Lady Gaga’s little monsters have thrust the pop sensation to the No. 1 spot of Forbes’ 2011 Celebrity 100 list. Gaga’s $90 million in earnings, domination over social media platforms and skyrocketing digital downloads have propelled her glittery persona past Oprah to claim the top spot on a list featuring celebrities from the worlds of fashion, music, sport, acting and more.
Gaga’s four-spot move up the list from last year was in part due to the financial successes of explosive tours, unabating music sales, shameless product placement, and other collaborations. But it was her 32 million Facebook fans and 10 million Twitter devotees that caught the eye of Forbes editors. The magazine’s editor, Dorothy Pomerantz, said that it was this element of virtual ubiquity that toppled Oprah, who in her own right made $290 million last year.
Forbes’ list also welcomed newcomers this year. Underage pop star Justin Bieber made his debut on the list at No. 3, while New York reality TV show regular and entrepreneur Bethany Frankel made her first appearance at No. 42. The lesson of this year’s Celebrity 100? Social networking sway has a currency all its own.