11 of Today’s Most Creative Celebrities and Influencers

From emerging superstars to enduring creators, meet the A-listers on this year's Creative 100

From left, John Krasinski, Dolly Parton and Megan Thee Stallion.

When it comes to famous people, some of them use their visibility to effect change, others to make us think and still others to make us dance, while some just want to make make us feel good. Which kind of famous people did we pick for our Creative 100 list? All of them.

Ramy Youssef
Comedian, actor and writer

Ramy Youssef

On creating a hit with his first TV show, Ramy: “So much of it is like, you try a joke at an open mic and then three years later you’re telling the same joke in front of thousands of people in a huge place,” Youssef tells Adweek. “Yeah, I hadn’t made a show, but I had made so many small things, and it scales. It’s scary how well it can scale if you’re clear on what it is that you want to do.”

Selling a show where his Muslim faith is a theme: “It’s certainly not what we led with, but I remember very clearly having this conversation with Jerrod [Carmichael, one of Ramy’s executive producers] at the time where I was like, I really want to see the relationship I have with God on-screen,” Youssef says. “I don’t want it to be cheesy, I don’t want it to be angels in heaven, I don’t want to be a cartoon—I really want it to feel real, and I want to crack that.”

Read much more about Youssef’s career and the development of his groundbreaking show in this week’s Adweek cover story, available to Adweek Pro members.

Dolly Parton 
Singer, songwriter, executive, humanitarian

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The legend: With a career spanning more than five decades, Dolly Parton is one of the few artists identifiable by first name alone. Her roots in country music spurred classics like “Jolene” before she conquered pop music with “9 to 5” (from the eponymous movie she starred in alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin). Her accolades are far too many to list here, but include nine Grammy awards, being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999 and a Guinness World Record for the most decades with a Top 20 hit. A 2019 podcast, Dolly Parton’s America, which looks at how Parton appeals to fans on both sides of an increasingly divisive political spectrum, was nominated for a Peabody Award.

The businessperson: In 1986, she invested in a theme park, which was renamed Dollywood in her honor, located near her hometown. The Dollywood empire has since grown to include a chain of dinner theaters, a water park, cabins and a resort. With 4,500 people on staff, it is now one of the largest employers in East Tennessee. It also brings an estimated 2.5 million visitors to the Smoky Mountains each year.

The beacon of hope: Parton, who famously said, “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap,” has spared no expense to help out during the coronavirus pandemic. In April, she donated $1 million to Vanderbilt to fund research for a cure. She has also been reading children’s books in a video series called Goodnight With Dolly and released a song called “When Life Is Good Again” as a message of hope.
Lisa Lacy


Megan Thee Stallion
Rapper

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Coining an Instagram caption: The 25-year-old rapper had a breakout year in 2019 with her debut mixtape, Fever, with tracks spotlighting her commanding flow and sex-positive lyrics. She also coined the term “hot girl summer,” which became a go-to social media caption to express having a fun and unapologetic season, and sparked a song collaboration with Nicki Minaj. 

This story first appeared in the June 8, 2020, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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