A woman now rules the world. Her name is Oprah Winfrey.
The talk show queen has replaced Tom Cruise as the world’s most powerful celebrity in the annual Forbes magazine list of the 100 most influential stars.
Oprah Winfrey: The power to connect
Winfrey jumped two spots on the ninth annual list, released Thursday last week, with earnings of $260 million from various media ventures.
It’s easy to dismiss her success as sheer luck. But there’s definitely more than luck in Oprah’s success.
By watching the Oprah Winfrey show, you could get a glimpse of the secret. The way she makes an emotional connection with her audience, nobody could do it better than Oprah.
Businessweek calls Oprah an “authentic communicator,” one worthy of trust.
Oprah revolutionized the talk show format by using the back and forth conversation style that is the basis for friendships between women with its emphasis on self revealing intimacies.
The friendships between women and girls are often built on trading secrets. For instance, Oprah once revealed her own secrets such as the sexual abuse she suffered as a child.
How many other major celebrities could do that? Not many for sure.
Even though you have never met her, she is somebody who could tell you intimate details about her life. You’ll know that she is somebody who cares. And she urges her viewers to improve their lives and the world. She makes people care because she cares.
And, of course, popularity eventually translates into big bucks.
For the rest of the Forbes Celebrity 100 Power List:
Golfer Tiger Woods ranked second, moving from No. 5, while singer Madonna was No. 3 on the list.
Madonna was not in the top 100 last year but she made the new list after becoming the highest grossing female artist in history with her “Confessions” tour and for hitting the headlines by adopting a baby boy from Malawi. Her earnings for the year were $72 million.
The Rolling Stones, who Forbes said earned $88 million this year, took the fourth spot, slipping from No. 2 last year.
After making the Forbes rankings for the past three years, hotel heiress Paris Hilton was off the 2007 list. Also not making the cut were two other young women with party-girl reputations — actress Lindsay Lohan, who has not made the list since 2005, and singer Britney Spears, last ranked in 2002.
Tom Cruise dropped to No. 8 from top spot last year.
Two other actors broke in the top 10 this year and surpassed Cruise with Brad Pitt, partner of actress Angelina Jolie, hitting No. 5 and Johnny Depp taking the sixth spot. They were 20th and 27th, respectively, last year.
Goldman said while Depp earned a staggering $92 million off the back of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, Pitt, who earned just $35 million, easily outscored him in the media.
The “Brangelina” effect also propelled Jolie, a UN goodwill ambassador who has one biological and three adopted children with Pitt, up 21 spots to No. 14. Last year she tied with Pitt’s ex-wife, actress Jennifer Aniston, at 3.
Singer Elton John moved up this year’s list to No. 7 from the 16th position with $53 million in earnings, while Jay Z, the rap star-turned-music executive and boyfriend of singer Beyonce, made his debut at No. 9, with $83 million.
Director Steven Spielberg rounded out the top 10 with earnings of $110 million.
The full list can be viewed at www.forbes.com/celebs.