My Top Ten Most Fascinating People of 2010
By Brigid Ruberson
10. Kate Middleton
I still have a tear-stained Kleenex in a scrapbook that I cried on while watching Princess Diana’s funeral. I remember sitting in my bedroom making a cassette tape for my friend Darren on his mission, when my sister came in to tell me that the People’s Princess had been in an accident and later died. I was devastated. I come from a line of women grossly intrigued with the royal family and the Kennedys. I was close in age to Prince William when I sat at 2 in the morning watching him follow behind his mother’s casket, and I’ve kept an eye on him ever since. He’s a seemingly good guy (watch Matt Lauer interview him and his brother Prince Harry, you'll soon see what I mean) who has done good things with his life and now he is marrying this fantastic commoner girl. Kate Middleton has, with William, brought being royal back to being a person. They are not going to have servants and they don't put on airs. She is stylish but not glamorous and they both seem very down-to-earth. I like that they are setting the example of being civilized and in a totally ordinary sense though in extraordinary circumstances in an increasingly uncivilized world.
9. Ashton Kutcher
I did not see any of Aston Kutcher’s movies this year, but I did start tweeting for the first time and as everyone on Twitter knows, he’s the Twitter godfather. He is a good-looking, famous guy and could be using that for a number of self-rewarding pursuits, instead he uses it to take care of his family and to bring attention to world issues. He and Demi Moore have raised millions of dollars for causes from Haiti to AIDS and from mosquito nets to the child sex trade. I could see myself easily falling into a hedonistic spiral at the knowledge that 2,000,000+ people were reading what I had to say every day, but the majority of what he shares is to bring awareness to people who are in need and I find that noble.
8. Christina Ruberson
This gorgeous creature is my sister-in-law and she is fantastic. She has dealt with divorce, moving, financial challenges, school challenges, and re-entering the dating world this past year. Whew! What intrigues me about Christina is her humble approach to everyday life. She would be the last person to describe herself as fascinating, but she faces every eventuality in her seemingly everyday life with a sense of class and perseverance. She expects no accolades. I love listening to her plugging along. I wish I could be less sensational in my approach to life and more consistent as she is. She expects a lot of herself, but is not dependent on other people to help her hit that goal. She defines who she is and what is important to her, and no one can touch that. I would love to be that clear on myself.
7. Sandra Bullock
Isn’t it always the way, that as soon as you reach the apex you realize the mountain is made of sand? What a year this woman has had. She was finally recognized with an Oscar for her professional achievements and I was watching her pre-award-show interview with Barbara Walters when she talked about how much she dearly loved her husband. Even in that interview, before her world came down, she was self-effacing and humorous as she always is. After it came out that her husband, whom she’d just spent weeks pouring out gratitude for, had been cheating on her, America was enraged and so was I. Who cheats on Sandra Bullock?! Her story became even more complicated when it was revealed that she had adopted a son. In true Sandy style though, she stepped back into the spotlight with that same sense of humor and a sense of class. She stepped up to be a mom and to be a woman when she had every excuse to let those things go. What a survivalist! May I show such grace when I face such grave trials!
6. William Beckett
The lead singer of The Academy Is…, William Beckett is more to me than a great performer, which he is. The man is a poet and a philosopher and he uses his popularity, mostly with teenagers, to get them to think. He is intelligent and he continues to keep himself informed. He is also a family man. What impresses me about him is how seamlessly he moves from one point in his life to another without lagging at all in his popularity, because he is true to himself and honest about what’s of value to him. His poetry and lyrics are raw and real and beautiful. Everything I suspected about him was confirmed during an AP Podcast interview I listened to this year in which he discussed a lot of his philosophies about life, family, the music business, and individuality. He’s a great human being and I am happy to have had the chance to meet him.
5. Robert Pattinson
Alright, before you roll your eyes and scroll away, give me a shot. The man is funny. I am not a Twi-hard. I have read most of the books and seen the movies, but I have spent a great deal more time watching and reading interviews with this person who is living a truly bizarre life. He wants to act. He thought he had hit his pinnacle after he was in the 4th Harry Potter and then his life exploded. He’s screamed at everywhere and beloved obsessively by many. His life is strange and he recognizes the ridiculousness of it all. He is also quite self-effacing and is actually quite clever. I lent no credibility to Twilight until I heard him say in an interview that you can’t take Edward Cullen too seriously because all the books are being told from a teenage girl’s perspective. He’s intelligent and shy and trying to make interesting choices with his career, which he is. I continue to be fascinated by this seemingly regular guy in the midst of a cultural phenomenon. And he makes me laugh.
4. Thomas S. Monson
This year has been one of the more controversial as late for the Mormon religion and for those of us who subscribe, our eyes are all on the church’s President. I do not envy his position. He is a voice of moderation and morals in a time of excess and trashiness. In addition to his obligations, he took over from a leader, Gordon B. Hinckley, who was beloved and had held his position for quite some time. President Monson never lectures, he shares, and the impression left behind is that you can decide for yourself. He speaks a lot about kindness, “Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life.” Perhaps his greatest contribution to the peacefulness in my life is that I always feel he is a haven, a place without judgment where everyone has something worth sharing. He makes me want to be a better person, which I suppose is the point.
3. Russell Brand
An odd follow-up to a religious leader, but I am being honest about the degree to which people have made an impression upon my life this year. I cannot even remember how this person entered into my world, but the more I learn about who Russell Brand has become, the more I believe in humanity and in my own ability to reach my potential. He is a comic genius. He has a seedy past, but he is honest about it and about what he has learned from it. I have just finished his first book and I’ve spend a good deal of time listening to podcasts and interviews. He’s quick, sharp, creative and intelligent. As if all of that were not enough, he cares. The man is as dead-set on making people laugh as he is on making them feel loved and I like that about him. He has had a horrible past and somehow managed to crest all of that and land square in the middle of exactly where he aspired to be. There is truly nobody like him and he resides in that truth with vigor. I have yet to tire of learning more about him and dearly hope to make his acquaintance some day.
2. Ginny Lee
It may seem like pandering being that Ginny is my best girlfriend, but one of the reasons she is one of my favorite people is because there is so much about her that I admire. I cannot begin to fathom all that she’s been witness to the past 12 months. Her family should be a reality show. Yet within the vortex of this chaos resides this beautiful, intelligent, enthusiastic person. For whatever reason, Ginny’s life is disproportionately filled with obstacles to overcome and she overcomes each of them with grace. She doesn’t tend to take things personally and though she has moments of frustration, she generally laughs about any misfortunes that befall her and soldiers on. I so admire that her opinion of herself and her sense of who she is are completely undisturbed and uninfluenced by those around her. People don't get to push Ginny around and I appreciate that she has planted that seed within me as well. She buoys me up by virtue of who she is and reminds me to be unapologetic about who I am.
1. Joshua R. Ruberson
Drum roll please! Josh has had a quite a year. The past twelve months have candidly presented him with a no-frills perspective on his weaknesses and in typical fashion, Josh nods and ponders and then moves forward. I am sure he would not use this same description of himself, but Josh is adaptable. He is always thinking of the next way he wants to better and challenge himself and his list of goals is extensive. How many people do you know who, in their free time, pursue calculus, meteorology, business, international news and history, as well as reading a few literary classics a week. He has incredible insight and is remarkably intelligent. In addition, he has incredible self-discipline. What Josh fails to recognize within himself is a lot, but he continuously affects the world around him and individuals in a positive way. I am so impressed with him as a person. He has attained so much of what I strive to become, in his balance and priorities, that I would be thrilled to count him amongst my friends, much less my family. It continues to be my privilege to be his wife and I am all alight to see what becomes of us in the coming year.