Thursday 20 June 2019

From Baby Sussex to Caelan Doris - The 15 people we'll be talking about in 2019

In the past 12 months, there have been heavy hitters and rising stars galore. It wouldn't have been 2018 without Joe Schmidt, CardiB, Saoirse Ronan, Simon Harris, and of course, Theresa May. But who will be hitting the headlines in the year ahead? Who is on the edge of stardom, poised for a bumper year? Tanya Sweeney looks into her crystal ball to find out

Prince Harry talking with Amy Huberman, Aisling Bea and Lucy Kennedy at the Garden Party in Glencairn
Prince Harry talking with Amy Huberman, Aisling Bea and Lucy Kennedy at the Garden Party in Glencairn

Tanya Sweeney

1. Baby Sussex: Celebrity fans are more than used to the occasional bumpwatch, but rarely has there been this level of heated interest in a baby bump.

After much speculation, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that their first child is due ‘sometime in the spring’; Meghan has further stoked online commentary by protectively patting her bump in public (a lot). If you thought the arrival of Baby Sussex’s cousins George, Charlotte and Louis was a media frenzy, you’ve seen nothing yet.

2. Shane Ryan

The Pennsylvania-born swimmer waved goodbye to 2018 in spectacular style when he won a bronze medal for Ireland at the World Short Course Swimming Championships in China in December with a thrilling race in the 50m backstroke final. We love a good Olympic hopeful round here, and already Shane’s chances of doing great things at Toyko 2020 are looking very healthy indeed.

3. Jair Bolsonaro

Far-right former army captain Bolsonaro officially starts his four-year term as the president of Brazil, after winning the country’s general election in October. The world’s eyes will doubtless be trained on Brazil, and on ‘the Brazilian Trump’, to see what big changes he will bring.


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Jair Bolsonaro


4. Kirsten Roupenian

You might know her as the author of ‘Cat Person’, a short story originally published in the New Yorker (that became the most-read short story in the magazine’s history). After a white-hot auction, Galley/Scout Press will publish You Know You Want This; a collection of short stories in a similarly astute, wry vein. A book worth keeping an eye out for.

5. Duckie Thot

Everyone wants to know who the next Kendall Jenner/Adwoa Aboah is, and Nyadak ‘Duckie’ Thot is a fairly safe bet for superstardom. The Australian is new face of L’Oreal Paris and a key member of the Fenty Beauty Squad. She also played the lead in the Alice In Wonderland-inspired 2018 Pirelli Calendar.

6. Ciara Geraghty

Irish author Geraghty caused a stir at the Frankfurt Book Fair with her charming debut, Rules Of The Road, before it was snapped up by Lynne Drew, Cecelia Ahern’s publisher. Classed as the latest key title in the ‘up-lit’ wave of feel-good books, Geraghty is on course for a bestseller.

7. Aisling Bea

The Kildare funnywoman is certainly no stranger to the limelight, thanks to pitch-perfect performances on shows like 8 Out Of 10 Cats (and a supporting role in RTE’s Finding Joy), but in 2019, expect Aisling to really hit the big leagues. Her comedy Happy AF, is set to air on Channel 4 in early 2019, and will co-star her buddy Sharon Horgan. The pair will play sisters with Bea playing a woman suffering from anxiety and depression while Horgan will be the older sibling who struggles to look after her. Comedy fans are on tenterhooks already.

8. Seventeen

K-pop (Korean Pop) shows little sign of easing its stranglehold on youth culture and while BTS have stormed the world as the ‘Korean One Direction’, it’s very likely that you’re going to hear a lot about Seventeen (or SVT) in the coming months. With 13 members, there’s a heart-throb for everyone.


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9. Louise Bagnall

Irish animators are no strangers to the Oscars and this year’s great hope for homegrown Oscar glory comes in the form of director Louise Bagnall, whose short film Late Afternoon has already been creating a steady buzz, not least at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

10. Aisling Franciosi

As accolades go, new acting talent could do worse than pick up the European Shooting Star gong at the annual Berlin International Film Festival. But that’s how 25-year-old Irish actress Aisling Franciosi, already known for starring in The Fall and Game Of Thrones, wrapped a stellar 2018. The jury was impressed with Franciosi’s “great acting range and superb instincts” in period thriller The Nightingale, which won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival last year.

11. Johnny Ward

Love/Hate fans (and anyone who attended Copper Face Jacks: The Musical at the Olympia) will already be familiar with actor Ward’s cheeky eye-glint, but now that he has signed up to appear in next year’s Dancing With The Stars, he’ll be tangoing fairly close to housewives’ favourite territory this year. The charming Dubliner is very much in it to win it, and is likely to become a bit of a breakout personality.

12. Kiki Layne

Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to the Oscar-winning Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk, is already expected to make a huge sweep for glory during 2019’s awards season. At the centre of the story are two young lovers: pregnant Harlem teenager Tish (KiKi Layne) and her fiancé Fonny (Stephen James), jailed for a rape he did not commit. Critics are already making references galore to Layne’s supreme watchability. Next, she will lead Rashid Johnson’s Native Son, another hotly anticipated movie.

13. Dermot Kennedy

Singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy is sitting pretty on the BBC’s Sound of 2019 longlist, and is already garnering comparisons to Damien Rice and Rag’N’Bone Man.

His debut album is still in the works and due for release this year but his heartfelt music still does extremely brisk business on Spotify. Getting the stamp of approval from Taylor Swift hasn’t hindered his quick trajectory one bit.


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Dermot Kennedy


14. Caelan Doris

The 20-year-old Ballina native has been rising through the rugby ranks at Blackrock College and recently emerged as a bit of a standout talent for the Ireland Under-20s squad. Though he missed the 2018 Six Nations in his second year for the team due to a hamstring injury, he returned as captain for the World Rugby U20 Championship last June. Expect him to make a splash at senior level this year.

15. Sajid Javid

Theresa May might well have won a pivotal vote of confidence in December, but the leadership of the Conservative Party for 2019 looks far from certain. Of the names thought to be vying for the top spot — and, in the year where the Brexit bomb finally gets detonated, anticipating a helluva lot of attention — 49-year-old Sajid Javid, a former protégée of George Osbourne, is emerging as a contender..

Irish Independent

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