Checotah native Carrie Underwood is among the diverse cast of celebrities, politicians and religious leader this year’s Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
“So many young girls want to be just like her. In that sense, I see hope for the world. If I had a daughter, nothing would make me happier than to hear her say she wanted to grow up to be like Carrie Underwood,” her longtime friend and fellow country music superstar Brad Paisley writes in his tribute to Underwood for the Time 100.
The Time 100 features pairings of the influential honorees and the guest contributors Time selects to write about them. Oklahoma State University graduate T. Boone Pickens is among this year’s tribute writers, penning an homage to businessman Carl Icahn.
The full Time 100 list and related tributes will appear in the May 5 issue of Time, available on newsstands and tablets Friday and currently posted at www.time.com/time100.
The list, now in its 11th year, recognizes the activism, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals. As Time has described the list in the past, “The Time 100 is not a list of the most powerful people in the world, it’s not a list of the smartest people in the world, it’s a list of the most influential people in the world. They’re scientists, they’re thinkers, they’re philosophers, they’re leaders, they’re icons, they’re artists, they’re visionaries. People who are using their ideas, their visions, their actions to transform the world and have an effect on a multitude of people.”
Underwood, 31, will headline a performance as part of the Time 100 Gala to Tuesday at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, according to a news release. The black-tie dinner will include present and past recipients of Time’s most influential list. Previous guests have included President Bill Clinton, Justin Timberlake, Oprah Winfrey, Carlos Slim, Amy Poehler, Gabrielle Giffords, Steven Spielberg and many more.
“I remember Carrie Underwood early on telling me how badly she wanted to earn her place in our industry. It was 2005, and she had just won ‘American Idol’ and had her first No. 1 song,” Paisley writes in his tribute, which is titled “The all-around American idol.”
“Fast-forward to 2014. Not only has she earned her place, she’s also raised the bar: she’s a prolific songwriter, a trendsetter and an Opry member. But it’s her decency as a person that is so impressive. She’s an advocate for causes like animal rights and the Red Cross. She has publicly challenged lawmakers when she’s disagreed with them, and covered controversial issues in her music. She can sing the fire out of a song and tell a joke. I’m always amazed at her comedic timing and instincts when we co-host the CMA Awards. She has faith, a sense of self and loves a good challenge. When most singers tackle a Broadway musical, it’s in front of a thousand people. She did it in front of 20 million.”
Underwood joins a Time 100 list that includes a record 41 women, including Amy Adams, Mary Barra, Lydia Ko, Megyn Kelly, Miley Cyrus, Angela Merkel, Serena Williams, Robin Wright, Kerry Washington, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Jenji Kohan, Janet Yellen and Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, an Ugandan nun with strong Oklahoma ties.
The six-time Grammy winner and the nun dedicated to helping victims of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army are listed on the prestigious roster for the first time. But this year’s Time 100 includes several repeat selections, including President Barack Obama (on the list for the ninth time), Hillary Clinton (seventh time), Angela Merkel (sixth), Xi Jinping (fifth), Kim Jong Un (fourth), Vladimir Putin (third), Jeff Bezos (third), Michelle Bachelet (second), Ertharin Cousin (second), Miley Cyrus (second), Pope Francis (second), Pony Ma (second), John Kerry (second), David and Charles Koch (second), Jack Ma (second), Rand Paul (second), Serena Williams (second), Malala Yousafzai (second) and Beyoncé (second).
Beyonce appears on the Time 100 cover, with Robert Redford, Mary Barra and Jason Collins featured on three additional covers inside the magazine.