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What It Takes To Make TIME Magazine's Influential 100 List

The list which is chosen by a panel of magazine experts is now in it's 20th year, so 10 daily has done some analysis on the best way to make the coveted roll.

It was first published in 1999 as the result of a debate among American academics, politicians and journalists, and now the list is a highly-publicised annual event.

A person's influence doesn't necessarily have to be positive. TIME makes it clear that entrants are recognised for changing the world, irrespective of the consequences of their actions.

The magazines 2007 managing editor Richard Stengel explained that the TIME 100 was not necessarily about the hottest, most popular, or most powerful.

"Influence is hard to measure, and what we look for is people whose ideas, whose example, whose talent, whose discoveries transform the world we live in," he wrote at the time.

What The Winners This Year Tell Us

The winners are divvied up across to five categories, Titans, Artists, Icons, Leaders and Pioneers.

The Titans

This year's winners had a 50/50 gender split and featured 16-time NBA legend Lebron James, king of the golf course Tiger Woods, Facebook don Mark Zuckerberg and European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourova.

You've got to be kicking some serious career goals (or shooting hoops and mastering the hole-in-one) to get a nod in this category.

There were 20 out of 100 celebrated here.

READ MORE: Time Magazine Makes Powerful Statement About American Immigration

The Leaders 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this list was dominated by US leaders including President Donald Trump and high-profile Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern featured on the 100 list for a second consecutive year.

READ MORE: Why Jacinda Ardern Should Be Our Prime Minister

IMAGE: New Zealand Prime Minister's Office

Others leaders are from Sweden, Ethiopia, Israel, Venezuela and Pakistan.

You don't necessarily have to be using your influence for 'good' to be shortlisted here, and it acknowledges leaders at different points of the political spectrum.

While it was largely political leaders, conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall, teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg, and the man at the helm of the burgeoning China National Space Administration (CNSA) physicist Zhang Kejian was also celebrated.

Not even the sky is the limit here.

There were 26 out of 100 noted here.

The Icons

This category was dominated by women but also featured non-binary Olympic track-and-field champion Caster Semenya.

Entertainment stalwarts Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga made the cut alongside acclaimed Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, former first lady Michelle Obama and pop artist David Hockney.

There was also notable presence of human, civil and gender rights activists who have helped reshape societies. Individuals like Desmond Meade and  Loujain al-Hathloul may not be as high-profile as Gaga or Swift, but they have had significant impact in driving social change.

IMAGE: David Hockney

This list of people -- considered as representing a set of beliefs or a way of life  -- is pretty eclectic.

From a Yemeni human-rights activist, the women fighting to end Ireland's abortion ban, right through to the man pushing for better civil rights for former prisoners -- championing social change is your best bet to make this list.

There were 16 out of 100 celebrated here.

The Artists

Musicians and actors dominated this category. They included culturally diverse actors Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali and Rami Malek, who was instrumental in the wild success of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Ariana Grande and Korean pop sensation BTS were also acknowledged as was 98-year-old painter Luchita Hurtado.

Despite BTS place on the list, this category is still overwhelming dominated by Hollywood A-Listers.

READ MORE: Why Young Aussies Are Obsessed With Korean Pop Culture

The Pioneers

This was a female-led category.

This includes Killing Eve star Sandra Oh, as well as Tara Westover, who grew up in a Mormon survivalist home—and eventually escaped to earn a doctorate from Cambridge University.

Cookbook author and social media star Chrissy Teigen was also recognised.

Comedian Hasan Minhaj and Juul Lab founders Adam Bowen and James Monsees -- who are working to eliminate cigarettes -- were among other pioneers celebrated.

It's difficult to pinpoint obvious patterns in the pioneer list. It ranges from social media stardom, tackling a much heath issue right through to political comedians.

There were 24  out of 100 noted here.

The Gush-Fest

If the star-studded list isn't impressive enough, the magazine enlisted the help of other celebs to pen why recipients are worthy.

READ MORE: TIME Magazine Person Of The Year Recognises Killed And Imprisoned Journalists

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

Ardern's blurb is written by London Mayor Sadiq Kahn, who writes how Londoners were "heartbroken to wake up to news of the horrific terror attack in Christchurch, shocked by the callous targeting of innocent civilians for no reason other than their faith".

Kahn said that Ardern's leadership "has been an inspiration to us all".

What About Us?

A 10 daily examination of winners over the past six years has found no Australian politicians have made the cut. However actress Nicole Kidman was on the 2018 list.

Nicole Kidman Amazon Studios First Look Deal Big Little Lies
IMAGE: Getty Images
Who Is The Most Influential Of Them All?

If world influence is measured by appearance on TIME's annual list, then the following people have arguably had the biggest impact.

They following politicians, technology pioneers, one religious leader and one television icon have made the list five times or more.

  • Barack Obama
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Jeff Bezos
  • Steve Jobs
  • Pope Francis
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Angela Merkel
  • Kim Jong-un

Taylor Swift has featured on the list three times.

The magazine also boasts six covers featuring Swift, Oh, Dwayne Johnson, TV journalist Gayle King, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Egyptian soccer star Mohamed Salah.

Contact the author alattouf@networkten.com.au