintour called her the "next supermodel".

Avril Lavigne

Canada's favourite "skater punk" pop moppet turns 21 in 10 days. She's probably already penning a mournful ballad about the loss of youth.

She says: "When I get upset, I go to my guitar. Sometimes I feel my guitar is my therapist."

She's the new: Alanis Morissette (she'd like to think).

Lesson for Harry: He already knows Lavigne's songs backwards, having chosen her to appear at the Party. in the Park charity concert.

Prospects: Bleak, and all the more prosperous for that.

Darren Fletcher

The Manchester United midfielder was the youngest man to captain Scotland in the modern era. Alex Ferguson first tried to tie him to Old Trafford when he was 12.

Achilles heel: He's never going to be glamorous, but then nor is Paul Scholes.

He's the new: Roy Keane (in Fergie's dreams).

Lesson for Harry: A hard working ginger role-model can only be a good thing.

Prospects: The jury's still out as he competes for a place against Ji-Sung Park, Keane, Scholes, Giggs and Ronaldo.

Maggie Grace

Grace's role as the bratty rich girl Shannon Rutherford in Lost has put her on the map.

She says: "I've played the girl-next-door plenty of times. I've been there, done that."

Achilles heel: If the wind changes she's going to be caught with that pout, and then it won't seem so cute.

She's the new: Sharon Stone.

Lesson for Harry: Be careful around spoilt little rich girls.

Prospects A lead part in the remake of The Fog could smother her big-screen career early. Still, she's survived playing opposite Tom Selleck.

Gareth Gates

He had everything a Bradford lad could want before the age of 21: a fling with Jordan, a deal with Pepsi and a chart-topping cover of "Spirit in the Sky". His website says he's working on new material. Mmm?

Achilles heel: He came sixth in a Channel 4 poll of 100 worst Britons, which hardly suggests lasting public affection.

He's the new: Michele McManus.

Lesson for Harry: Count your blessings.

Prospects: If it must be strange being famous at 21, how much stranger to be on the slide already.

Ryan Moore

Britain's most promising young flat-race jockey grew up immersed in the world of the track. His father is the well-known flat trainer Gary Moore.

At 19, he took the award for leading apprentice with 59 winners in a season. He'll soon be challenging for the champion jockey title.

Achilles heel: Moore's unusually tall for a jockey, and he still needs the backing of a top stable.

He's the new: Kieron Fallon.

Prospects: An undisputed thoroughbred.

Ed Grundy

The bad boy of Radio 4's The Archers comes of age on 28 September and plans to emigrate to Australia.

They say: "Ed's a waster and he always will be," says brother Will.

Youthful follies: Penchant for joy-riding, burglary, growing cannabis and sleeping with Will's fiancée.

Lesson for Harry: Don't (and if you do, don't get caught).

He's the new: Alf Grundy, Ed's reprobate submariner uncle.

Prospects: As bent as a boomerang. He'll be back from Down Under just as quickly

Alexandra Kosteniuk

The 10th woman chess international grandmaster also sells ruish merchandise on the web, looking pert.

She says: "I am clever, so I can play chess. And I am not so ugly, so I can model."

Achilles heel: She can't model

She's the new: Anna Kournikova of chess.

Lesson for Harry: Being brainy gets you only so far.

Prospects: Kosteniuk once played a speed-chess tournament wearing roller-skates to move more quickly. Be very afraid.

Elizabeth Jagger

Daughter of Mick and Jerry. Lancome model who now wants to act. Ho hum.

She says: "Part of my coursework was meditation. We spent an hour a week with our eyes closed."

Youthful folly: This year, she went to court to protect her privacy after being caught having sex with George Best's son, Callum, on a CCTV camera in a nightclub.

She's the new: Jerry Hall.

Lesson for Harry: Don't have sex in nightclubs.

Prospects: Julia Roberts needn't worry yet.

Lucy Pinder

Discovered sunbathing on a beach in Bournemouth, the Daily Star glamour model has made a successful career out of NOT showing her breasts.

She says "It's nice to leave a bit to the imagination."

And adds: "If I'd known it was going to be this much work I would have gone to university."

Youthful folly: Supports Southampton FC.

She's the new: Jordan but with A-levels (two) and GCSEs (nine)

Lesson for Harry: And she didn't even cheat.

Prospects: Time will reveal (or maybe not).

Katie Melua

Born in Tblisi, Georgia, the singer-songwriter grew up the south of England after her heart surgeon father came to work in the UK. Opinions differ on whether her single "The Closest Thing to Crazy" was the most entrancing song/emetic dirge of 2004.

She says: "I'm crap at writing love songs. I just find it so hard because so many great love songs have already been written."

Others say: "It's not like she's singing old songs, she's singing s**t new songs her manager writes for her," rages Amy Winehouse.

Achilles heel: Melua was discovered by Mike Batt of The Wombles fame and championed by Terry Wogan and Michael Parkinson. Enough said.

She's the new: Norah Jones, but why would anyone need one?

Prospects: Parky and co have spawned a monster. Non-fans should flee the country before the new album's released this month.

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