Trump, Taylor Swift and Michelle Obama make Time’s list of most influential people

By Nardine Saad

Los Angeles Times

Time magazine’s 2019 list of the 100 most influential people debuted Wednesday and was dominated by celebrities and celebrity tributes.

The annual list —categorized by icons, pioneers, titans, artists and leaders — named entertainers such as pop stars Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande, actors Dwayne Johnson and Brie Larson and journalist Gayle King among the biggest influencers in entertainment.

President Donald Trump, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Pope Francis and New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were among those noted for their influence on the world stage.

The issue goes on sale Friday and boasts six covers featuring Swift, Johnson, King, Pelosi, actress Sandra Oh and Egyptian soccer star Mohamed Salah.

As usual, a famous friend or admirer of an honoree is enlisted to write a tribute. That list was just as impressive and full of even more celebrities.

Singer Shawn Mendes paid tribute to Swift, “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot wrote an essay on Johnson, filmmaker Ava DuVernay saluted King, Hillary Clinton wrote an appreciation for Pelosi, showrunner Shonda Rhimes penned a piece about Oh, and “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver praised Salah.

Beyonce wrote a short essay on Michelle Obama, actor-philanthropist Leonardo DiCaprio saluted conservationist Jane Goodall, and Justin Timberlake honored golfer Tiger Woods.

“We all have teachers, some we know intimately, others who inspire from the page or the screen. This holds true even for the most accomplished people on earth,” Time Editor in Chief Edward Felsenthal said in a statement. “Our annual Time 100 issue is filled with tributes from teachers to students; in many cases, the surprise is who is playing which role today.”

In the icons category, filmmaker Jordan Peele wrote his essay on director Spike Lee and Celine Dion sang the praises of fellow singer Lady Gaga.

Twitter mayor and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen and “Patriot Act” host Hasan Minhaj were the celebrity names categorized under pioneers. Essays honoring them were written by acclaimed chef Eric Ripert and “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah, respectively.

Elsewhere, the magazine made several surprising assignments: NBA star LeBron James was saluted by billionaire Warren Buffett, NFL star Tim Tebow paid tribute to HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, and Sen. Kamala Harris wrote one on Christine Blasey Ford. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whom Ford accused of sexual assault, was also among the 100, and the essay on him was written by Senate Majority Leader (and fellow honoree) Mitch McConnell.

Not surprisingly, entertainment figures dominated the artists category, which drew a sweet parallel for “Game of Thrones” actors Emilia Clarke and Richard Madden. Their essays were written by fellow Brits Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh, that latter of whom were married and have co-starred in at least six projects. And singer Halsey wrote her missive for K-pop sensation BTS, with whom she recently collaborated on “Boy With Luv.”

“Avengers: Endgame” star Larson’s tribute was written by another member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tessa Thompson, satisfying anyone who ships the Captain Marvel-Valkyrie flirtation that they’ve been teasing online. Larson’s “Endgame” co-star Robert Downey Jr. wrote a tribute to Oscar-winning “Bohemian Rhapsody” star Rami Malek.