The TIME 100 – the annual list of the 100 most influential people – is here, and that means we have a bunch of celebrities talking about how great their close personal friends are, and those friends are also celebrities.
You’ve got Adele talking about Rihanna (“she glows like when someone’s taken a picture with a flash and you’re dazed for a few minutes after”), Aaron Paul talking about Millie Bobby Brown (“I’m proud to know her … to call her my adopted daughter”) and Elton John talking about Prince Harry (“What a joy it has been to see that young boy grow to inherit his mother’s warmth, sense of humour and courage to stand up and champion the causes he truly believes in”). Icons stanning icons is almost TOO much.
Of course, the TIME 100 isn’t purely created for us to experience the magic of our faves talking about our other faves (Taraji P. Henson on Cardi B, or Diddy on Chadwick Boseman). World leaders, activists and pioneers in science have also been honoured – and not all of them good. I, for one, would like to see how much Ted Cruz‘s soul shrivelled as he wrote a simpering piece on Donald Trump, the man who nicknamed him “Lyin’ Ted Cruz” and shamed his wife to the world.
But hey! Jacinda Ardern, #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, FGM campaigner Nice Nailantei Leng’ete, astronaut Peggy Whitson, Pulitzer prize winning journalist Ronan Farrow, pioneering doctor in uterus transplants Dr. Giuliano Testa, and the Parkland kids – Cameron Kasky, Jaclyn Corin, David Hogg, Emma Gonzelez and Alex Wind – were all honoured for their work in 2018. The Parkland kids even had their piece written by none other than Barack Obama.
Even our own Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was asked to write one (but not be one), for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It was a bit dull. He mentioned the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
So settle in, and read what your faves had to say about your other faves. Note: these interviews are just the cherry-picked quotes, and at time, are heavily abridged versions of the full thing. You’ll find links to the original piece at the end of each paragraph.
Prince Harry, by Elton John
What a joy it has been to see that young boy grow to inherit his mother’s warmth, sense of humour and courage to stand up and champion the causes he truly believes in. Prince Harry has that rare ability to walk into a room full of strangers and make everyone feel comfortable and at ease. As he has grown in maturity, I have watched him take on these causes with the remarkable skill to see and communicate how it truly feels for the people he is trying to help.
Meghan Markle, by Priyanka Chopra
This ever-smiling, strong free spirit found her prince, fell in love and in turn made a cynical world believe in fairy tales again. But more than anything else, Meghan is an important influencer in a world that needs strong public figures to respect and look up to. People the world can be inspired by. Meghan, standing shoulder to shoulder with Harry, will be a princess for the people.
Rihanna, by Adele
I actually can’t remember the first time I met Rihanna; I was probably numb from the shock of it. She is one year older than me, but I feel like she’s been around forever. Whenever I’ve met her, she’s been the most gracious, loyal and funny goofball of an icon. She glows like when someone’s taken a picture with a flash and you’re dazed for a few minutes after. But it’s also very clear in that glow that she genuinely doesn’t give a fuck; she’s fearless and full of all the right kind of attitude to be everything that she is and will be forever.
Millie Bobby Brown, by Aaron Paul
The first time I met Millie Bobby Brown was inside an ice cream shop. She may have been 12 in years, but her spirit and mind were timeless. A wise woman was speaking from her cherubic face. Maybe that’s why she’s such an extraordinary actor. She somehow understands the human experience as if she has lived it for a thousand years. I’m proud to know her. To call her a friend. To call her my adopted daughter.
Chadwick Boseman, by Sean “Diddy” Combs
His portrayals of African-American heroes have shown how black America has always been able to transform pain into something powerful. now as the Black Panther, he’s inspiring everyone, but especially black youth, who deserve to see superheroes like them, to show them that truly anyone can be a superhero.
Cardi B, by Taraji P. Henson
The first time I went on her Instagram page, she was so raw, coming at you, like, whoa! She used words like “shmoney” and “shmoves,” and she talked openly about being a former stripper. And she was proud of it—like, So what, I was on the pole, look what I parlayed that into? When she showed her soul like that, I hit the Follow button. I felt like she had the voice of the people, you know what I mean?
Nicole Kidman, by Naomi Watts
She fills her character [on Big Little Lies] with so much humanity, it is beyond unnerving. Her emotions. Her fragility. Her ferocity. Her subtlety. Her physicality. Her bravery. Watching her, I wanted to put my hand through the TV screen and pluck her from danger. Not solely because Nicole is my friend but because she had laid herself so courageously bare for the role that Celeste felt real. She could be anyone we know.
Jennifer Lopez, by Kerry Washington
As a kid growing up in the Bronx, I used to watch Jennifer Lopez from the wings. Several of us girls would hide in the folds of the curtains at the Boys & Girls Club to watch her perform. We were in awe of our neighbourhood role model and phenom. She made me believe that you could come from where we came from and achieve whatever you imagine is possible. To me, no matter how successful she becomes, she will always be Jenny from our block.
Guillermo del Toro, by Jordan Peele
To gnaw on the totality of his work reveals an obsession with the eternally forbidden romance between beauty and beast. Guillermo is in love with monsters and lives to show us that we are too. With each fable he weaves, he pushes us closer to acceptance of a primal truth: that we each have a deep connection to the spectrum of otherness.
Adam Rippon, by Cher
When I was young, I had no role models—everyone looked like Sandra Dee and Doris Day. There was nobody who made me think, Oh, I could be like them. They represent me. Adam shows people that if you put blood, sweat and tears into what you’re doing, you can achieve something that’s special. You can be special. And I think that’s very brave.
Tiffany Haddish, by Kevin Hart
I first met Tiffany Haddish on the comedy scene 13 years ago. She was young, raw and funny, almost like she didn’t have a care in the world. But when I noticed her car was packed to the brim with her belongings, I asked her if everything was O.K. That’s when I found out she was homeless and living in that car. I didn’t know the details of her life at the time, but I knew she had talent, I knew she had drive, and I wanted to help. So I reached into my pocket, and I pulled out $300—it was all I had with me. Then I handed it to her and said, “I think you’ll find a purpose for it.”
Sterling K. Brown, by Sarah Paulson
Every day [on American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson] was like having a front-row seat in a master class on readiness, a meditation on seizing opportunity, but most unexpectedly, on JOY. If you ever have the pleasure of having him smile at you, laugh the laugh of a buddha from his soul, you would count yourself among the lucky.
Kumail Nanjiani, by Judd Apatow
Kumail is one of our most hilarious, unique stand-up comedians. But what is most exciting about him is that he is the new comedic voice that we need. He reminds people how fundamental a misunderstanding it is that a community of almost 2 billion people is to be feared. We’re lucky to have Kumail. We need a thousand more.
Issa Rae, by Mindy Kaling
Only Issa Rae could make the adjectives awkward and insecure chic. That’s an impossible thing to do. But here we have her, Issa Rae: writer, actor, force of nature—and chic as hell.
Oprah Winfrey, by Tiffany Haddish
Ellen surprises Tiffany Haddish by bringing out Oprah, this is too pure ???? pic.twitter.com/z9NWvQVt3j
— Black Girl Culture (@blkgirlculture) February 22, 2018
When she walked onstage [on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, to surprise Haddish], my soul was overjoyed. That was everything. It made me feel like I’m on the right track, and it inspired me to push even harder. Oprah had the roughest childhood and has gone through all these difficulties. But no matter what, she stays focused on her goals and achieves them. She made her dreams come true. And because I watched her, I did too.
The Parkland kids – Cameron Kasky, Jaclyn Corin, David Hogg, Emma Gonzelez and Alex Wind – by Barack Obama.
Seared by memories of seeing their friends murdered at a place they believed to be safe, these young leaders don’t intimidate easily. They see the NRA and its allies—whether mealymouthed politicians or mendacious commentators peddling conspiracy theories—as mere shills for those who make money selling weapons of war to whoever can pay. They’re as comfortable speaking truth to power as they are dismissive of platitudes and punditry. And they live to mobilise their peers.
Our history is defined by the youthful push to make America more just, more compassionate, more equal under the law. This generation—of Parkland, of Dreamers, of Black Lives Matter—embraces that duty. If they make their elders uncomfortable, that’s how it should be. Our kids now show us what we’ve told them America is all about, even if we haven’t always believed it ourselves: that our future isn’t written for us, but by us.