Celebrities

From Naomi Ackie to BRIT rising star winners FLO, OK!’s women to watch in 2023

This year looks to be another exciting one for women in the entertainment industry. From BRITs Rising Star winners to the daughter of a former spin doctor, we are excited about those on the road to success in 2023.

Here, with the help of brand and culture expert Nick Ede, we have picked the females who we predict will be making their mark this year – and if you haven’t heard of them before, you soon will!

“Naomi Ackie will become a massive international star,” Nick says of the leading actress in the Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody. “She is an exceptional actress and a big star in the making and I won’t be surprised if we see her on the West End stage in 2023 too.”

And Bella Ramsey is another actress on Nick’s radar, “She is definitely one to watch in 2023,” he tells us. “She’s already recognised for her performances in Game Of Thrones but she is set to hit the big screen and our TV screens.”

And there is rising talent in the music industry too, with Latto, Wet Leg and Flo all making our coveted list.

“These females are taking the UK by storm and giving some of the more established singers a run for their money. They are all destined to become stars worldwide.”

Rebecca Humphries has also made our list. She became a household name after her ex, comedian Seann Walsh, was pictured kissing his Strictly partner Katya Jones in 2018. She is now a successful author and actress – she played Carol Thatcher in The Crown – and Nick thinks 2023 will be the making of her career.

“She’s been a popular choice for irreverent comedies and we’ve seen her in the Amazon comedy Ten Percent. I’m certain we will see a lot more of her on the screen as an actress but also as a panellist on comedy game shows too,” he says.”

And finally, she’s the daughter of Alastair Campbell, but she’s creating her own path in the comedy circuit. “Grace Campbell will be a leading light in comedy circle,” Nick tells us. “With her funny take on men, sex and so much more, I’m sure she’ll end up with her own Netflix series. Watch this space!”

Here’s more on our leading females of 2023…

FLO

London trio Flo are the first group to bag the coveted BRITs Rising Star 2023 gong – the award which catapulted Adele, Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith into the big league – so expect to hear a lot more of their chilled brand of British R&B this year.

Jorja Douglas, Stella Quaresma and Renée Downer saw their debut single, Cardboard Box, become something of a viral hit when it came out in March last year – the video has so far racked up more than five million views on YouTube and was a TikTok smash. Refreshingly, Flo say they want to be known for their personalities as much as for their singing and cite the Spice Girls as an inspiration. “We really want to show who we are,” says Jorja.

Look out for them when they storm the BRIT Awards on 11 February.

BELLA RAMSEY

When Catherine Called Birdy was released last year, everyone was talking about Girls creator Lena Dunham, who wrote, produced and directed the medieval comedy.

But it wasn’t long before attention turned to Brit actress Bella Ramsey, who stole the show with her hilarious turn as Lady Catherine. This wasn’t Bella’s first role, though – the 19-year-old star from Nottingham has already earned her acting stripes as Lyanna Mormont in Game Of Thrones and Mildred Hubble in The Worst Witch – but Dunham’s film finally gave her the platform she deserves. Look out for her in HBO Max’s upcoming post-pandemic drama The Last Of Us, and as the voice of Molly in the new Chicken Run movie, Dawn Of The Nugget.

NAOMI ACKIE

It’s taken Naomi Ackie nearly 10 years to become an overnight success, but thanks to her starring role in the new Whitney Houston biopic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in 2023.

The London-born actress landed the role of the late singer after a year-long search, but says her joy at being picked to play Whitney soon turned to terror when she realised how much pressure she was under to do her justice. “It was like looking up at a mountain and knowing I have to get to the other side,” admitted the 30-year-old, who says she suffered panic attacks and “absolute horror” ahead of making the movie.

Prior to playing Whitney, who tragically passed away in 2012 after a long battle with drug addiction, Naomi appeared in 2016’s Lady Macbeth and in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker.

In 2020 she bagged a Bafta for her role in Netflix hit The End Of The F***ing World.

Next up is a starring role opposite Robert Pattinson in sci-fi movie Mickey 17. We can’t wait!

LATTO

She recently made headlines due to an online spat with her former idol Nicki Minaj (Latto branded her a “bully”, Nicki called Latto a “Karen”) but 2023 should see the Atlanta rapper making waves because of her music.

The 23-year-old won a string of top awards last year, including the BET Award for Best New Artist and a BET Hip Hop Award for Best Song of the Year for her Mariah Carey and DJ Khaled collab, Big Energy.

The star, whose real name is Alyssa Michelle Stephens, rounded off the year with a People’s Choice Award for New Artist of 2022 and she’s now predicted to win big at the 2023 Grammys, where she’s nominated for two gongs.

With so many trophies, she’s going to need a very sturdy mantelpiece!

REBECCA HUMPHRIES

Actress and writer Rebecca first entered our consciousness in 2018, when her ex, I’m A Celebrity’s Seann Walsh, publicly cheated on her with his Strictly dance partner, Katya Jones.

It wasn’t the easiest way to enter the spotlight, but in the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, Rebecca went on to write Why Did You Stay?, a searingly honest account of her toxic relationship with the comedian. Not only did her book show what a fantastic writer she is, but it also proved to be a crucial handbook for women everywhere who are struggling with self-worth.

She then went on to land starring roles in The Crown and Amazon Prime hit Ten Percent. Seann who?!

With a novel and a TV project in the pipeline, we can’t wait to see what she does next.

KI AND DEE

Diana Vickers is best known for her stint on The X Factor back in 2008 (yes, it really was that long ago) when she was just 17. But more recently the singer from Blackburn, 31, has been absolutely smashing it with her hilarious – and rather cheeky – podcast, Ki and Dee, which she co-hosts with her best pal and housemate Chiara Hunter.

Each week the pair get together for a gossip about everything from dating disasters, to the trials and tribulations of life as a millennial and friendship dramas. Chiara is also a singer songwriter and in the podcast – which they started during lockdown and has been described as “part stand-up comedy, part mental breakdown” – the pair sing hilarious ditties such as A Song About Jack Grealish.

Season three of the best friends’ fun-filled podcast is due to start in the coming months.

GRACE CAMPBELL

Given that her dad is a former Downing Street director of communications Alastair Campbell, stand-up comedy wasn’t the most obvious route for Grace Campbell to go down. But the 28-year-old has made a career out of making people laugh with her brutally honest and very personal anecdotes. And she says her dad is her “biggest fan”, even if he does find some of her material about her sex life tricky to watch!

Grace took the Edinburgh Fringe by storm last year with A Show About Me(n), where she talked about everything from football and break-ups to the challenges of having a famous dad. The show was such a hit, she’s now taking
it on a tour of the UK in February and March. We’ll see you there, Grace!

LASHANA LYNCH

After winning the Bafta EE Rising Star award last March, 35-year-old Lashana’s career has gone stratospheric.

The London-born actress has been quietly making ripples in the film world for a while now, with high-profile roles in No Time To Die and Captain Marvel. At the end of last year, she wowed audiences as Miss Honey in the smash hit Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical. But when she reprises her role as Maria Rambeau in The Marvels, due out this summer, it will catapult her career to a whole new level.

Lashana has said, “There was never a plan B,” when it came to her career. As she’s already signed up to play reggae legend Bob Marley’s widow, Rita, in a forthcoming biopic, it doesn’t look like she’ll need one.

GARCIA BROWN

The UK has more than enough up and coming soap stars, but Garcia Brown, who joined Hollyoaks as PC Zoe Anderson, the granddaughter of Pearl, earlier this year is one talented lady. Born in Jamaica, the 30-year-old actress moved to the UK when she was three years old and aside from roles in Shameless and A Lesson Learnt, she also wrote and directed her own TikTok and Youtube series, Ronald and Mitzy.

She says landing her role on Hollyoaks “has been super exhilarating”, adding, “I felt right at home the moment I got here and I’m super excited for what’s in store.”

With a role in upcoming horror flick A Song From The Dark, it looks like a trip to Hollywood could soon be on the cards. Go Garcia!

WET LEG

If Robbie Williams saying he wants to collaborate with you isn’t a sign you’ve made it, we’re not sure what is.

That’s the situation Wet Leg – indie duo Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers from The Isle of Wight – found themselves in last November, after the former Take That singer declared he’d love to work with them.

We’re not sure longtime friends Rhian, 28 and Hester, 27, whose debut single Chaise Longue has had over 11 million streams on Spotify, really need Robbie’s help, as they seem to be doing pretty well on their own – their self-titled debut album hit number one last April.

Talking about their success, Rhian said, “It’s pretty fun, just having a nice time with our friends.” That fun looks set to continue, as they’re about to head off on tour supporting another boy band legend, Harry Styles, in Australia and New Zealand in February.

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