Barbara Walters chose Caitlyn Jenner as the most fascinating person of 2015.
Hailed as a “symbol of hope for the transgender community,” hostBarbara Walters selected the 66-year-old reality star, who was not interviewed, for the top honor on the list of her annual 10 Most Fascinating People special.
“Our choice for the most fascinating person of the year was once called the world’s greatest athlete,” Walters, 86, started. “Traditionally that title was given to the man who won the Olympic decathlon. When Bruce Jenner won it in 1976, it was a huge accomplishment that had everybody talking. But it was nothing like this. When Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner, there was a seismic shift in the gender universe.”
Jenner has chronicled her journey with TV specials and her own E! show I Am Cait, but it was first in a 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer in April that she revealed her transition from male to female. Then in June, Kris Jenner’s ex made her debut on the June cover of Vanity Fair.
Her “celebrity has helped launch a national discussion about transgender rights,” explained Walters with video highlights from Caitlyn’s year. “She has become a champion for the transgender community, raising awareness and advocating for acceptance.”
Since revealing her true identity, the parent of ten has been recognized as one of Glamour’s Women of the Year, honored as Teen Choice Award’s Social Media Queen and the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards.
“Famous and familiar, she raised awareness and acceptance of transgendered people,” Walters continued. “Through her own transformation, Caitlyn Jenner transformed society this year, and that, for us, makes her the most fascinating person of 2015.”
And she is in great company as Jackie Onassis, Princess Diana, Hillary Clinton and Amal Clooney have all been most fascinating person of the year.
Rounding out this year’s top ten were Amy Schumer, Misty Copeland, Bradley Cooper, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Ronda Rousey, Donna Karan and Tracy Morgan.