Prime Time To Shine: 9 Actresses Who Are Ready For Their Big Breakthrough

November 19, 2012  |  

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It hasn’t been an easy road to stardom for some of these talented ladies, and while they’ve gotten their chance to shine in supporting roles and lesser-known flicks, these actresses have too much talent and too much ambition to be relegated to the background for much longer. With the roles they’ve snagged this year, these ladies are poised to be the next big thing. Here are 10 actresses who are ready to have their breakthrough.

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Sharon Leal

Tucson-native Sharon Leal is no stranger to the supporting role spotlight. She has starred in such hits as Dreamgirls and Why Did I Get Married and has honed her television chops on such shows as Boston Public and Hellcats. But despite being ridiculously talented (she sings, she acts, and she’s drop-dead beautiful), Leal has never really had that one, big starring role. Will 2013 be the year that she takes Hollywood by storm? With a few films in the works, including the psychological thriller The Last Letter, it most certainly could happen.

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Anika Noni Rose

Leal’s Dreamgirls co-star and Disney’s first African-American princess has also struggled to make her mark. Tony Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose has yet to find a breakout role that will allow audiences to appreciate her acting chops as much as they do her singing abilities. However, with the upcoming movie As Cool As I Am (also starring Claire Danes and James Marsden), Rose has the perfect opportunity to appeal to a much more mainstream audience. We know she’s been fabulous at everything else she’s tried, why should a fun coming-of-age comedy be any different.

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Regina Hall

There’s no disputing that Regina Hall has potential. She’s got solid comedic timing and has appeared in a number of diverse films (everything from Scary Movie to Law Abiding Citizen). However, she has continuously struggled to make an impact that audiences can really appreciate. With no upcoming films and overall flying-under-the-radar approach, can Hall really make the leap? We’re down for taking that risk. If given the right role, with the right leading man, there is little doubt that she can become an A-list talent.

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Kat Graham

One of the youngest talents to make our list, Kat Graham is at the cusp of blowing up. Sure, she was a child star alongside Miley Cyrus, but she didn’t turn out to be a fraction of the hot mess that girl did. That’s not to say she doesn’t have an edge to her (I mean have you seen her holding down the Hot in her music videos?), but she definitely has the potential to make the jump to big-time star. She currently stars in the CW hit The Vampire Diaries, but don’t think witches and the ghosts is all this girl has going for her. With acting turns in two movies slated for 2013 release (Boogie Town and Bleachers), can she elevate her career to a whole new level? We’ve got faith in her.

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Zoe Kravitz

With genetics like hers (thanks Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet), can you really be surprised that we’re eyeing her as a soon-to-be breakout star? She’s appeared in a bunch of indie films as well as in X-Men: First Class, but she still hasn’t had a go at a starring or ridiculously memorable role. We think it’s about time that changes. She’s got a shot in two, big budget upcoming flicks: After Earth starring Will and Jaden Smith, as well as Mad Max: Fury Road. Come on, girl, make these count. It’s about time you become the big star we know you can be.

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Keke Palmer

Keke Palmer has grown up before our very eyes. From child star to young Hollywood starlet, Palmer is that actress you know, and you appreciate, but you still haven’t seen fulfill her potential. Here’s to changing that, as we truly feel that Palmer has the talent to take things up a notch. While she’s lent her voice to a number of successful animated franchises (What up, The Cleveland Show), we think it’s about time that she embrace adulthood and tackle a role that changes her and shows that Miss Keke Palmer is all grown up.

Adriana M. Barraza / WENN.com

Kimberly Elise

She moved us in For Colored Girls and empowered us in Diary of a Mad Black Woman, but when will the lovely Kimberly Elise take Hollywood by the cojones and land that box office hit of a starring role? We think it’s only a matter of time, at this point. She has constantly delivered in a variety of roles and has shown, without question, an uncanny ability to play strong women on screen. Actresses like Elise aren’t a dime a dozen and with the right role, she’ll certainly have the opportunity to prove she’s a special talent.

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Tasha Smith

Tell me something that Tasha Smith hasn’t been in. She’s that actress that you’ve seen all over the place … but as the funny sidekick or dysfunctional supporting character. This chick has paid her dues several times over. Hollywood, don’t you think it’s time that you upgrade Smith (and her ridiculously on-point comedic talents) to leading lady status? Trust us, it would be well worth it.

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Meagan Good

The always stunning Meagan Good has a laundry list of successful movies under her belt. So why is it that she has yet to break into Hollywood’s upper echelon? That’s a question we’re still trying to figure out, because Good certainly has the potential to become a much larger star. With her NBC series Deception premiering in January 2013, Good could finally force herself into the level of stardom that we think she may be capable of.

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  • This list has a few people to question, but there’s no doubt that Regina Hall, Kimberly Elise, Tasha Smith, and Megan Good need to be on the forefront of black Hollywood. It saddens me that “reality stars’ can get deals and shows like it’s nothing for their buffoonery but these hard working women are left for supporting actress roles.

  • Chrissy85

    Jurnee Smollett & Nicole Beharie and a few others should have been on this list… most of these people are already household names espicall Megan Good and Elise Neal

  • gsutiger

    Your right – Kimberly Elise needs her moment. Totally underrated.

  • Ms. Bee

    Kimberly Elise cries on cue better than any actress I know.

  • Ms. Bee

    I love Anika Noni Rose the most of everyone on this list, and I can see her getting a breakthrough role here soon. She’s very VERY talented, and very humble.

  • scandalous7

    Its time for Kimberly Elise to break through more than anyone on this list in my opinion.

  • When is Yelling to the Sky coming out in theaters nationwide?!!? I been waiting for like 2 years for it…

  • Elise Neal, Tasha Smith & Meagan Good are already household names (black households anyway;)

    • scandalous7

      sorry to say, but that is not enough