11 Houstonians and Texans who made it on TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people through the years

Houston Texans DE JJ Watt (left), Megan Thee Stallion (center) and Selena Gomez. (Associated Press)

HOUSTONThis year’s list of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People came out and features several of the most prominent Texans we know and love.

Some Texans and individuals with Texas ties have made it in other TIME Magazine lists in years past. From Selena Gomez to Lauren Gardner, to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, these Texans have made a difference in people’s lives and the world, respectively.

TIME publishes an annual list of 100 people — politicians, celebrities, artists, scientists, and icons — who have influenced the world that year.

Here is a list of Houstonians and Texans who made it in TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in recent years. Take a look:

See the full 2020 list here.

Chip and Joanna Gaines

Year: 2019

Texas' favorite “Fixer Upper” couple made the list for their generosity and genuine passion. According to TIME in 2019, they are “grounded by their faith” in helping people.

Photo from Facebook


Year: 2019 (Entertainer of the Year)

Hit after hit, Lizzo, who grew up in Houston, not only topped the charts but also inspiring her fans to be positive in all aspects.

Lauren Gardner

Year: 2020

Johns Hopkins University Professor Lauren Gardner, a University of Texas-Austin alumna, is known for her work behind the COVID-19 case dashboard, informing millions of the latest cases around their area.

Lauren Gardner, professor of Johns Hopkins University (Courtesy of Johns Hopkins University)

Megan Thee Stallion

Year: 2020

From “Hot Girl Summer” to “WAP,” Houston-native Megan Thee Stallion is topping charts and taking the music industry by storm.

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2019 file photo, Megan Thee Stallion arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards in Newark, N.J.. The rapper says she was shot multiple times, but expects to fully recover. The 25-year-old said in an Instagram post Wednesday that she had gunshot wounds from a crime committed against her Sunday with the intent to harm her and feels lucky to be alive. She did not say who shot her or why, and Los Angeles police had no immediate comment. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File) (Invision)

JJ Watt

Year: 2018

The Houston Texans DE made it to the list for his humanitarian efforts by raising $37 million for Hurricane Harvey recovery. According to Mayor Sylvester Turner, who wrote the piece on the beloved player for TIME, Watt “tackled Harvey’s destruction the same way he tackled his opponents on the football field."

J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans announced his departure from the team on Feb. 12, 2021. He and the McNairs have mutually agreed to part ways. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

He Jiankui

Year: 2019

He Jiankui, a biophysicist who graduated from Rice University with a Ph.D. in 2010, is well-known for changing the genome of twin baby girls in China, giving them immunity to HIV, according to TIME. The scientific breakthrough went against scientific consensus by combatting life-threatening diseases in babies born with it.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018 file photo, genetic researcher He Jiankui arrives for the Human Genome Editing Conference in Hong Kong. A new report from an international commission of scientists sets criteria for when altering genes in human embryos might be considered, two years after He shocked the world by claiming to have made the first "CRISPR babies." (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)


Year: 2019

A singer-songwriter whom Grammy-winning artist Alicia Keys describes as “unique, a beautiful writer with the ability to take concepts and make you understand to feel them." He grew up in El Paso and has referenced his Texas hometown in a few of his songs, according to TIME.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Khalid attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy) (2020 The Recording Academy)

Selena Gomez

Year: 2020

The world has seen Grand Prairie-born Selena Gomez grow up to become the woman she is now. She has three No. 1 albums, executive-produced a documentary on immigration (“Living Undocumented” on Netflix), and is now doing her own cooking show on HBO Max (“Selena + Chef”), according to TIME.

Elizabeth Warren

Year: 2017

The U.S. Senator and former 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate graduated from the University of Houston, teaching law at the same school respectively. She stood up for the middle class and the marginalized as a senator and as a presidential candidate, according to Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris, who wrote the piece on Warren.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (2019 Getty Images)

Simone Biles

Year: 2017

Olympic Gold Medalist and Spring native Simone Biles proved that “no matter what you’re going through, you still can be No. 1,” wrote comedian Leslie Jones on TIME.

FILE - In this July 10, 2016, file photo, Simone Biles competes on the balance beam during the women's U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials in San Jose, Calif. At least 70 percent of U.S. Olympic sports organizations have applied for government loans in the coronavirus pandemic, underscoring the frailties within the worlds most dominant Olympic sports system. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Ted Cruz

Year: 2016

The current U.S Senator representing Texas is said to “take more action outside of office than doing things inside” said former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on TIME.

About the Author:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 2, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.