jennifer lawrenceEvery year, Time magazine makes a list of the 100 most influential people who have changed, for better or for worse, our world over the last 12 months. One of the honorees this go round is actress Jennifer Lawrence, or as you and your kids might know her, the Girl on Fire, Katniss Everdeen.

If we compare Jennifer Lawrence to her contemporaries, as I'm sure Time did, it's clear why this exceptional young woman was selected for the list, and why, say, Kristen Stewart was not.

At 22 and 23 respectively, Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Stewart have more in common than just their age. They both started out acting when they were tweens. They both became famous in their late teens, and they both star in massive franchises based on young adult novels.

So what is it that makes Jennifer Lawrence so much more influential than KStew? Well, for one thing, Jen's taken some early risks in her career that ended up paying off. Winter's Bone earned her an Oscar nomination at the ripe old age of 19. It's not to say that Kristen hasn't given it a shot -- her roles in Into the Wild and The Runaways were edgy -- it's just that she wasn't the star, the lead, as Jennifer was.

That, and Twilight, as much money as it's earned, is no Hunger Games. After a certain age, an age I myself have long passed, it's impossible to care about a teenage vampire love story.

But a dystopian revolution fit with kids killing kids? Yes, please. It's a subject matter that appeals to all age groups, as far as I'm concerned.

Beyond Jennifer's better career path, she's also managed to stay under the radar while, at the same time, is everywhere. We don't care about who she's dating, but we do care about what she's wearing. We don't care if she's bought a new apartment, but if she's got a new project, we're eager to hear more.

If Kristen Stewart so much as cuts her nails, she gets press. The circus that surrounds her relationship with Robert Pattinson is certainly not all their fault, but they do share part ownership of the dog and pony show. Once you release a statement to People magazine apologizing to your boyfriend for cheating, you've sort of knocked down that wall you worked so hard to build by going in separate entrances.

And as trite as it sounds, Jennifer projects an image of happiness. She smiles a lot. She has an easy laugh. She talks about farting in Vanity Fair and she laments the fact that she has to wear Spanx. Kristen, on the other hand, looks like she hates life.

Jennifer's influence is farther, wider, and more positive, at this moment in time, than Kristen's, or any other actress in her age bracket who has major movie experience. In fact, Jen's just getting started.

Riding high off that Oscar win for Silver Linings Playbook and now this Time honor, I'm looking forward to her next move.

I am not, however, wondering whose hand she's holding at Coachella.

What are your thoughts on Jennifer Lawrence?

 

Photo via Pacific Coast News