As the year winds down and we look forward to making new aspirations and resolutions in 2022, here’s a list of South Asians across the globe. This list includes names of people from all walks of the year and from different career paths. However, they all have in common great success in their field that made every South Asian feel proud. Additionally, their success allows for more representation and inspirational role models for the upcoming youth in our countries.
Here is a list of some of those names broken into different fields, we chose not to give out a rank since ranking is a very arbitrary metric
Arts & Entertainment
Adarsh rose to prominence this year as Balram Halwai in the American comedy-drama film The White Tiger (2020), which garnered him international acclaim, and nominations for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Arooj Aftab was nominated at the 64th Grammy’s for Best New Artist and hails from Lahore, Pakistan. Also, she is a self-taught guitar player and vocalist and made President Obama’s Summer Playlist.
The 40-year-old sales manager was a finalist on “The Great British Bake Off” and a fan favorite for his inventive creations.
Next, we have 26-year-old, Crystelle, who was one of the three finalists in the latest season of the beloved baking competition show, “The Great British Bake Off” and a fan favorite because of her infectious laughter and charismatic personality.
Kal is a well-known American-Indian actor in Hollywood that came out last month and announced his engagement with his long-time partner. Moreover, his coming out builds more queer acceptance and tolerance in South Asian communities.
She remains one of the biggest South Asian names in Hollywood that is not only starring in A-list projects but also cultivating new talent. Additionally, she’s a role model for single working mothers.
Priyanka had an impactful year with her philanthropy work, working a new restaurant in Manhattan, starting a beauty line, and starring and producing several projects in Hollywood.
Tan had a tremendous year with a nomination for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program for “Queer Eye”.
He co-founded Canada, which helps African workers access the daily wages they’ve earned and made this year’s “Forbes 30 Under 30”.
CFO of Square, under Amrita’s leadership, the shares for the company rose 500% since the pandemic further accelerated the move to digital retail and electronic payments. She’s making noise as one of “Forbes CEO Next 2021 List”.
As President of Ford’s North American businesses, he’s helped develop Lincoln’s car, truck, and SUV lines. Also, made the “Forbes CEO Next 2021 List”.
Founder and CEO of Live Tinted, Deepica is redefining beauty standards with her beauty line that is propagated by Western mainstream ideals.
Five years ago Talukder cofounded the Dhaka-based online store that sells everything from mobile phones to home appliances, apparel, and makeup. Pickaboo was one of the first online retailers in Bangladesh to introduce a monthly installment payment plan. Plus, he’s on the “Forbes 30 Under 30” list.
Next, we have Nikita, who is the Founder and CEO of Symba. Symba, an all-female-founded tech startup, is the leading remote platform on a mission to open up the workforce. Symba helps businesses adapt to the future of work—adopting remote operations, investing in the next generation of talent, and committing to diversity and inclusion.
Roy started HyperXchange in 2016 as a dorm-room project selling used goods to college students. The venture has since evolved into an online marketplace that offers refurbished electric gadgets such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Additionally, he made the “Forbes 30 Under 30” list.
Founder and CEO of Cradlewise, an intelligent crib with an integrated baby monitoring system that learns from babies’ sleep patterns, spots early signs of wake-up, and rocks the baby to sleep along with soothing music – just like a parent!
Founder and CEO of NextGenJane, Ridhi is helping women be more proactive with their health by discovering early markers for reproductive disorders and making diagnosis more accessible.
In 2015, the self-taught marketer founded Colombo-based Surge Global, a digital media and consulting firm. Three years later, Surge raised $500,000 led by Tavistock Group, owned by British billionaire Joe Lewis. He made the “Forbes 30 Under 30” list.
Krithika Varagur is an award-winning journalist and author of “The Call: Inside the Global Saudi Religious Project.” Also, she spent four years covering religion, politics, and corruption in Southeast and South Asia for outlets including The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Juggernaut. Additionally, she made this year’s “Forbes 30 Under 30”.
Rahmani was an award-winning actress before becoming one of the most-followed teenage influencers in India. The 19-year-old has more than 24 million Instagram followers and around 3 million YouTube subscribers. Rahmani also had 28 million followers on TikTok before the video-sharing app was banned in India in July last year.
Rishabh Shekhar & Anirudh Singla
Singla and Shekhar cofounded Mumbai-based content creation platform Pepper Content in 2017. The startup uses algorithms to match freelance designers and writers with businesses looking for content.
Mahmud is the managing partner of Eikon7, an advertising and digital marketing agency with offices in Pakistan as well as Romania, Rwanda, and the U.A.E. Along with many others on this list, he was also on “Forbes 30 Under 30”.
He was elected as Mayor-elect of Cincinnati, OHand an Indian-Tibetan American that wants to move the city forward.
Next on the list is Shahana made history as the first Muslim woman elected to the New York City Council. She is a daughter of Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants, Lupus survivor, and activist.
Civil rights lawyer and community activist Shekar Krishnan will be New York City’s council member starting in January.
Dr. Murthy is the US Surgeon General, who helps tackle COVID along with highlighting the importance of the mental health crisis
Arunabha Bhattacharya, Rishabh Gupta, and Anshul Sharma
The three college friends founded Bengalore-based Redwing to reduce hospitals’ reliance on refrigerators to store perishables such as blood and vaccines. Its drones can make deliveries within a 50km service range. The team is also working with Mahindra Logistics, Daimler India, and other private players looking for cheaper last-mile logistics. They were featured on the “Forbes 30 Under 30” list.
Pranav leads a research lab at Harvard where we develop artificial intelligence technologies for medical applications. He also made this year’s “Forbes 30 Under 30”.
This 44-year-old astronaut became the 5th person of Indian descent to go into space.
Next on the list is, Shriya Srinivasan who is developing better ways for human limbs to interact with prostheses through brain-computer interfaces and tissue engineering and made this year’s “Forbes 30 Under 30”.
Shruti Rijhwani is a Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University developing natural language processing technologies to help revitalize endangered languages and made this year’s “Forbes 30 Under 30”.
Alok is a successful author, fashionista, performance artist, and media personality that explores the importance of moving beyond the gender binary. Furthermore, he uses poetry, comedy, performance, drag, lecture, sound-art, fashion design, self-portraiture, and social media to explore themes of gender, race, trauma, belonging, and the human condition.
Rijve Arefin & Shomy Chowdhury
Shomy and Rijve, who Chowdhury met later that year, cofounded Awareness 360 to bring together young people wanting to improve the lives of others. The Kuala Lumpur-based NGO now has 1,500 volunteers in 23 countries who hold talks and workshops on handwashing, water-filtration methods, and personal hygiene, among other environmental initiatives. Their ventures led them to land the “Forbes 30 Under 30” list.
Choudhary, who identifies as queer, started Safe Access in 2019 to provide equitable healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community in India, where homosexuality was decriminalized three years ago yet discrimination persists.
He’s making news as the new CEO of Twitter. Parag was born in India, went to school at IIT, and graduated from Stanford with a Ph.D. in computer science. Additionally, he previously worked at Yahoo and Microsoft.
Next, we have, Gurugram-based ed-tech startup Stones2Milestones launched its Freadom app in 2016 to help children improve their English reading and speaking skills through curated books, news, and activities. Its recommendation engine, built with Stanford University, matches students with grade-appropriate content.
Finally, we have Uttara Sivaram, who is a data and technology policy expert with experience leading corporate and research initiatives advancing privacy for Uber and made “Forbes 30 Under 30” this year.