For the eighth time, OOOM presents its annual “OOOM 100: The World’s Most Inspiring People” list, chosen by the OOOM editorial team and a prominent international jury, including Obama advisor and ServiceSpace founder Nipun Mehta, social impact pioneer of the Silicon Valley; Elisabeth Sereda from the Board of Directors of the Golden Globes; designer Stefan Sagmeister (Sagmeister Inc. NYC); London’s Serpentine Galleries director Hans Ulrich Obrist, one of the world’s most influential art curators and experts; impact investor Charly Kleissner, who was Steve Jobs’ software mastermind and created OS X; NEOS founder Matthias Strolz and art expert and gallery owner Thaddaeus Ropac (London, Paris, Seoul, Salzburg), among others.
The ranking and the article are originally in German. This is a translation into English. Click here for the original in German.
1 Taylor Swift, Singer
(NEW) Breaking records is in her DNA. Taylor Swift has won ten Grammy Awards, 23 Billboard Music Awards and 12 Country Music Awards to date. With over 200 million albums sold, she has broken a sound barrier: No female artist has ever sold more records than her. This year, her Eras tour broke further records: 4.3 million tickets sold, 1.04 billion US dollars in revenue. No one else has ever achieved this. Her European tour, which starts in Paris in 2024, sold out within minutes. That’s one side of Taylor Swift. But there is another, which catapulted her onto the podium in the OOOM 100 ranking of the world’s most inspiring people: she fights for LGBTQ+ rights, equality for same-sex marriage, against racism and discrimination. She calls injustice by its name. She supports #BlackLivesMatter and even attacked President Trump because having a backbone is relevant to her—and she has stayed grounded. The OOOM 100 jury therefore chose Taylor Swift as the most inspiring person of 2024.
2 Narges Mohammadi, Human rights activist & Nobel Peace Prize winner
(NEW) It is a fight that seems hopeless at first sight. But she fights it out of conviction and without weapons, only with courage, against the oppression of women. Narges Mohammadi is an Iranian human rights activist. She has been in prison in Iran since 2021 because she has been campaigning for women’s rights since her studies. She wrote for the media, joined the Center for the Defense of Human Rights in Iran, which is headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, and stood up against a regime that oppresses people. Not only once did she stand in front of the Islamic Revolutionary Court. But she remained resolute. Now she has been awarded the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize. A strong woman. A heroine of our time.
3 Greta Gerwig, Film producer and director
(NEW) She stood in front of the camera with Ben Stiller in “Greenberg” and the “New York Times” declared that she “may well be the definitive screen actress of her generation”, but Greta Gerwig soon realized that inventing stories and bringing them to life can be even more appealing than being in front of the camera. Her first self-produced feature film “Lady Bird” with Timothée Chalamet received five Oscar nominations. But the coup of her life came this year with “Barbie”, which she directed and wrote the screenplay for with her husband Noah Baumbach. The blockbuster grossed 1.44 billion dollars at the box office, triggered global hype and was nominated for nine Golden Globes. “She has created an international phenomenon,” says OOOM 100 jury member Stefan Sagmeister. And gave us all laughter and joy in a difficult time. Thank you.
4 Sir Paul McCartney, Music legend & philanthropist
(NEW) He brought a legend back to life and took millions of people right back to their childhood, youth and an ideal world. When John Lennon was murdered 43 years ago, it was clear that the Beatles would never return. But artificial intelligence and the perseverance of Paul McCartney, 81, made it possible to resurrect the band. On “Now and Then”, John Lennon sings while George Harrison plays guitar. The old recordings were extracted for the first time using AI and mixed with a new arrangement. British musician Liam Gallagher praised the song as “absolutely incredible, biblical, celestial, heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time”. And Beatles drummer Ringo Starr says: “It was like John was there with us. It’s an exciting thing.” Paul McCartney gave us the Beatles back. A sensation.
5 Lily Gladstone, Actress & activist
(NEW) She is Hollywood’s shooting star of 2023 thanks to her role in a film that relentlessly portrays the history of her nation—and the crimes of the white man. Lily Gladstone, 37, grew up on the reservation of the Blackfoot Nation in Montana. She has indigenous roots, graduated from the University of Montana and has performed on a number of theater stages, including the youth theater for indigenous Americans, Red Eagle Soaring, in Seattle. Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece “Killers Of The Flower Moon”, in which she plays the Osage woman Mollie Burkhart, made her an Oscar candidate. Because she is the heart and brain of the movie. Lily Gladstone is changing the way indigenous peoples are seen. She has given her people a voice. A strong woman.
6 Michelle Obama, America’s hope
(Re-Entry) 2024 will be America’s year of destiny. Because if the US presidential election takes place on November 5 and no miracle occurs, the fallen 45th president of the United States has a good chance of being re-elected despite all the charges and legal battles. It’s hard to imagine what that means for the world. Since Joe Biden, 81, has been looking increasingly fragile in public appearances and is far behind Trump in most opinion polls, good advice is expensive. Even Obama’s campaign manager David Axlrod wondered on social media whether Biden’s re-candidacy was “wise”. There is already open discussion in the U.S. as to whether Michelle Obama could enter the ring for the Democrats. The disadvantage: she has no active political experience. The advantage: she has a First Husband who understands the business. She is still refusing. But in the absence of alternatives, everything is possible. Michelle Obama as the 47th President of the United States? What a wonderful vision.
7 Arnold Schwarzenegger, Motivator & bestselling author
(Re-Entry) When Arnold Schwarzenegger, 76, does something, he does it right. He was the most successful bodybuilder in the world, the best-paid actor of his time, the governor of the fifth largest economy on the planet. A career that nobody would have believed the boy from the alpine republic of Austria could achieve. Many people ask themselves: how was that possible? He has reinvented himself time and time again. And now he wants to pass on his knowledge. In the book “Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life”, Schwarzenegger describes seven rules for success that anyone can copy to become successful: a clear vision, hard work, confidence, courage to try big things and humility, among others. Like everything else he touches, the book immediately went to number one on the bestseller lists in numerous countries. In a Netflix documentary series, he shows his rise and his life, quite self-critically and with irony. Schwarzenegger has grown to become America’s cautionary conscience. He says what many don’t dare to, because he has nothing to lose. A great man of our time.
8 Anja Ringgren Lovén, Land of Hope founder
(Re-Entry) If courage has a name, then it is Anja Ringgren Lovén. The aid worker from Denmark founded “Land of Hope” in Nigeria, where abandoned children – 98 in total so far – find a safe home, food and education. As a blonde, white woman in a country where women still have hardly any rights, this is no easy task. When she saved the life of a starving little boy in 2016, whom she later named Hope, and a Danish TV crew documented the rescue, her story went around the world. Our international jury voted her the world’s most inspiring person in the first OOOM 100 list in 2016. She has been campaigning for the outcasts, known as “witch children”, for ten years now. Every year, 15,000 children in Africa are rejected by their own families out of superstition and sent to their deaths. The Danish woman fights desperately against this with courage and commitment. A true angel of the poor.
9 Jane Goodall, Primate researcher & environmental activist
(Re-Entry) In a few months, she will be an incredible 90 years old, but she is still committed to her lifelong mission today. British behavioral scientist Jane Goodall researched the lives of chimpanzees and learned a lot about humans in the process. In 1977, she founded her Jane Goodall Institute, which has 31 offices worldwide today and is committed to sustainable, holistic animal welfare and development programs in Africa. In its youth program Roots & Shoots, where young people are motivated to develop projects for people, animals or nature, 150,000 children are active in over 100 countries. Much of what we know about chimpanzees living in the wild can be traced back to Jane Goodall’s work. Today, Goodall also campaigns for certain rights of the great apes in the Great Ape Project, which are similar to human rights. A pioneer of animal and environmental protection.
10 Billie Eilish, Singer and activist
(NEW) She is only 22 years old and already won all four main categories of the Grammy Awards at the age of 19. Billie Eilish never went to school, but was taught at home and began writing songs at the age of eleven. At 15, she was named “Pop’s Next It Girl” by Vogue. The song “No Time To Die”, which she wrote with her brother for the Bond film of the same name, won her an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award. This incredible career alone makes her an inspiration to many others. But there is another side to Billie Eilish. She has been vegan since the age of 13, before that she was a vegetarian. She called on her fans to stop or at least reduce their meat consumption for the sake of the animals and our environment, which even earned her the German Sustainability Award. “Trying to end animal agriculture and eating a more plant-based diet is really, really important”, she says. And when someone like her says that, it resonates with her 110 million Instagram followers. That’s great.