Top 10 breakout TV actors of 2021: From Anupam Tripathi to Evan Mock
What is a world without entertainment? A glum one. 2020 was quite an uneventful year but 2021 brought good news in the form of new releases and seasons of anticipated shows and movies, whose production could finally go on.
The year 2021 saw many new works after the pandemic brought the world to a complete halt, and with new content comes new (and old) talent who had the opportunity to shine. With the year coming to an end, here's looking back at some of the talented television actors for whom 2021 served as a breakout year.
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1. Evan Mock
Show: 'Gossip Girl' (HBO Revival)
Evan Mock is an American skater, model, photographer, surfer, and now actor, who hails from Hawaii. The 24-year-old had already experienced a bit of the limelight after having successfully modeled in campaigns for Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, and more, and additionally when singer Frank Ocean posted a video of him skating. But his role in the much-anticipated return of the teen series 'Gossip Girl' was what shot him up the ladder. His role as Akeno "Aki" Menzies in 'Gossip Girl' had heads turning with him sporting a pink hairdo and a soft demeanor. His first-ever acting role grabbed a lot of attention with him being offered more brand deals.
2. Demetrius Flenory Jr
Show: 'BMF' (Black Mafia Family)
Demetrius 'Lil Meech' Flenory Jr plays his father Demetrius' Big Meech' Flenory on the Starz crime drama 'BMF'. The show follows the real-life journey of brothers Demetrius and Terry Flenory as they build one of the largest drug organizations in America. The show helmed by 50 Cent is the young actor's debut role for which the rapper had him attend acting classes for two years. Doing a great job on his first project, 'BMF' was renewed for a second season within days of its premiere. While his father may be in prison the young man is working hard to make a career in Hollywood and has even bagged a role in the much-awaited second season of HBO drama 'Euphoria'.
3. Anupam Tripathi
Show: 'Squid Game'
2021 was the year Netflix's 'Squid Game' took over the world with the Korean drama hitting number 1 on charts around the globe. Dark, emotional, and exciting the show had many brilliant performances but one that captured the audience's hearts without fail was the portrayal of Ali Abdul by Korea-based Indian actor Anupam Tripathi. The actor who mainly did small background roles struck gold with the monumental drama. With incredible emotional acting that had viewers around the world rooting for him, he displayed sheer brilliance with his acting skills. The fanfare around the globe even got him millions of followers on Instagram and the unknown actor was suddenly known by the world. 'Squid Game' served as his breakout role with him well deserving of all of his success.
4. Michael Rainey Jr
Show: ' Power II: Ghost'
Michael Rainey Jr became part of the Starz family when he appeared as Tariq James St Patrick in the drama 'Power' in 2014. But what was first just a recurring role turned out to be even bigger when he starred as the lead in the sequel series 'Power Book II: Ghost'. The show which picked up after the 'Power'finale sees Rainey Jr as the leading man Tariq who is navigating life anew. The first season was a hit with the 21-year-old doing a great job which had him take on even more heat in 2021's Season 2. A rising star, audiences can look forward to his journey.
5. Isaiah Hill
Isaiah Hill who appeared in the Apple TV+ series 'Swagger' as Jace Carson got the opportunity of a lifetime when he bagged the role. The 19-year-old led the cast of the sports drama inspired by NBA superstar Kevin Durant’s experiences in youth basketball after bagging the role amongst thousands of potential candidates. He put in his all training thoroughly for the sport and gave a notable performance for his acting debut. Seems like he was the perfect one chosen from over the world as he brought swagger, emotion and passion to the role. The budding actor is one to look out for after an amazing start.
6. Simu Liu
Movie: 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings'
Simu Liu is no stranger to the TV screen and was seen as one of the leads on CBC's 'Kim's Convenience' from 2014 and in the crime drama series 'Blood and Water' from 2015. But 2021 was the year that saw him skyrocket into the global scene where he played the lead in the Marvel movie 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings'. He essayed Shang Chi, a Marvel character with the movie bringing in more than $400 million even during the pandemic to become the eighth-highest-grossing film of 2021. The flick garnered positive reviews from critics with praises including the exploration and representation of Asian culture, and a great performance by Liu. The Canadian actor who once upon a time used to dress up as Spiderman for kid's birthday parties went on to become the first East Asian man to cover Men's Health magazine in over a decade since 2010 with him being the first Asian lead in a Marvel movie.
7. Eli Brown
Show: 'Gossip Girl' (HBO Revival)
The American actor's work can be traced back to 2019 where he starred as the lead in ' Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists'. But what was his first-ever audition and on-screen role, was short-lived after the show got canceled after its first season. He then went on to star in Netflix's 'The F**k-It List' and 'Spinning Out'. The actor who was at the start of his journey struck gold when he landed the role of Otto 'Obie' Bergmann IV in HBO Max's 'Gossip Girl'. His extremely wealthy and laid-back character caught fans' attention and with the teen drama already having an audience it was not surprising that his name was recognized more. Still on the rise, look forward to more from the young star.
8. Jaden Michael
Show: 'Colin in Black and White'
18-year-old Jaden Michael never imagined having the responsibility of playing American activist and former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, but Netflix's limited series 'Colin in Black & White' saw him do exactly that. His portrayal of Colin Kaepernick during his high school years, following him through the experiences that led him down the path of becoming the activist he is today was done brilliantly. Although he shone in the Ava Duvernay show and received praise for his wonderful performance as Kaepernick, he has also acted in projects like 'Vampires vs. the Bronx' before. Michael currently looks forward to going to college and his rising career in Hollywood.
9. Josha Stradowski
Show: 'The Wheel of Time'
Josha Stradowski isn't exactly a familiar face with the newcomer having 12 acting credits according to IMDB, most of them being Dutch roles. But that may soon change with his role as one of the leads of Amazon Prime's ambitious epic fantasy series 'The Wheel of Time'. The Dutch actor plays one of the main characters Rand al’Thor alongside Golden Globe Award-winning actress Rosamund Pike. If you didn't know him before you'll definitely know now with the rising actor expected to bag more projects after this role.
10. Archie Renaux
Show: 'Shadow and Bone'
Archie Renaux is an English actor and model who has appeared in projects that include BBC's 'Gold Digger', and Amazon Prime's 'Hanna'. In 2021 he led the Netflix fantasy series 'Shadow and Bone' which was loved by fans of the genre worldwide. The actor was praised by fans as well for his portrayal of Malyen "Mal" Oretsev and a second season is in the works. The actor clearly has potential and will be next seen in Marvel's 'Morbius'.