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Pete Davidson, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ariana DeBose and Ron DeSantis: Here are Time's most influential people of 2022

Zelenskyy on why he stayed in Ukraine
President Zelenskyy on why he stayed in Ukraine 01:37

Time magazine released its annual list of the 100 most influential people of the year on Monday. The 2022 list includes some of the biggest headline-making celebrities, actors, entrepreneurs, musicians and icons who have left their mark over the past year.

Andrew Garfield, Sarah Jessica Parker, Nathan Chen and Mila Kunis were among this year's artist inclusions, while Zendaya, Taika Waititi and genome researchers Michael Schatz, Karen Miga, Evan Eichler and Adam Phillippy were among the inclusions for innovation. 

The titan category includes Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Yeoh, Hwang Dong-Hyuk, while Ketanji Brown Jackson, Joe Rogan, Letitia James and President Biden were named for top leaders. Mary J. Blige, Keanu Reeves, Peng Shuai, Colombia abortion advocates Cristina Villarreal Velasquez and Ana Cristina Gonzalez Velez, and Kris Jenner are also on the list.

Here are some of those who were named to the Time 100.

Ariana DeBose

In March, actress Ariana DeBose made history as the first Afro Latina and first openly queer actor of color to win an Oscar since the Academy Awards began in 1929. Monday she was named one of the most influential people of the year. 

To fellow actress Kristin Chenoweth, who wrote her tribute for Time, DeBose is a "quadruple threat." 

"She's not only a dancer, an actress, and a singer, but also kind," Chenoweth wrote, pointing to DeBose's skills as a Broadway actress in "Hamilton" and her fearlessness while the two actresses filmed the show "Schmigadoon!"

"Ariana's as authentic as they come, and whatever she does next, I will be cheering from fifth-row center. They'll have to throw me out for screaming for her and clapping so loud," she wrote. "So go for it, baby girl!" 

Joe Biden

In a tribute from one president to another, Bill Clinton called President Biden a "get-the-job-done leader." 

Mr. Biden, who was inaugurated in January 2020 just days after a tumultuous election season that culminated in a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, has faced a series of crises since taking office. At the forefront was the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 1 million lives in the country. He has also been put at the helm of tackling climate change, an economic downturn and racial injustice. 

"We still face stern tasks, including taming inflation without causing a recession, and combatting violent crime. The usual sound bites and answers that dominate the news won't help," former President Clinton wrote. "But a get-the-job-done leader who cares more about the people than the polls, more about winning the future than rewriting history, will. That's who Joe Biden is. And why I'm glad he's on the job."

Emmett Schelling

Transgender people in the U.S., particularly youth, have been facing a spate of legislative actions over the past few years that seek to limit their rights. Emmett Schelling, executive director for the Transgender Education Network of Texas, has been on the frontlines trying to build a safer environment for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice with the ACLU, wrote that Schelling, who is a father and transgender man, has spent much of the past year essentially living at the Capitol, bringing nothing but "joy and sweetness." 

"On the day of a critical hearing, a reserved room in the Capitol was filled with snacks, games, and toys for kids who had to defend their existence, month after month and year after year. It was a painful day, but we felt love and solidarity with one another because of the way Emmett advocates and organizes." 

"Emmett is leading a scary and grueling fight for trans survival," Strangio continued, "and we are so lucky to have him." 

Mike Cannon-Brookes

Climate change is one of the largest threats to humanity, paving the way for the Australian billionaire to become one of the most influential people of the year. 

Former Vice President Al Gore, who is known for being outspoken about the climate crisis, wrote that Cannon-Brookes is "working to change" Australia's reliance on coal for energy. Cannon-Brookes, Gore wrote, is a major backer of a project that would help Australia harness and export solar power. The project, a 2,600-mile undersea cable, would connect a solar farm in northern Australia to nearby Singapore for "around-the-clock power." 

Last year, the billionaire also pledged over $350 million in personal funds to philanthropies fighting climate change. 

"Cannon-Brookes' innovative investments and vocal advocacy for decarbonizing the private sector are redefining the role of climate activism in business and investment," Gore wrote.  

Pete Davidson 

Once mostly known for his comedic role on "Saturday Night Live," Pete Davidson has gone on to star in several movies, host stand-up shows and most recently semi-join the family of fellow Time's list member Kris Jenner by dating Kim Kardashian. 

But for rapper Jack Harlow, Davidson is someone who changed his life for the better. The two met while at a Comedy Central roast of Justin Bieber, when Harlow was still a junior in high school.

"He got to the mic, made a joke about his own dad dying during 9/11, and I immediately knew he was a different breed," Harlow wrote. 

A few months after the two knew each other, Davidson got Harlow on "SNL," an accomplishment that for Harlow and his family was a "genuine dream come true." 

"Pete's appeal to the world has everything to do with his authenticity. He doesn't try to hide the person that he is. ... I would consider myself truthful, but being around Pete makes me want to continue to reach even further for the realest version of myself," Harlow wrote. "We don't have another one of him. ... An icon with so much more left to accomplish." 


Actress Zendaya may only be 25, but to Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, she's "a thousand years old." 

"She is timeless, and she can do it all," he said.

Villeneuve, who directed Zendaya in the film "Dune," wrote that the actress, most recently known for her roles in HBO's "Euphoria" and Marvel's "Spider-Man: No Way Home," has "radiated like a shooting star captured on celluloid." 

But, he added, she is much more than her acting. 

"She is an autonomous creative force herself. A cultural icon in the making. A person driven by pure inspiration, empathy, and respect for her craft, who uses authenticity as a new superpower," Villeneuve wrote in her tribute. "...Zendaya is the future. And there is nothing more comforting to me. This is only the beginning."

Ron DeSantis

Florida's governor has faced criticism and earned praise over the past year — from his handling of the coronavirus pandemic to his signing of several controversial legislative actions, including what critics call the "Don't Say Gay" bill. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush wrote in his tribute that DeSantis' "approach works." 

"While the Beltway crowd may not like his style, it's his record that will become his legacy," Bush wrote. 

Simu Liu

Simu Liu is best known for his roles as Shaun/Shang-Chi in Marvel's "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" and Jung in "Kim's Convenience." According to actress Sandra Oh, "he's been on a path that no Chinese Canadian has walked before." 

"He's part of the first generation of Asian Americans and Canadians to reach true stardom," Oh, who is also Canadian and was born to Korean parents, wrote in her tribute. She noted his ability to "poke fun at himself" while also exercising his comedic, acting and fighting skills.

But beyond that, she said, "he's our superhero." 

"Simu has been working hard to get through closed doors, and now he wants to hold those doors open for others. You see that doing that through the way he speaks out against hateful violence, his openness about his own experiences of isolation and discrimination, his professional choices," she wrote.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Ukraine's President Zelenskyy stepped into the international spotlight this year after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine. Since the war began, Zelenskyy has become a symbol of fearlessness and hope for Ukrainians and others around the world, as he refused to leave his nation or surrender its civilians. 

According to President Joe Biden, who penned the Ukrainian president's tribute, Zelenskyy is a "leader worthy of [Ukraine's] bravery and resilience." Mr. Biden wrote that Zelenskyy's voice is one of "relentless determination of a man who believes profoundly in his duty to his people." 

"The nations of the free world, inspired by the example of President Zelenskyy, are more united, more determined, and more purposeful than at any point in recent memory," Mr. Biden wrote. "...he has left his mark on history and proved to the world that Ukraine will long endure and its people will ultimately realize the democratic future they have long desired."

Vladimir Putin 

Russian President Vladimir Putin's assault on Ukraine has caused significant backlash to his own country. The war has achieved global condemnation and caused economic turmoil for his people, who are seeing major companies pull out of the country. 

Alexei Navalny, the leader of Russia's opposition who is serving a nine-year prison sentence for fraud, has been one of the Kremlin's most outspoken critics. He wrote about Putin for Time, saying that perhaps the Russian leader's "true mission" is to teach everyone a lesson. 

"He reminded us once again that a path that begins with 'just a little election rigging' always ends with a dictatorship. And dictatorship always leads to war," Navalny wrote. "It's a lesson we shouldn't have forgotten." 

Navalny criticized Putin, and global leaders, for benefitting from Russian oil and gas and enabling the Russian president's power to grow. 

"If someone destroys the independent media, organizes political assassinations, and sticks to his imperial delusions, then he is a madman capable of causing a bloodbath in the center of Europe in the 21st century," Navalny wrote. "...the answer to the main question — how to stop an evil madman with an army, nuclear weapons, and membership in the U.N. Security Council — is yet to be answered."

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