The"Time" 100 list is curated by the magazine's editors, namely executive editor Radhika Jones. But they also got a variety of celebrities, politicians, and other luminaries to write about each person who made the list. Some of the pairings are spot-on, while others are pretty unexpected. A few standouts:
Stella McCartney on Rihanna
McCartney opens her piece with the quintessential famous-person-on-famous-person line, "I can't remember when Rihanna and I first met." She doesn't talk about Rihanna's fashion at all, which is odd seeing as Rihanna wears her pieces and looks great in them. (Rounding out Rihanna's entry is a photo of her by Terry Richardson, he of the "tampon tea" allegations and general reputation for grossness.)
Judd Apatow on Kristen Wiig
He writes that Wiig "never thought she was making a statement about women in comedy. Of course women in comedy have always been brilliant." While Apatow is an obvious choice to write about Wiig, another woman in comedy might've been nice. "The Atlantic'"s Richard Lawson wished Lena Dunham had made the list — maybe she should've written Wiig's piece. Then again, Wiig might very well be the one writing about her next year.
Charlize Theron on Samira Ibrahim
Ibrahim sued the Egyptian military for performing "virginity tests" on female detainees, and got them to ban the practice. She's an extremely influential woman, but Theron's piece is mostly boilerplate (and probably written by her publicist). Mona Eltahawy wasn't available?
Angelina Jolie on Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
You didn't think they'd leave out Angelina Jolie, did you? Actually, having her write about Oscar-winning Saving Face director Obaid-Chinoy is a smart choice. This way she gets to write in her capacity as "actress and director," rather than actress-as-activist, like Theron.
Elizabeth Gilbert on Ann Patchett
Patchett has won a number of literary awards, but Gilbert went with a very "Eat Pray Love" story for this piece about Patchett's establishment of an independent bookstore in Nashville. It's a nice angle, but "Time" did miss an opportunity to highlight another literary writer here (like, for instance, Patchett's friend Elizabeth McCracken).
Sandra Fluke on Cecile Richards
It's kind of a surprise that Fluke herself isn't on the list. Nonetheless, she's a great choice to write about Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards, who she says is "my advocate and that of every woman in America, as I learned firsthand when I was publicly disparaged for speaking out on an issue she has been working on every day for years."
Pink on Adele
"Who else has one name and sings," the "Time" editorial staff asked themselves. Pink turns out to be kind of funny: "Go to Mars right now and I'm pretty sure if there is life on that planet, they're playing Adele." I think she wrote this herself.
Valerie Plame Wilson on Claire Danes
This is my hands-down favorite. The presence of Danes on the list is a little surprising — "Homeland" is popular, but she's still hardly a megastar. Maybe they included her to give Valerie Plame a chance to talk about what being a female spy is really like. "No sequined gowns or casual gunplay," apparently. But after your cover is blown in a gigantic nationwide scandal, at least you can still write about TV for "Time."