7. Kerry Washington
It looks as though Kerry Washington is off to a good start this year. Earlier this month, the NAACP honored her with their President’s Award. And with good reason! Americans for the Arts points out that her leading role in ABC’s Scandal marks the first time in nearly four decades that an African-American actress has helmed a network drama. And the 36-year-old has also proven to be quite the activist. She’s spoken at the 2012 Democratic National Convention and has pledged her support to V-Day, Eve Ensler’s movement to end violence against women around the world.