• Rahel Romahn in The Principal. (SBS)Source: SBS
It’s no longer just the major film roles that attract accolades for upcoming young stars from both Australia and around the world. There’ve been some very strong TV performances this year, impressive enough to propel these ingénues into stardom.
Genevieve Dwyer

16 Dec 2015 - 7:54 PM  UPDATED 16 Dec 2015 - 7:54 PM

Rahel Romahn

Rahel’s turn as the troubled and hostile teen Tarek in SBS’s The Principal was widely applauded as one of the stand-out performances from the acclaimed mini-series. 

Originally hailing from the Kurdish area of Iraq, Rahel’s family escaped to Australia (via Turkey) as refugees when he was just two years old- not unlike his character Tarek, a Syrian refugee.  

He certainly didn’t hold back the emotion onscreen. “There were times when I would take it very far physically and would injure myself,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “All within the character's emotional arcs.

“There is a scene where my character is under the influence of some illicit substances and takes it bit too far in the classroom.”


Ruby Rose

Aussies have of course been aware of the captivating Ruby Rose as a model, DJ and former MTV presenter for many years now. 2015 however marked the year that she broke through to the international market via Netflix’s smash hit Orange is the New Black.

This in turn supposedly caused global sexual confusion as women and men of all orientations suddenly found themselves lusting after her.

It also led to a pretty major hosting gig alongside Ed Sheeran at the MTV European Music Awards.


Rami Malek

If the star of this year’s breakthrough hit Mr Robot, Rami Malek, looks familiar – then you might perhaps have watched a few kids’ movies. His biggest role prior to this was as Egyptian mummy Ahkmenrah in the Night at the Museum movies with Ben Stiller. As Elliot Anderson in Mr Robot though, he nails it so perfectly it feels as though the role was written for him.

Swedish actor Martin Wallstrom, who plays the malevolent Tyrell Wellick Senior Vice President of Technology at the antagonistic E Corp, is another newcomer whose star is surely on the rise.  


Sam Frost

She might have been spurned by love rat Blake on last year’s Bachelor (which certainly helped propel her to her current level of fame) but in 2015 Sam Frost proved she’s no flash-in-the-pan reality star.

After successfully carrying Australia’s first season of The Bachelorette, Sam prove herself charismatic enough to land a major commercial radio contract alongside Rove McManus on the Today network’s coveted breakfast slot. Clearly Sam’s broken through and proved she’s here for more than just her fifteen minutes!


Tim Minchin

While beloved funnyman and bona fide musical genius Tim Minchin is hardly a newcomer to the world of entertainment, 2015 did certainly see him break into previously unchartered Aussie TV territory.

Firstly was his dark, disturbing turn as the malevolent Smasher in ABC’s The Secret River which saw him sporting an uncannily realistic Irish accent. Then he showed up on Stan in a comedic role as the hapless security guard in No Activity. He’s certainly a man of many talents!


Wagner Moura

Wagner Moura actually has a pretty extensive filmography in his native Brazil, but the Netflix crime drama Narcos this year introduced him to the English-speaking market as the despicable Pablo Escobar.

His portrayal of the brutal real-life Columbian drug-lord clearly made a splash too – as he’s received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Drama Series. 


Sarah Snook

You could be mistaken for thinking 2015 is the year of Snook! Sarah captivated audiences as the tormented heroine of the ABC’s The Beautiful Lie – a contemporary Aussie adaptation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. It was quite a leap from her cockney-tinted performance as Sal in The Secret River.

That role earned her an AACTA nomination, as did her film role in The Dressmaker – one of the highest grossing Aussie films of the year which has seen her glamorous likeness splashed on movie posters around the world.


Kodi Smit-McPhee

At just 19 years of age, Aussie actor Kodi already has a pretty impressive CV, with roles in a multiple major films as he was growing up, including Romulus, My Father (2007), The Road (2009), Let Me In (2010) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014).

2015 saw him leap into the starring role though, in Nine’s Gallipoli, in which he played eager 17-year-old Tolly who enlisted as a soldier alongside his oldest brother, with the show marking 100 years since the disastrous WWI Gallipoli campaign.

Now based in LA, Kodi’s a talent sure to be reckoned with and already has several projects coming out next year.