'Influencer’ is a word that’s easily thrown around these days. You might have even heard the statement ‘everyone can be an influencer’. While that may be true, if we’re being honest, it takes true and valuable influence to really make your presence — online or in real life — mean something.
That’s why Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of the Year is a big deal. Chosen by Time’s select panel of editors, Time 100 alums, and the magazine’s international staff, the list includes people who caused a significant change in today’s socio-political climate. Interestingly, this means delivering either a positive or negative impact. This gives the list a sense of objectivity and impartiality as far as ‘influence’ goes.
Curious as to who made Time’s 100 Most Influential People of the Year this 2020? We line up some of our favourite personalities included in the list along with some of their most memorable quotes.
“I won't let your ignorance silence my pain." - Tomi Adeyemi
The Nigerian-American New York Times best-selling author and creative writing coach made the list this year and for good reason. Her book Children of Blood (where the quote above was taken), while fictional and made for younger readers, explores themes of oppression, racism, slavery while also including references from African mythology.
Star Wars actor John Boyega wrote the writeup for Tomi, saying, “Tomi is the god of ideas. She’s inspiring a lot of young people to write. She creates the very world that we as actors get to play in.”
“I’ve had to talk about it many times, but… it’s never been easy.” - Shiori Ito
The Japanese journalist made headlines when she bravely spoke about her sexual harassment experience through BBC2 and has eventually been the face of Japan’s initially very mum take on the #MeToo movement. She expressed that she’s never imagined to be on the other end of the stick, being the interviewee than an interviewer, but has openly expressed her thoughts on the difficulty women have to go through whenever they decide to speak up on their own traumatic experiences.
Women’s Action Network Chizuko Ueno wrote about Shiori, saying that her actions “led to activism to reform criminal law” in Japan. She added: “In June, the government announced a three-year plan to reduce sexual violence in the country. Japanese society is finally refusing to tolerate sexual violence.”
“If there is one positive thing I can say about myself, it's that I learn quickly. So, for me, it has been fun because I like to apply what I did wrong in the past, and I think that is what I was able to do today.” - Naomi Osaka
The three-time Grand Slam singles champion and first Asian to rank number one in the Women’s Tennis Association made the list again since her first appearance in the lineup last year. Known for her candid personality, as well as her no-nonsense attitude when it comes to addressing racism and sexism in the sports industry, Naomi making the list is truly unsurprising.
Activist and WNBA champion Maya Moore wrote about Naomi’s Time inclusion, saying, “She reminded us that we can all resist the excuses that guard us from giving love. Whatever power we have, the most lasting and life-giving way we can steward that power is by using it to lift others up. Especially those who aren’t exactly like us.”
"I think it’s important for girls to know the strength in everything. Their identity and their soul lies within themselves.” - Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez’ struggles have always been feasted on by the media. But one thing often overlooked about the singer-actress is that she’s been an inspiring figure for many people battling both physical and mental disorders. Her new beauty line, Rare Beauty, was even praised recently not just because of the products' performance but also its attempt to help those in need. A portion of the sales from the products is allotted for the Rare Impact Fund, which aims to raise USD100 million over the next 10 years to help provide mental health care to underserved communities.
Fellow actress and Emmy awardee America Ferrera wrote the Time writeup for Selena, which goes, “Selena courageously uses her global platform in service of her full identity. She is emblematic of her powerful generation, which patently rejects the notion that they belong in any one lane as artists, activists or citizens of the world.”
“The answers to making it, to me, are a lot more universal than anyone's race or gender, and centre on having a tolerance for delayed gratification, a passion for the craft, and a willingness to fail.” - Ali Wong
Smart, funny, and unapologetically herself, comedienne, author, and media personality Ali Wong, best known for her Netflix rom-com film Always Be My Maybe, also made this year’s Time 100 Influential People of the Year list. Ali has always been a strong advocate for women empowerment and made sure that all her works reflect this advocacy. The quote above was from her book Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life, which truly reflects her views that once we move past all the labels we love imposing on ourselves and others, we will be able to achieve more than what we can imagine.
Actress, TV host and media personality Chrissy Teigen describes Ali’s appeal as a celebrity, stating: “As an Asian-American woman, it’s so cool to see someone who represents our shared cultural heritage but also defies every stereotype. She is open about her sexuality, she boldly discusses her body and its many functions, she makes fun of her husband, she makes fun of her kids — I feel at one with her."
Next, another inspiring Time 100 alum to check out is Naomi Watanabe.