The 25 most inspirational women under 25 in Cambridge

On course for world domination


Cambridge: home to one of the world’s most prestigious academic powerhouses which has churned out renowned and successful actors, politicians, comedians, business giants and media moguls for centuries.

This small market town tucked away in the unremarkable landscape of the Fens hoards (allegedly) some of the brightest young minds in the country. We wanted to dispel the stereotype of male white privilege surrounding the city of one of the oldest intellectual establishments by looking at the top 25 women under the age of 25 who are no strangers to the hallowed streets of Cambridge.

Also home to this monolith of oppressive phallic architecture. Definitely not a symbol of something.

Home to this phallic monolith. Definitely not intended as a useful, visual symbol of structural oppression.

Amber Cowburn

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After suffering the unimaginably tragic loss of her brother, Cambridge graduate Amber Cowburn set up the Invictus Trust with her family; a charity which supports young people with mental health issues. During her time in Cambridge, Cowburn was also president of Cambridge’s Student Minds and responsible for organising the largest mental-health conference in Cambridge ever held. Oh, and according to her Twitter bio she also appears to be a dance-fitness instructor in her spare time. What a woman.

Georgie Henley

Narnia. Cambridge. What's the difference?

Narnia. Cambridge. What’s the difference?

Best known for portraying Lucy Pevensie in the Chronicles of Narnia movies at the tender age of 10. Having already established an enviable acting career, yet admirably not content to rest on her thespian laurels, Georgie gained a place at Clare College, Cambridge to read English and graduated this summer. A glittering career is no doubt set to continue and soar. All this and she is still only 21.

Yasmin Lawal

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Launched the ‘I too am Cambridge’ campaign which aims to “highlight incidences of discrimination and stereotyping that occur within Cambridge University” with the hope that “this will provoke wider discussion and necessary change”. A BME-promoting superwoman.

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge

Cambridge power in adorable, mini form.

Cambridge power in deceptively adorable form

OK, admittedly this one is kind of cheating. BUT she is female, under the age of 25, will most certainly be an incredibly influential woman (once she is out of nappies) and is the only one in this list to actually have Cambridge in her title. The nation – if not the world – expects great things from this most adorable of Cambridges.

Poppy Noor

Homeless at 16, Poppy Noor would never have guessed that she would later gain a place at Trinity College, Cambridge, thanks to help from state benefits. She has since campaigned against cuts to benefits for the under 25s, became a policy officer for local government as well as a WIE network award winner as part of “a global conference and community that convenes notable leaders to empower and inspire women”.

Carina Tyrell

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Cambridge University medical student and Miss England finalist, you may remember Carina Tyrell from when national newspapers lost their minds over the idea that a Cambridge student could be interested in what is effectively known as a beauty contest (The shock! The novelty! The scandal!). Living proof that beauty and brains do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan

An award-winning spoken word poet who does not shy from socially taboo issues, winning the Benjamin Zephaniah poetry competition with a poem about female genital mutilation. She was also responsible for directing, producing and acting in Cambridge’s first all-black, all-female production: ‘For Colored Girls (Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf) for which she became the youngest female recipient of the Rare Rising Stars 2013 Award as “one of the top ten black students in the UK”.

Caroline Calloway

Hi, beautiful friends. I know I’ve been off the Insta for a while, but I have an excuse as unglamorous as it is valid: I finished a book. Ok, I didn’t finish it. And it’s not a book. But it is the first step in a series of random steps towards doing precisely that. You see, publishing houses don’t buy manuscripts; they buy “proposals,” pitches that should be snappy, absorbing, and persuasive—think Hemingway and Don Draper collaborating on some copy. What you don’t want to do is write 103 pages of graphic narrative LIKE A CRAZY PERSON. I’ll give you one guess what kind of proposal mine is. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” my agent Byrd said over the phone, and I could almost hear him shake his head. Byrd is the Ari Gold of New York literary agents. He wears a blue tooth headset, edits ruthlessly well, and when he likes something he slaps his desk in excitement, grinning, “This is fucking money.” I decided I wanted him to be my agent when I was 18, reading Tucker Max. Three years later I worked up the courage to call his secretary and ask her for a ten minute meeting with Byrd. She said, “We’ll call you!” They did not. The next week I called back and eventually she said fine. But when I walked into Byrd’s office a month later he had no idea why I was there. As he sat at his desk Googling me, I stood awkwardly in the corner. “Come back when you have a proposal,” he said finally. “I want pages.” Eighteen months later—on this past Thursday—I finished the 103-page 20,000-word tsunami that is my proposal. “If this were even a fraction less good, I wouldn’t submit.” Byrd continued. “The file is too big and, frankly, editors don’t want to read something so long… But this… This is fucking amazing. Nice work.” But my proposal came at a price. Namely: my grades, friendships, and whatever it costs to cure carpal tunnel syndrome, which I now have. But do you know what’s so special about us, Instagram? You and I? Much like me and my carpal tunnel syndrome, we’ll always have each other. Writing for Byrd and NYC editors has been fun, but writing for you guys is what this has always been about. I AM SO EXCITED TO WRITE THIS BOOK FOR YOU. Are you excited to read it?

A photo posted by Caroline Calloway (@carolinecalloway) on Oct 31, 2015 at 9:43am PDT

Having just graduated from Cambridge this summer with an Art History degree, New Yorker Caroline Calloway is a prolific Instagram personality with half a million followers amassed thanks to her eloquent monologue captions. Oh, and it also helps that her Instagram is basically a shrine to any American’s dream of life at “Hogwarts”.

Hoping to capitalise on this well-publicised American fantasy, Calloway is set to release her first book ‘AND WE WERE LIKE’, a memoir which promises to share “one American girl’s experience at Cambridge University, complete with never-before-told stories of tumultuous romances, glamorous European balls, near academic failure, and the ups and downs of charting a path toward adulthood, expanding on her Instagram memoir”.

Nsqaured blog

A sister team of dedicated fashion bloggers based in Cambridge, also known as Nia and Neo.

Sarah Creedy Smith

This would not be a list of Cambridge upstarts without another mention of Footlights. Creedy Smith is just a current member of the renowned comedy troupe which boasts Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, Richard Ayode, David Mitchell and other world-class darlings of the acting world among its formidable ranks.

The sacred centre of every Cambridge thespian's universe.

Absolute goals

Neha Kinariwalla

As the founder of the Humanology Project, which aim to reduce the stigma of mental illness, Neha became the youngest person on the Healthcare List for Forbes ‘30 under 30’, at just 21 at the time. She graduated from Cambridge last year.

Emma Lukasiewicz, Emma Spruce, Joanne Jansen, Ruth Siddorn, Elo Luik, Anastasia Chitty, Maddy Badcott, Lauren Kedar and Morgan Baynham-Williams

Forgive the blatantly shameless filling up of numbers, but these are the names of the 2016 Cambridge University Women’s Blues Crew: some of the most fearsomely skilled rowers around. Pushing their recent defeat against The Other Place aside (ahem), these determined women are models of hard-work, passion and dedication.

Eat, sleep, row, repeat.

Eat, sleep, row, repeat

thecambridgebubble

A Law student at Gonville and Caius who lives her life out on Instagram, week by week, term by term: a Cambridge student’s life in a vibrant, pictorial capsule.

Current view??? ? #Cambridge #sunset #landscape #nature #architecture #TheCambridgeBubble

A photo posted by *Hephzibah* (@thecambridgebubble) on May 22, 2016 at 1:15pm PDT

Tabatha Leggett

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A Tab alumnus who also happens to be a Philosophy Cambridge graduate, she now oversees Buzzfeed UK, with the intriguingly abstract title of “Head of Buzz”.

Genevieve Gaunt

Another child actress-come Cambridge graduate, Gaunt’s claim to fame is in having played Pansy Parkinson in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Her Slytherin past behind her, she followed in the footsteps of Emma Thompson at Newnham College from where she graduated with a double first in English. Her next release is coming of age film Kids in Love in which she bills alongside none other than Cara Delevigne.

Ellie Nunn

As the progeny of the renowned Shakespearean actress Imogen Stubb and equally revered director Sir Trevor Nunn (whose credentials include artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company), it is perhaps unsurprising that Ellie Nunn was also recently educated at Cambridge and has already racked up her own impressive billings in the theatre world.