Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Kim Jong Un, Tom Hanks, and others made the list of most famous people of 2020, see full list and why these people were popular searches during this period.
Ever considered how in a world of almost 8 billion people, only a handful are widely known? How in the midst of such multitude of humans, certain individuals are known in every nook and cranny of the world by almost every living person.
Becoming famous may not be an easy feat, but globalisation has made it undoubtedly easier. In other words, while fame is usually a result of years of hard work in a field, or a stroke of genius, rising to fame these days could happen overnight. Now, being famous and what you’re famous for are two different discussions entirely, but that hardly matters when numbers are being considered.
Showbiz and entertainment, politics, and ICT, are some of the leading fields that produce majority of the world’s famous people. It is almost a certainty that excelling in any of these fields makes you famous, and the evidence is there to prove it. We’ll take a look at the ten most famous people in the world in 2020, based on how frequently they were searched on the leading search engine, Google.
1. Joe Biden (the US Presidential election)
This needs almost no explanation. Even though China is closely lurking behind, the United States of America is still the world’s most powerful and famous nation. With the US presidential election reaching its natural climax in 2020, it was a no brainer that the people’s favourite candidate became the most searched person on the internet and inadvertently the most famous person. This was further heightened by Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the elections to emerge as the 46th POTUS. His name was on literally every lips in every walk of life all over the globe, and rightly so.
2. Kim Jong Un (death rumour)
Per Wikipedia, Kim Jong-un is a North Korean politician who has been Supreme Leader of North Korea since 2011 and the leader of the Workers’ Party of Korea since 2012. He is the second child of Kim Jong-il, who was North Korea’s second supreme leader from 1994 to 2011. Though he has been quite famous for years due to his controversial way of ruling and blatant brutality, it wasn’t until April 2020 that he became one of the most famous people in the world. News of Kim’s health challenges began to circulate in April and soon enough it was reported that he had a cardiovascular procedure done.
In the weeks that followed, reliable news outlets went on a frenzy about the state of his health and soon reported he was in a coma, or dead. According to CNN, he was “in grave danger,” possibly as a result of a botched operation. Although it soon turned out to be a massive misinformation, the rumour had already spread and as you may expect, sparked incessant internet search about Kim Jong Un.
3. Boris Johnson (Lockdown and COVID-19 infection)
Born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Boris is a British politician and writer serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party since July 2019. He was Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2016 to 2018 and Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016.
The COVID-19 pandemic shook the world to its very roots in 2020, forcing a lockdown across the globe. On 23 March 2020, Boris Johnson announced a stay at home order across the UK, but there was serious drama on the way. Barely four days after giving the order, it was announced that Boris himself had tested positive to the virus. By 7 April, his condition had deteriorated so much that he had to be taken into intensive care, where he remained for three anxious days. Understandably he was in the news all over the world during this difficult times and resultantly became one of the most searched people on the internet.
4. Kamala Harris (US Presidential elections)
Kamala Devi Harris is an American politician and attorney who is the 49th and current vice president of the United States. She is the first female vice president and the highest-ranking female official in US history. Kamala is also the first African American and first Asian American vice president.
This profile speaks for itself. Of course Kamala’s heightened fame was simultaneous with that of Joe Biden under the same circumstances highlighted earlier. She wasn’t the running mate of the preferred US presidential candidate, she was also the first of her kind to attain such heights. Kamala became the most famous woman in the world and one the fourth most famous person based on internet searches in 2020.
5. Tom Hanks (COVID-19 infection)
Thomas Jeffrey Hanks is an American actor and filmmaker. Known for both his comedic and dramatic roles, he is one of the most popular and recognizable film stars worldwide, and is regarded as an American cultural icon. Tom Hanks is one of the most loved film icons in Hollywood, and when it was announced in March of 2020 that himself and his wife had tested positive to COVID-19, fans were devastated.
He was one of the first celebrities to test positive for the virus and fans world over dutifully prayed for his recovery and religiously followed up with his progress. It isn’t strange that Hanks became one of the most searched people on the internet in 2020.
6. Jacob Blake (police brutality)
Police brutality against blacks is almost a full blown culture in the US. The statistics are beyond disheartening as innocent, and bright blacks of all ages are brutalized or murdered year in year out by a racist police system with next to repercussions. On 23 August 2020, Jacob S. Blake, a 29-year-old black man was shot and seriously injured by police officer Rusten Sheskey in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Sheskey shot Blake in the back, firing seven times while inflicting multiple wounds when Blake opened the driver’s door to an SUV and leaned into it, claiming he believed he was about to be stabbed. Blake’s three kids were in the backseat of the car when this happened. Along with the black community, all well meaning humans reacted to the killing of George Floyd, protests erupted on the 25th of August and all news outlet went agog. Jacob went on to become of the most searched names on the internet in the year.
7. Kanye West (Billionaire status and Presidential election)
Kanye Omari West is an American rapper, singer, record producer, businessman, and fashion designer. He has been influential in the 21st-century development of mainstream hip hop, popular music, and popular culture in general. Truth be told, there hardly has been any year where Kanye hasn’t been one of the most famous people in the world. His talent for music production and endless stream of controversy keep him in the news.
In April of 2020 however, it was for positive reasons that Kanye made the news. It was announced after several times of asking, that Kanye West is now indeed a billionaire. You can easily imagine the rave that followed that news and the search frenzy that ensued. Kanye emerged number 7 on the list of most popular people in 2020 based on internet search. His decision to also run for president further increased his fame.
8. Ghislaine Maxwell (Jeffrey Epstein saga)
Ghislaine Maxwell is the youngest of the nine children of Robert Maxwell, the owner of the Mirror Group, and his wife, Betty. What Ghislaine is more known for, however, is her association with financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. She had been accused by many victims of Epstein as an accomplice, and the “one who sets the traps”.
Maxwell was arrested by FBI agents in late June in a small New Hampshire town, and it sent huge tremors across the celebrity community. People like Alan Dershowitz, a lawyer who represented Donald Trump at his impeachment trial and of course Jeffrey Epstein himself, Bill Clinton, who had at some point flown in Epstein’s private jet, and Prince Andrew, an old friend of Epstein’s, among many others who had been trying to distance themselves since the accusations against Epstein in 2008 were once again rattled.
The case was quite the sensation in the US, with both facts and conspiracy theories flying everywhere. Maxwell resultantly became a widely searched person on the internet, and of course, one of 2020’s most famous.
9. August Alsina (Entanglement with Jada Pinkett Smith)
August Anthony Alsina Jr. is an American singer, rapper, and songwriter from New Orleans, Louisiana, formerly signed to Def Jam Recordings. Prior to an interview that he granted in 2020 the singer had been rather quiet and was hardly in the news.
The internet and entertainment world went berserk in July 2020 after a short clip from an interview that August had with Complex was published. In the video, the R&B singer addressed the long-standing rumours about his alleged relationship with 48-year-old Jada Pinkett Smith, the wife of actor Will. He said, “I totally gave myself to that relationship for years of my life, and I truly and really, really, deeply loved and have a ton of love for her (Jada). I devoted myself to it. I gave my full self to it.” He added that he had a conversation first with Will Smith, and that the actor had given their relationship “his blessing.”
While Jada’s representatives denied the allegations in a statement after the clip went viral, she later made a tweet, saying there was a need for some healing and that she will be bringing herself to the Red Table, a talk show she hosts with her daughter and mom. She eventually confirmed on the show that she was in an “entanglement” with August.
Arguably the biggest celebrity gist in 2020, the raucous made Alsina one of the most searched and famous people in the year.
10. Ryan Newman (NASCAR Cup Series accident)
Ryan Joseph Newman, nicknamed “Rocket Man”, is an American professional stock car racing driver. He competes full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 6 Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing, as well as part-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, driving the No. 39 Ford F-150 for DCC Racing.
On 17 February 2020, when leading on the final corner of the final lap of the 2020 Daytona 500, Newman’s car was trapped in the rear by Ryan Blaney, who was running second. Newman’s car veered across the track and bounced off the outside wall, rolling over onto its roof and turning the driver’s side toward the onrushing car of Corey LaJoie. It took nearly 15 minutes to extract Newman from the wreck and put him in an ambulance before he was taken to Halifax Medical Center. He sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Fans and the general public feared the worst, and over the two days of his hospitalisation, the news spread further, and he became the most searched person around that period. Newman recovered and went back home, but wasn’t cleared to compete till he made full recovery. The pandemic, however, soon hit and closed the season entirely.
Like wealth and many other things of the sort, fame is hardly ever permanent. The current year with its own happenings has seen major changes in the statistics elucidated above, and it is expected that the list of the ten most famous people in the world will look completely different for 2021.
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