Some of the Hottest Personal Bands Going into 2014

Jonah Hill

The unexpected golden-boy of cinema, everything Jonah Hill does makes money and, for the most part, receives critical acclaim. His major rebranding occurred with Moneyball, which established him as a serious actor worthy of dramatic, limelight roles. Hence his recent, excellent performance in the Wolf of Wall Street, which is already generating Oscar buzz.

Gary Shteyngart

You probably haven’t read his previous book, Super Sad True Love Story, but you’ve probably seen the cover:

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Either way, the novel was a New York Times best-seller, lauded critically, and was optioned for — it’s rumored — one million dollars. Instead of bemoaning American disinterest in literature, Shteyngart and co. have met America on its own terms to advertise his upcoming memoir, Little Failure, with an online video trailer that features, among other celebrities, James Franco and Jonathan Franzen.

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Miley Cyrus

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Miley’s new, sexually-expressive image has landed her on the cover of Rolling Stone and made her the subject of media obsession. Long term, she’ll probably require another equally significant stage of brand evolution to remain relevant and exciting. For the moment, though, Miley’s approach has brought her, at the very least, an earning power and level of influence she certainly didn’t have this time last year.

Bill de Blasio

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In his recent landslide victory, Bill De Blasio became the first Democrat Mayor of New York City in 20 years. Thanks to a career characterized by pursuit of equality and, as Mayor Bloomberg pointed out to his own demise, De Blasio’s biracial family, the new Mayor successfully positioned himself as the antithesis to Bloomberg (and Guliani), just as Obama came to represent everything that W. Bush wasn’t.

Joaquin Phoenix

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Joaquin Phoenix’s semi-recent staged public breakdown, however intentional and for whatever reason, was set to be one of the greatest examples of a self-destructed brand. Since it’s culmination in 2010 with “I’m Still Here”, Joaquin’s personal brand took a full 180 – from unanimously-forgotten satire (or whatever it was) to unforgettable dramatic performances, beginning with last year’s “The Master” and this 2013/2014’s “Her”. These two films have established Phoenix, one can argue, as the go-to male lead – the one who can attract large audiences to serious, artistic films.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

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On February 21, 2012, Tolokonnikova made headlines with the rest of Pussy Riot, her punk rock band, for holding a “Punk Prayer” in a Moscow cathedral.  More controversy followed as two band-members, Tolokno among them, were formally accused of “hooliganism” and sentenced to two years imprisonment.  Nadya’s letters to family – written with the public in mind – detailed the prison system’s horrific conditions and intimidation techniques, and went viral, making international headlines.  Tolokno became so much of a nuisance that she disappeared mysteriously for two months, entirely cut off from the outside, only to surface again upon her (slightly premature) release last December.  Now free, she’s been even more vocal, and with increased legitimacy in the eyes of her followers and naysayers alike, you should expect to hear a lot more from Nadya in 2014.  She’s already calling for an international boycott of the Sochi Olympics.

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