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Kathryn Bernardo, Angel Locsin, Sarah Geronimo join BTS, Lee Min-ho in Forbes Asia’s 100 Digital Stars list

By Tanya Lara Published Dec 09, 2020 1:23 am Updated Dec 09, 2020 1:52 am

Forbes Asia has come out with its first 100 Digital Stars list for Asia-Pacific. Filipinos on the list are Angel Locsin, Sarah Geronimo, Marian Rivera-Dantes, Kim Chiu, Anne Curtis, Vice Ganda and Kathryn Bernardo.

They join the unranked 100 that include BTS, Blackpink, Aussies Chris Hemsworth and Hugh Jackman, K-pop, Chinese, Southeast Asia and Bollywood stars.

Forbes Asia’s list highlights singers, bands, and film and TV stars. “With their powerful social media presence, these trailblazers have garnered millions of loyal followers across popular platforms, making them as famous online as they are on stage and screen.”

These are celebrities that have remained relevant despite their non-appearance in public events due to imposed lockdowns for most of 2020 across the region. Forbes notes their influence on social media, how they actively “interact with their fans, raise awareness and inspire optimism.”

Most of the stars use their celebrity not only to promote their work but also to highlight causes and encourage their followers to help in COVID relief for frontliners and displaced people in their own countries. In the case of Filipino celebrities, they also participated in typhoon relief efforts.

Angel Locsin, 35

With 16.5 million followers on Facebook, 12.5 million on Twitter and 8.3 on Instagram, Angel uses her influence to spotlight social issues and COVID-19. She has spoken against red-tagging and, though not directly, against the government’s COVID-19 response, and the anti-terror bill which effectively gives the police the authority to arrest activists against government—not just proven terrorists or communists.

To many people, Angel represents how celebrities can use their influence and speak their minds, braving the flak and below-the-belt comments from online trolls that tell them to “shut up.”

Forbes said, “Recently, Locsin helped raise P11.3 million for the purchase of 246 hospital tents for medical workers fighting the pandemic. Locsin has donated over P15 million to various causes, earning her a spot on last year’s Heroes of Philanthropy list.”

Kathryn Bernardo, 24

Kathryn has 13.6 million followers on Instagram and four million on Facebook. She and boyfriend Daniel Padilla recently earned praise for working together with the Office of the Vice President to gather relief goods for typhoon victims.

“Kathryn and Daniel have been quietly helping victims and now their fans are following (in) their footsteps. This is the power of having good role models,” VP Leni Robredo said.

Kathryn’s was in two high-grossing films—2018’s The Hows Of Us and 2019’s Hello, Love, Goodbye, grossing roughly $20 million. “For her performance in the latter, she was named both Film Actress of the Year and Phenomenal Star of Philippine Cinema at October’s Box Office Entertainment Awards in Manila.”

Sarah Geronimo, 32

Sarah has 13 million followers on Facebook and 1.8 million on Instagram. She has some of the most passionate Filipino fans, following her growth from a teen singer to her married life with Matteo Guidicelli—and all the family drama in between.

“Geronimo starred in the 2018 hit film Miss Granny, earning her a Best Actress award for Movies (along fellow Digital Star Kathryn Bernardo) at last year’s Philippine Movie Press Club Star Awards event. In March, Geronimo and husband Matteo Guidicelli sang a duet at a COVID-19 benefit concert that raised roughly $5 million.”

Marian Rivera-Dantes, 36

Marian is “the Philippines’ most popular celebrity on Facebook with 23 million followers. While not appearing on screen since the birth of her second child in 2019, she has been busy on social media, endorsing brands.”

She recently launched her own line of décor called Flora Vida Home, which sells preserved and dried flowers, home accessories and furniture pieces.

Kim Chiu, 30

In May 2020, Kim said, “Sa classroom may batas. Bawal lumabas. O bawal lumabas. Pero ‘pag sinabi, ‘pag nag-comply ka na bawal lumabas, pero may ginawa ka sa pinagbabawal nila, inayos mo yung law ng classroom niyo at sinubmit mo ulit, ay pwede na pala ikaw lumabas.”

Fans scratched their heads and wondered what she was actually trying to convey. While she didn’t make any sense, the soundbite became so popular online it produced a series.

ABS-CBN’s Dreamscape Entertainment turned the gibberish into an online series called “Bawal Lumabas: The Series,” which will premiere on Dec. 14 on streaming service iWantTFC. 

Forbes says the faux pas became a song that produced a good deed. “Chiu used a viral video gaffe during a live stream in May as the basis for The Classroom Song. A live performance of the hit has over 9 million views on YouTube. Chiu then sold The Classroom Song-branded T-shirts to raise money for pandemic relief.”

Anne Curtis, 35

“Curtis starred in last year’s hit The Mall, The Merrier with fellow Digital Star Vice Ganda, and won Best Female TV Host at the Philippine Movie Press Club Star Awards for Television. As the Philippines’ most popular Instagram celebrity, the actress has roughly 16 million followers and endorsement deals with Jollibee, Louis Vuitton and Pantene.”

The entrepreneurial Anne Curtis recently launched activewear line Recess with Isabelle Daza, Roxanne Farillas and Paulina Ortega.

Vice Ganda, 44

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A post shared by Vice Ganda (@vicegandako)

Comedian Vice Ganda was one of pro-women celebrities who expressed support for women’s rights group Gabriela in October.

“Ganda starred with fellow Digital Star Anne Curtis in the 2019 hit film The Mall, The Merrier. Ganda also won Best Male TV Host for Television at last year’s Philippine Movie Press Club Star Awards event. He is one of the most popular male celebrities in the Philippines, with 17 million Facebook followers.

Also on the Forbes list are Blackpink, whose members—Lisa, Jennie, Rosé and Jisoo—are Korea’s most-followed celebrities on Instagram; Avengers and Thor actor Chris Hemsworth (45.5 million followers on IG), who was in Forbes’ Top 100 Celebrity Earnings in 2019 with $76.4 million, and fellow Aussie Hugh Jackman with 29.5 million followers on IG and a bundle of acting nominations and awards.

Forbes describes global superstars BTS as having earned more than $170 million on the road last year, “more than any American band except Metallica.” In 2020, BTS earned $50 million. This year also marks BTS topping the Billboard 200 album chart four times in less than two yeas, “which only the Beatles have done faster, back in 1968. In October, BTS became the first group since the Black Eyed Peas in 2009 to clinch the top two spots on Billboards Hot 100 chart.”

Forbes’ list also includes Bollywood stars such as highest-paid Akshay Kumar with 131 million followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and Amitab Bachchan, the oldest on the list, who has made 200 movies in his long career. “In May (Bachchan) used his star power and 105 million social media followers to help raise $7 million for Covid-19 relief. Over his long career he has held elected office and been the subject of at least 11 biographies.”

According to Forbes, South Korean actor Lee Min-ho, 33, uses his fame to encourage his 70 million social media followers to give to charity on his site Promiz, which he founded in 2014. “In March he donated $252,000 to eight pandemic-focused causes.”

South Korean actress Park Shin-hye, 30, “starred in the zombie thriller #Alive, which in September was No. 1 on Netflix’s daily chart in 35 countries. The ‘Park Shin-Hye effect’ reportedly boosts sales of lipsticks she’s worn onscreen.”

Which Filipino celebrity do you think should have been on the list of Forbes’ 100 Digital Stars in Asia-Pacific?