White Lotus breakout star Simona Tabasco shines amongst the backdrop of Europe’s brightest young and talented changemakers and innovators in the entertainment industry.
Success can take years. Ten in the case of Italian actress Simona Tabasco, 28, who started acting when she was a teenager.
“I think everyone has their own vision and therefore their own path,” Tabasco tells Forbes.
The sweeping cultural movement that is season two of hit TV series The White Lotus is where Tabasco found her breakout role as Lucia amid the anthology’s undercurrent of satire, class and privilege on the picturesque Sicilian coast.
A crossover talent, Tabasco—who was known in her native country for her role as Dr. Elisa Russo on the drama Doc – Nelle Tue Mani (Doc – In Your Hands) and for starring in the Netflix Italy series Luna Park—has transcended geographical borders, signing with the U.S.-based talent agency WME and starring in a campaign for Kim Kardashian’s clothing brand Skims. She has since graced the sidelines of luxury fashion house shows in New York and Paris, as well as the SAG and Golden Globe awards, all while reigning from the coast of southern Italy—where the Naples to Emmys pipeline is not typically par for the course.
Tabasco is just one of Europe’s top young talents named to the Forbes 2023 30 Under 30 Europe Entertainment list this year, curated with the help of nominations from the public. To be considered for this year’s list, all candidates had to be under the age of 30 as of March 7, 2023 and never before named to a 30 Under 30 list.
Candidates were evaluated by a panel of judges featuring Maria Bakalova, actress and Under 30 Class of 2021 alumna; Mohammed Phaim Bhuiyan, filmmaker and Under 30 Class of 2021 alum; Joy Crookes, musician and 30 Under 30 Class of 2021 alumna; and FoSho, a Ukrainian rap group and 30 Under 30 Class of 2022 alumnas.
Of the 30 named to the final list, 16 self-identify as people of color and roughly half are first-generation citizens in their respective countries. The list is divided evenly between musicians, actors and industry executives and founders.
Entertainment spans disciplines that make up the fabric of artistic expression—from music, film and those who create the art, to the founders and changemakers behind the scenes shepherding dreams into reality.
Take lister Thara Popoola, 29, as an example. The London-based comedy and drama writer, who has worked on series including Sex Education and Queenie, cofounded Black Women in Scripted, a network of Black British women and non-binary individuals working in scripted film and TV.
In front of the camera, British actor Joseph Quinn, 29, became a popular name this past year with his role as Eddie Munson in the popular Netflix series Stranger Things. Fellow Brit, Sheyi Cole, 23, is creating a blueprint for a younger generation of performers with unique roles in award-winning TV series, Atlanta, created by Donald Glover, and Steve McQueen’s BAFTA-nominated anthology, Small Axe. Next up for Cole are roles in Steven Soderbergh’s Full Circle series and the Netflix feature film, Beautiful Game, alongside actor Bill Nighy.
Behind the scenes, lister Jordan Schwarzenberger, 25, is managing British YouTube creators such as The Sidemen through his management company Arcade Media, which he cofounded in 2021. And speaking of founders, Roisin Tapponi, 23, launched global streaming service Shasha Movies, showcasing Southwest Asian and North African films often censored in their own regions, with the goal of bringing visibility to underrepresented, creative content.
And in music? The soundtrack of the future is playlisted with Bakar, 28, a first-generation Yemeni and Tanzanian singer-songwriter whose emotional electronic soul rock breaks genre barriers; British-Jamaican non-binary musician and director Lava La Rue, 24, whose work has been commissioned by the Tate Modern; R&B singer-songwriter, RIMON, 26; and British musician RAYE, 26, who racked up five platinum singles and a BRIT nomination all before releasing a debut album.
Fred Again, 29, spent many years as a pivotal behind-the-scenes producer for everyone from ambient music genre pioneer Brain Eno to pop star Ellie Goulding. He has since had a meteoric rise to fame and success, mostly due to his signature style of sampling unconventional sounds and incorporating them into his electronic music. The twist? Those sources are often just samples from his life—messages from fans, an account from a lonely Covid-19 quarantine or moments of melancholy. Fred Again takes these blink-of-an-eye moments and transforms them into upbeat, visceral dance music often layered into collaborations with artists such as the Blessed Madonna, Skrillex and Four Tet.
Dodie, 27, has a similar appeal. She translated her YouTube stardom into four independent EP’s and a studio album. Now, she has amassed a large and dedicated following of fans who yearn to hear her sing about bisexuality, boundaries and break-ups (see her Tiny Desk Performance here for further proof).
This year’s list was edited by Charlotte Burney, Emmy Lucas and Jacqueline Schneider. For a link to our complete 30 Under 30 Europe Entertainment list, click here, and for full 30 Under 30 Europe coverage, click here.