We all know celebrities have an influence well beyond the average person – or even many politicians, business people or campaigners. However judging a celebrities influence is incredibly hard – after all Bono likes to think he’s a latter day saint but his influence these days just seems to stretch to annoying iPod owners. Don’t fear though, as Time magazine has given us a few hints by giving us a list of the most influential people in the world, including these celebs.
1. Kanye West
It was a big year for Kanye, as not only did he headline Glastonbury – causing an almighty row in the process, but he was named as the cover star for Time’s most influential 100 people issue. He’s also released a single with former Beatle Paul McCartney and generally consolidated his place as an inescapable part of pop culture thanks to his music and marriage to Kim Kardashian. He is however something of a marmite figure, with some thinking his ego guided influence may not be an entirely good thing – something that may be especially true if you end up on the wrong end of one of his awards show tirades.
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2. Bradley Cooper
Stardom didn’t come easy to Bradley – despite almost getting his break, a number of times – like when he had a role in the spy series Alias, for a decade Cooper was more a jobbing second string actor taking bit roles. Then his role in the Hangover catapulted him to stardom and with roles like his one in Silver Linings Playbook he proved he was much more than just a comic turn. Now he’s one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, proving he’s a box-office winner in both light-hearted blockbusters or serious dramas and has been acclaimed on Broadway. Brad is fast becoming Tinseltown royalty, hence his slot on Time’s list making him one of the most influential celebrities in the world.
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3. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift may well be the biggest pop star in the world right now but her place on the Time list of most influential celebrities is about more than just albums and concert tickets sold. While all stars use social media as intensely as their teenage fans – since joining Tumblr in 2014 Swift has interacted in a way with her fans that has made her incredibly influential – calling out online bullies, promoting feminism and generally becoming much more to her fanbase than just a pop idol. Oh and she’s released a critically acclaimed album which sold by the million.
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4. Emma Watson
Emma Watson was named on the Time list because of more than her acting prowess. The Harry Potter star became the spokeswoman of the HeForShe campaign which aimed to get men more involved in feminist issues. She even gave a widely acclaimed speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos where like many other influential celebrities she caused a sensation. As one of the world’s most popular actresses and now an activist listened to by world leaders, she definitely merits a place on the Time list.
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5. Laverne Cox
With Caitlin Jenner’s coming out as transgender it seems that trans issues have barely been off magazine front covers and front pages over the summer. If Jenner is the new face of the campaign for equality among a group of people who’ve struggled to gain acceptance, Cox is its voice. The star of female prison drama Orange Is The New Black has given a number of eloquent and matter of fact interviews which have helped make equality for transgender people the next big issue of equality and helped those who struggle to understand a group of people who’ve generally been out of the public eye or caricatured, empathise.
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6. Reese Witherspoon
Witherspoon has long been a critically acclaimed actress who has been Hollywood’s go to person for all round likeability. The reason Time have put her on the list though is the way she got her movie Wild off the ground, saw it soar to Oscar nominations and what it means for the film industry. It was the first movie from Witherspoon’s new production company, one which the actress set up because she was reportedly fed up that she couldn’t star in the type of movie she wanted made. By crossing the line from star to movie mogul, Reese looks set t be one of the most important people in the film industry in the coming years.
7. Kevin Hart
In his article on Kevin for the Time 100 most influential people, Chris Rock calls Hart the biggest stand-up in America right now – high praise coming from a guy who could’ve had the same said about him in the 1990s. Although Hart has had the inevitable problems all stand-ups have transferring to film – being cast in shockingly unfunny films and having to read out lines half as good as your own, his status as a favourite among black audiences who often feel neglected by mainstream entertainment means that he’s been named as incredibly influential.
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8. Kim Kardashian
Will the Kim Kardashian bubble ever burst? It seems that the reality star’s fame just keeps on growing as this year she tried to break the internet – with her bum. Kardashian is a pop culture phenomenon now, and even those who tried to ignore her as being everything wrong with modern celebrity culture have to admit she’s a case study in how to turn notoriety into a modern media success story. Now one of the richest women in America and married to Kanye West, one Tweet or Instagram from Kim can send millions of people and the world’s media into a frenzy.
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9. Amy Schumer
Schumer is currently the hottest female in comedy, treading where Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig have gone before. Schumer though has been included in the influential list because she’s going from her much loved TV show to Hollywood with a film. However it’s her outspoken, often crass and unsparing humour, in particular about sexism, that really makes her stand out from the crowd. The comedienne is thus the toast of an increasingly influential group of women in entertainment who are storming the traditionally male bastions of decision making in the entertainment industry.
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10. John Oliver
For nearly 20 years there was only one king of fake news, John Stewart – with the jester being Stephen Colbert. With those two vacating their slots on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report respectively, Oliver has taken up the mantle with his show Last Week Tonight. He’s not just here because he’s appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone and is possibly the funniest man on US television though. His show has cleverly distinguished itself from its competitors by its clever use of campaigning – taking on big tobacco, FIFA and bizarrely the plight of space geckos.
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