Lena Dunham

Unapologetic. Unafraid. Uninhibited. Unflappable. All of these capture just a fraction of the complexity of Lena Dunham, the creative force behind the groundbreaking cable series "Girls" (HBO, 2012-17). Born with the help of Hollywood heavyweight Judd Apatow, the high-profile show centered on four twenty-somethings living, working and struggling in Brooklyn. But the collective love and outcry of an Internet's worth of critics and detractors was nothing new for the multi-hyphenate, self-described "voice of a generation." After writing, directing and starring in the satirical Internet series "Delusional Downtown Divas" (2009), she drew on her own college experiences for her debut film "Creative Nonfiction" (2009), which was showcased in the Emerging Visions section of South by Southwest. Her follow-up, the full-length feature "Tiny Furniture" (2010), fleshed out Dunham's style of abrasively confessional drama that had quickly become her trademark. Then came "Girls," and the $3.5 million book deal, and the debates over her nonchalant approach to female sexuality. And soon, the eyes of the generation that her character professed to speak for (and a few others, as well) were all on her. Throughout the occasional controversies, she continued working, not just on her own show, but in films ranging from "This Is 40" (2012) to Mike Birbiglia's "Don't Think Twice" (2016).