20th May 2024

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Technology and Computer

How Creators, Founders And Writers Are Attracting Billions Of Followers And Millions In Revenue

Social media stars Madeline Argy and Maya Jama make this year’s Media & Marketing list along with authors, marketers and agency founders.

By Alex York, Pamela Jew and Leonard Schoenberger


Madeline Argy was a student at the University of Kent studying linguistics when she posted her first TikTok video. She did it out of boredom—and because she had a crush on another creator on the platform and was hoping to receive a comment from her on the video.

“I started posting and then it spiraled out of control,” says Argy, who’s now 23. By “out of control” she means that she’s since amassed a following of more than 7 million across TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, content creation has become her full-time job, and it earned her $1 million last year, Forbes estimates.


Since first going viral for a video about a worm, she’s expanded her offerings to include content across travel, beauty and coming of age. Popularity has attracted brand partnerships. She’s promoted brands like makeup company Kosas and Apple’s Beats by Dre. In 2022 she signed with Under 30 alum Alex Cooper’s “Unwell Network” to host a podcast called “Pretty Lonesome,” where she’ll discuss feeling alone in your twenties and mental health.

“Something that’s always strange to me is when you work with a brand and they send you a stiff creative,” she says. “I always find that my better performing campaigns are ones where I’ve had more creative control…If you’ve chosen to work with a creator, work with them.”

The 2024 list spotlights marketing executives, journalists, content creators and more who are shaping their industries with both novel technologies and old-school methods. All candidates had to be 29 or younger as of April 9, 2024, and never before named to a Europe, North America or Asia 30 Under 30 list.

To select the 2024 honorees, Forbes collected nominations from Under 30 alumni and the public, conducted our own research and tapped the expertise of independent judges: Yomi Adegoke, author and 2021 Under 30 Europe alum; Max Berger, chief commercial officer of Highsnobiety; Betting Fetzer, vice president of communications and marketing at Mercedes-Benz; and Tag Warner, CEO of Gay Times and 2022 Under 30 Europe alum. Of those named to the final list, 39% identify as people of color, 47% are women and 69% are founders.

Gallery: 30 Under 30 Europe 2024: All Callouts

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Argy’s not the only one who’s harnessing social media to build a career. Kit Chilvers, 24, and Iyrah Rodway-Williams, 24, cofounded Pubity Group in 2020 as an umbrella company now including more than 20 social media brands. Pubity has more than 37 million followers on Instagram while @Memezar, the company’s meme page, has nearly 24 million. The duo has successfully tapped into the young zeitgeist by sharing content across breaking news, science, culture and technology.

According to Rodway-Williams, the biggest misconception about their generation is “that Gen Z have a short attention span,” he says. “We just know what we care about.”

Other members of this year’s list are focusing on problems rocking legacy media companies. René Bucken, 29, a managing editor at German news publication Tagesschau, is combating fake news by reverse image-searching and tracing stories back to their original sources. Bucken is also steering the company’s AI strategy to determine how artificial intelligence can contribute to fact-checking and verification processes.

Ronald Griffin, the 28-year-old founder of SEEN, is another lister specializing in AI. SEEN is an AI-driven video platform that creates personalized video advertisements for consumers. They work with clients like Amazon and the Houston Astros. The startup’s revenue streams include recurring subscriptions and brand campaign videos. Griffin says he’s on track to hit nearly $7 million in revenue in 2024.

But even with the hype around emerging and growing technologies like social media and AI, players in traditional media among this year’s honorees.

Although she has more than 3 million social media fans, Maya Jama, 29, continues to make a name for herself as a television host on franchises like Love Island and The Circle. Nada Bashir, 28, attracts millions of viewers with her video broadcast reporting as an international correspondent at CNN. And Eliza Clark, 29, has her novel sold in bookstores around the globe. Her debut, Boy Parts, sold more than 60,000 copies worldwide and her sophomore book Penance, published in July 2023, has sold more than 15,000 copies in the U.S. and the U.K.

There’s no doubt that these 30 up-and-comers will make an impact on the world and their industries—whether that be financial or otherwise. But for Argy, she just wants to help others with her content.

“If I listen to a hundred podcasts a day and read a bunch of books and I get one idea from them and put it online, I hope that I can say it in a way that makes sense,” she says. “And I think more than anything, I’d probably just be happy if I left people with a good feeling.”

This year’s list was edited by Alex York, Pamela Jew and Leonard Schoenberger. For a link to our complete 2024 30 Under 30 Europe Media & Marketing list, click here, and for full 2024 30 Under 30 Europe coverage, click here.

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