Meet our spring introducing talent

Every issue, we compile the rising stars to watch. From actors to musicians, designers to writers, these are the up-and-coming names you need to know.

Taken from the new print issue of THE FACE. Get your copy here.

Nigel Matambo

Nigel Matambo was in the middle of a shift at the Apple Store in his hometown of Leeds when he got a DM from the late Virgil Abloh. I told my manager: Yo, I need 10 minutes,’” he says. Then I called my dad.” What brought Louis Vuitton’s creative director to his Insta? Well, Matambo’s a bit of a self-taught tech wizz, bringing the impossible to life through augmented reality. Think: souped-up Snapchat filters and then some. Before long, he was collaborating with Abloh on AR experiences and Louis Vuitton’s first ever collection of digital wearables, waking up at 4am to work on his new extra-curriculars before clocking in at the Genius Bar. Now 25, Matambo can also count Kaytranada, Nike, Samuel Ross and Meta as clients. As for the people of Leeds? Someone else can fix their iPhones. OP


Rukiat Ashawe

The thousands who follow Rukiat Ashawe on Instagram would probably label her a sex educator. But I’m thinking of calling myself something else,” says the 29-year-old from South London. Although Ashawe’s work as a content creator and writer is all about sex, don’t lump her in with other sex-positive feminists. I find [that brand of feminism] to be quite vapid. It doesn’t really provide a good analysis of women’s issues.” Instead, Ashawe wants women to tackle some of the stickier subjects. Why don’t we interrogate hookup culture? Why does the orgasm gap exist? Or, for example, I’m all about sex workers’ rights, but I feel like feminism has kind of glamourised it.” This Marxist-slash-radical-feminist” is taking it all seriously, too. She’s currently studying sociology, with plans to then pursue a PhD. That’s Dr Ashawe to you. OP


Malcolm Kamulete

Malcolm Kamulete, 26, is bursting with energy. Born and raised in Stratford, East London, the actor’s been in the biz since 2012 – first as an extra in Plan B’s Ill Manors, then as Ra’Nell in Channel 4’s OG series of Top Boy, having been scouted for both roles at school. After Top Boy was cancelled in 2014 (later being revived by Netflix), Kamulete’s acting prospects dried up. He signed to a dodgy agency for five years, acted in some solid shorts and toyed with pursuing a football career. Then Champion came along. The BBC and Netflix series, airing this year, is Candice Carty-Williams’s first TV project. Kamulete plays Boscoe, a UK rapper fresh out of jail and determined to reignite his music career. Champion was everything I was waiting for. This is a beautiful moment.” JW


Ben Hall

Though Ben Hall, 24, has been described as a polymath, they most identify with being an artist. Originally from Somerset, Hall graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2020. Our degree show got torpedoed [by Covid] and the only provision made for us was a poorly designed website,” they say. So Hall and a few pals got together and recreated the show, ds2020, using game-engine technology. Now, Hall splits their time between Glasgow and Liverpool, where they work part-time at FACT gallery. Since graduating, Hall has been part of Bloomberg’s prestigious New Contemporaries cohort and has carved out a reputation for being a future-facing artist who wants to rethink the way we can use tech that’s mostly deployed to make things like car adverts. World-building sounds like a buzzword, but I love story-telling.” JW


Ghadir Mustafa

Born in Sudan, raised in Manchester and North London, Ghadir Mustafa finished school with a plan: get through college, take a gap year, head to uni to study law. But after bagging a job at a research agency, the gap year was extended indefinitely. That introduced me to all these different jobs you could do in music,” she says. Mustafa, 24, still hasn’t made it to uni, but who cares? Instead, she’s climbed the industry ladder, becoming an A&R at XL Recordings and a main player at No Signal’s sister brand Recess, the sells-out-in-seconds London party that’s going global. Having now thrown events everywhere from Canada to Ghana, Mustafa’s plotting solo moves. She’s learning to produce, launching her own club night and has plans to set up a production company with her older brother. A next-gen music mogul. OP

Hannah Karpel

Before she became a journalist and documentary filmmaker, Hannah Karpel, 23, saw herself working at the Pandora headquarters – she had a part-time job there during school and loved everything about it. After applying to the Fashion Retail Academy, the North Londoner realised that writing about fashion rather than selling it was her calling. Last summer, Karpel graduated with a degree in Fashion Journalism from Central Saint Martins, leaving with a poignant final project under her belt: Access to Arts: Breaking the Class Ceiling, an award-nominated doc about social disparity in the arts. Now, the British Fashion Council has commissioned Karpel to make a similar project, only focusing on the northeast of England. There’s this idea that you have to be in London to be successful. [But these people] love where they live and they want better opportunities close to home.” JW


Ruby Stokes

I love people, I love performing and I love telling stories,” says Ruby Stokes, 22, who you might recognise as Francesca from Bridgerton and now, Lockwood & Co., Netflix’s new supernatural thriller series. Stokes plays Lucy Carlyle, a teenager who can see ghosts. In the show’s parallel reality, modern Britain is overrun with spooks, and it’s up to Lucy and friends to set things right. She reminds me of myself, but probably much cooler.” Growing up in Hackney, East London, Stokes considered herself a shy kid, before drama classes helped her come out of her shell. She then bagged a few commercial jobs and appeared in Luna Carmoon’s short film Nosebleed, before becoming a star of streaming. I hope the audience gets a sense of belonging, excitement and adventure out of Lockwood,” Stokes says. It’s cool to be different!” JW



There are two sides to Samuel Agyei. There’s the TikTok joker known as Stepz, whose POV” videos reel in millions of views. Then there’s the up-and-coming musician, whose signature brand of animated rap” has raked in millions of Spotify listens. That combo made the 18-year-old South Londoner 2022’s most-viewed UK artist on TikTok, beating Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. Which came first, the music or the comedy? It works hand-in-hand,” he says. TikTok, Stepz explains, is a way to dazzle fans with his personality, setting up his tracks for near-guaranteed virality – last year’s Cramp Dat was number one on TikTok’s music chart for seven weeks. But Stepz is also using comedy to prove you don’t have to be on some sort of badness” to become a rapper. I’m a Christian. I’m trying to get to heaven!” In TikTok we trust. OP


Angel My Linh

For Angel My Linh, nail artistry runs in the family. Born and raised in southeast London, she helped out at her mum’s salon from the age of eight, building her own roster of clients over the last seven years. The community aspect of [doing nails] has always stuck with me,” she says. Linh’s Instagram blew up over the pandemic, when people had more time than ever to check out independent beauticians. Last year was her busiest, and her first doing the job full-time. Never one to shy away from sculptural nails, Linh, 23, has carved claws for the likes of Shygirl and Rina Sawayama. Then she went on tour with Megan Thee Stallion. Her favourite thing about the job? The face people make when I’m done, whether they’re a celebrity or not.” JW


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