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The People You Needed To Read About In 2015

From a recovering teen meme to a historical cipher to Instagram superstars to the leader of the men's rights movement, here are some of the most fascinating people we spent time with this year.

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The Unbreakable Rebecca Black — Reggie Ugwu

Photograph by Joyce Lee for BuzzFeed News

Four years ago, she introduced the world to the most hated (and maddeningly unforgettable) song in a generation, was passed over by the music industry, and turned into a punchline — all before she was old enough for a learner's permit. Now 18, Rebecca Black is too famous to be normal and too normal to be famous. So what does she have to smile about?


16: Mackensie Is Pulling Out Her Hair — Jessica Testa

Photograph by Bryan Meltz for BuzzFeed News

Welcome to the first installment of "16," a BuzzFeed News series about ordinary people at the weirdest age. Meet a teenager with trichotillomania who is trying to be more than the girl in class who pulls her hair out.

Tess Holliday Is The Biggest Thing To Ever Happen To Modeling — Amanda Shapiro

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed News

At size 22, Tess Holliday is the largest model ever signed by a major agency. Can she spin her social media stardom into a career in the high-stakes (and notoriously body-conscious) modeling world?


The Mystery Of Sacagawea — Natalie Shure

Illustration by BuzzFeed News; Painting by Alfred Russell / Corbis

Since aiding Lewis and Clark on their famed 19th-century expedition across the West, this Shoshone heroine has become a symbol for everything from Manifest Destiny to women’s rights to American diversity. Does it matter that we don’t seem to know that much about her?

The NFL’s Most Notorious Underachiever Wants A Doctorate In Psychology — Lindsey Adler

Photograph by Drew Anthony Smith for BuzzFeed News

There’s a statue venerating Ricky Williams outside the University of Texas football stadium. Sixteen years and one tumultuous pro career later, he’s back on campus – with a very different purpose.

The Summer TV Heartthrob No One Saw Coming — Alison Willmore

Photograph by Cait Oppermann for BuzzFeed News

Rami Malek went from “hey, it’s that guy” to the breakout star of the season as Elliot Alderson on Mr. Robot, USA’s new hit dark drama.


The Keys To Enya's Kingdom — Anne Helen Petersen

Charlie Gray for BuzzFeed News

Over the course of three decades and with 80 million records sold, Enya has morphed into more than musician: She’s her own adjective. What makes her music — and the mysterious woman behind it — appealing to so many?

The Super Charmed Life Of Instagram’s Hottest Guy — Doree Shafrir

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

In 2015, it’s not unusual for a 23-year-old to suddenly find fame, and hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, merely for being a perfect human specimen. The question for Brock O’Hurn is: What is he going to do with it?


Ramy Essam Needs To Stay Famous So He Doesn't Get Killed — David Peisner

Photograph by Rasmus Degnbol for BuzzFeed News

In 2011, at age 23, Egypt’s “singer for the revolution” was lionized for helping to overthrow a dictator. Four years later, a brutal military crackdown has all but destroyed the country’s youthful protest movement while its hero bides his time in a faraway country, trying to keep the fight — and himself — alive.

How a Small-Time Drug Dealer Rescued Dozens During Katrina — Joel Anderson

Illustration by Owen Freeman for BuzzFeed News

To the cops, Jabbar Gibson was just a low-level drug pusher. But to the residents of a New Orleans public housing complex, he’s the man who rescued them from Hurricane Katrina when no one else would.

How Men’s Rights Leader Paul Elam Turned Being A Deadbeat Dad Into A Moneymaking Movement — Adam Serwer & Katie J.M. Baker

Illustration by Jonathan Rodriguez for BuzzFeed News

Paul Elam has become the face of the modern men’s rights movement by rallying against false rape accusations and divorce courts that favor mothers. But exclusive BuzzFeed News interviews with his estranged daughter and ex-wife show that his pet causes are very, very personal.

Rose McGowan Is Starting A Revolution — Kate Aurthur

Getty Images

After 20 years of acting — and finally realizing she hates it — Rose McGowan has become Hollywood’s feminist whistleblower. To the industry, she says, “Fuck your rules.”


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