Who are the celebrities that you admire most? A lot of popular names from the newspaper headlines will cross your mind, but you probably would not call that `admiration.` Besides flawless career (honestly, most of nowadays tabloid stars do not attain even this first condition), admirable celebrities should also set the example with their impeccable manners, socially responsible actions and dignity when it comes to private aspects of life. Talent, discipline and hard work are a good base for gaining respect in public, but they are somehow not enough; so, what makes some stars shine brighter?
Scientists say: the answer is emotional intelligence (EI)! This ability emerged from investigating multiple aspects of our intelligence (Sternberg, 1985; Gardner, 1986) as the one responsible for building and maintaining good relationships with other people. EI also affects professional aspects of our life: 71% of managers consider EI as more important for business than IQ (Freedman, 2014)!
It is now clear that many celebrities that had deserved our admiration and respect owe their success to their highly developed EI skills. Let`s see some of the examples from this list.
This fashion icon and one of the greatest actresses of all times had left an impressive legacy. Even though her ballet career was abruptly terminated at the very start due to her bad after-war physical state, she continued to fight for her dreams and decided to become an actress. Unlike many other Hollywood superstars of her generation, she was determined to make a movie career away from scandals and private affairs, relying only on her talent and hard work. William Wyler, director of the movie `Roman Holiday`, described her with the following words: “She had everything I was looking for: charm, innocence and talent. She also was very funny. She was absolutely enchanting!”. So he has chosen her for the main role instead of much more popular (and much more problematic) Elizabeth Taylor; the rest is history. She had also been active in the field of humanitarian work as Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF: she considered that she had been `one of the lucky ones` after enduring WWII, so she dedicated later years of her life to helping children in the poverty-stricken parts of the world.
One of the most influential women of our era, talk-show host, actress, producer and philanthropist managed to rise above the harsh conditions of her early life: she was abandoned by her mother, sexually abused by her family members and she lost a child in her teenage period. All these dreadful events made her stronger and more decisive in her actions. Education became her priority thanks to her grandma, and Oprah claimed that she gave her `a positive sense about herself ` (Winfrey, 1986). Her TV success is based on timely, good-oriented intuition about what an audience really wants: less-tabloid formats, broader topics and sharp turnaround on various social issues. Her talent for making people open up about the most intimate things has become so famous that entire phenomenon deserved its own name: `The Oprahfication`, just like the power of her opinion: `The Oprah effect`.
One of the most successful mid-generation actors became famous for playing roles of socially awkward and problematic guys; however, his real-life personality is quite the opposite. Living his life away from paparazzi, his marriage is one of the most stable in Hollywood and his friendships with the most famous Hollywood actors such as George Clooney and Ben Affleck last for decades. He is not just one more Hollywood `pretty face`: his humanitarian and political engagement has become widely known after discussing negative aspects of war in Iraq and existing social inequities related to it (United Press International, 2006). He is also a founder of `H2O Africa foundation` and ambassador of `ONEXONE`.
The most beloved British princess of all times was probably the best example of how to utilize your emotional intelligence during public appearances. She has become highly respected for showing cultural sensitivity and great communication skills during her overseas trips. Her visit to NY hospital and spontaneous contact with HIV positive children had huge impact on breaking stereotypes about this illness. Even after her divorce from Prince Charles, she had remained the best ambassador of UK. Her tragic death has broken billions of hearts all over the world.
The world`s best tennis player, he became a role model of many young people thanks to his talent, discipline and modesty. His lack of arrogance and good humor have been depicted in various TV shows, such as `The Tonight Show with Jay Leno` and `Conan O’Brien’s show`. The gratitude and appreciation that he shows to his family through the interviews and his good relation with colleagues and media representatives helped him to create the image of a `boy next door`. Born in Serbia, this world`s No1 has been involved in various charity actions in his native country.
As we have seen, these celebrities can attribute their success to their high EI. Learn strategies for developing emotional intelligence skills through fun, science-based activities and games: Sign up for free CamomileQ track today!
By Marina Musatova, Psy.D. and Katarina Mijatovic, MSc.
Freedman, J. (2014). Emotional Intelligence for Your Career? Retrieved from: link
Gardner, H. (1986). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Mulitple Intelligence . NY: Basic Books.
Goleman, D. (1998). Working with Emotional Intelligence. Boston: Harward Business Press.
Quintanilla, C. (n.d.). The Oprah Effect. Retrieved from CNBC: link
Sternberg, R. (1985). Beyond IQ: A Triarch Theory of Human Intelligence. NY: Cambridge University Press.
Taylor, L. (2002). The Church of O. Retrieved from Christianity Today: link
United Press International. (2006). Damon: Maybe Bush twins should go to Iraq. Retrieved from: link
Winfrey, O. (1986, September 14). «Oprah: Talk Show Dynamo Treats the Audience Like a Friend.» Syracuse Post-Standard, p.A(. (M. Novit., Interviewer)