Mia Kong, 29
Shanghai and New York
Fashion blogger and style director at Dazed Magazine, China
For Mia Kong's Gen-Z Instagram followers, she embodies the hard-edged streetwear style of the moment -- a far cry from the remote Chinese province of Xinjiang where she was born. Among the rising influencer's social media fans, the biggest group are under 24 years of age; her international look and her restless travel schedule have built a following in urban China and the U.S.
Kong's recent tie-ups include a partnership with fashion house Burberry and a modeling campaign for singer Rihanna's Fenty Beauty, and this year she became style director at the newly established China arm of U.K. magazine Dazed.
In China, "luxury consumers are getting much younger than ever before," Kong said. "They are not loyal to a brand as their parents might be; trends change so fast now, and so do their styles." To reach them, she points to the way that social media connects them with celebrities, online influencers and television shows. "Ad campaigns are not the only, or even the best way to get to know a brand anymore."
Tsamara Amany Alatas, 22
Vice chairwoman of the Indonesian Solidarity Party
It was the explosive 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election that pushed Tsamara Amany, then 20, to enter politics. The city was in turmoil, split along ethnic and religious lines -- a division that Amany saw as a "means to seize power." "I was deeply moved," she said.
Now vice chairwoman of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), where leadership is limited to under-45s, Amany pushes for gender equality and government accountability. Part of her mission is to awaken a political instinct among her peers, many of whom "feel allergic when it comes to talking about politics," she said. Old-style politics are the enemy; establishment politicians keep distance between themselves and their constituents, said Amany. "We need to make parties more accountable. As citizens, we also need to be more critical [of] them."
In Indonesia, where around 40% of eligible voters are between 17 and 35 years old, PSI seemed to reflect the zeitgeist of a young nation -- yet the party failed to reach the voting threshold to gain a seat in the April elections. "Political parties in Indonesia need a reformation," Amany said.
Vidit Baya, 17
Climate activist and student
Vidit Baya has seen India battered by extreme floods, droughts and landslides. Not only that: His country's rapid development is also scarring the landscape. "The city in which I live is surrounded by mountain ranges known as the Aravali," he said. "When I was young, I could see the ranges go on for miles. But what I see today are multistoried apartments."
Watching the natural environment deteriorate, Baya resolved to become a climate activist.
He has campaigned in Australian protests against a vast coal mine proposed by Indian industrial giant Adani, and now represents the India chapter of youth movement "Fridays for Future," remaining active in local environmental clubs -- alongside studying pure sciences and English in his final year of high school. The most effective campaigning platforms are Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp, he said, adding that a sense of urgency is spreading among India's youth.
"The younger generation wants actions immediately, because the clock is ticking," Baya said. "Our ancestors and parents let things go. We aren't going to."