From two LGBTQ+ rights advocates to the richest man of India; from the actor who has gripped the Internet with her medieval era show about dragons and dead people to the first female superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; from the President of the United States to a prime minister whose leadership qualities inspired the world at the time of crisis, the TIME 100 Most Influential People List of 2019 includes some of the best from various walks of life. Here are a few personalities who made it to the list.
Priyanka Chopra said: Armed with a well-planned strategy that went beyond their well-researched legal arguments, Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy became beacons of hope for the Indian LGBTQ+ community. Their perseverance and commitment led an entire community to a historic win by humanising their struggles and giving them the freedom to love. As the Chief Justice said, “Constitutional morality cannot be martyred at the altar of social morality,” Arundhati and Menaka have helped take a giant step for LGBTQ+ rights in the world’s largest democracy. In their committed fight for justice, they have shown us that we as a society must continue to make progress, even after laws are changed, and that we must make an effort to understand, accept and love.
Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of the oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd. and India's richest man is the third Indian in this years’ Time list. "Back in 2003, Ambani promised Indians in a well-known advertising tagline that his company would “put the world in the palm of your hand. It won’t be long before he delivers on that promise,” Anand Mahindra wrote about Ambani.
The Khaleesi of Westeros and mother of dragons Emilia Clarke rose to prominence with her portrayal of Daenerys Targaryen in the award-winning show ‘Game of Thrones’. Clarke, in an interview in 2019, revealed that she battled brain aneurysm in 2011. The last leg of the eight-season 'Game of Thrones’ has hit the screen.
Donald Trump is familiar for his stance on the US-Mexico wall, the immigrant issue, the trade war, the sanctions and of course the Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
The former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama came out with her autobiography, 'The Becoming', describing her life as a child, a woman, a mother and as the wife of the former President of the United States. In her tribute, renowned artist Beyonce writes, "I’m honoured to know such a brilliant black woman who’s spoken about the sacrifice it takes to balance her passions while remaining a supportive partner and mother, and now a best-selling author with Becoming. She has continued to open herself up, even if it meant being criticized. She has continued to be a portrait of grace.”
Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, rose to prominence after the deadly Christchurch attacks. Her firm stance on gun violence and terrorism made her the leader the world looks up to now. "Not only is she delivering such swift action on gun control, she has sent a powerful message around the world about our shared values—that those who seek to divide us will never succeed, and that New Zealand will always protect and celebrate the diversity and openness that make our countries so great,” Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London wrote in his Time tribute.
Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of the world’s largest social media platform, Facebook, makes the list as his company is in the spotlight. Zuckerberg has found himself in a soup for the controversy surrounding the US presidential elections and the data breach by Cambridge Analytica.
Taylor Swift, a 10-time Grammy Award winner known for her soft country music and her fierce women-centric songs, has made the renowned Time list. Grammy-nominated musician Shawn Mendes writes, "There’s an overwhelming feeling in the air. The feeling of your heart racing in your chest with excitement—so much so that by the time you get to “Love Story', all you want to do is pick up your phone and text every person you know to say how much you love them. The feeling is so thick, you feel like you could reach out and grab it to keep forever.”
Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, stood his ground as he addressed the Catholic faithful on the tragedy of sexual abuse of minors by the clergy. "In his mind and in his heart, the abuse of these innocent persons is an abuse of the body of Jesus Christ. With great courage and wisdom, Pope Francis has invited all of us in the church to approach the immense suffering of victims with the same reverence as we would approach the suffering body of Christ,” Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna, the Archbishop of Malta writes in his Time tribute.
Mahershala Ali, the African American actor whose acting skills have left the audience speechless and has been lauded with the highest accolades of Hollywood. His recent movie 'Green Book' based on the life of Jazz pianist Dr Donald Shirley grabbed him an Oscar for the best supporting actor.
We know him as the on-screen Freddie Mercury or the off-screen Rami Malek, who made his way into a lot of people’s heart with his stellar performance in the biographical film 'The Bohemian Rhapsody.' As Robert Downey Jr. says in his Time tribute, "[Malek is] The understated actor who is evolving alongside his potential.”
Lady Gaga, the rockstar was seen this year in ‘A Star Is Born’ opposite Bradley Cooper. Fellow singer Celine Dion writes, "What makes her even more special, and such a powerful influence on society is that she empowers her fans to adopt the very same values in their lives—to stand up for what they believe in, despite what others might think. By doing so, she gives her followers the strength and confidence to believe in themselves.”
Wrestler and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has been known for his exceptional action and comedy movies and knows how to keep the audience at the edge of their seats with his difficult-yet flawless stunts.
In the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we saw Brie Larson emerging as ‘Captain Marvel,’ a fierce female superhero. "Brie is primed to be one of Marvel’s next big leaders at a time when women are breaking ceilings in all spaces. She is in a position to make real systemic change in Hollywood,” Tessa Thompson, an actor working alongside Larson in the upcoming 'Avengers: Endgame' wrote in her tribute.