SurveyMonkey Reveals What America Really Thinks About its Highest Paid Celebrities

Most Attractive, Talented and Overpaid Celebrities Ranked

PALO ALTO, Calif., August 9, 2016 -- This week, SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading online survey platform, measured how Americans feel about the celebrities ranked on the Forbes 2016 World Highest-Paid Celebrities list. The Forbes list, released in July 2016, ranks the world’s 100 highest-earning celebrities over the last 12 months. Income aside, how do Americans actually feel about the richest celebrities? SurveyMonkey surveyed 2,500 Americans on various dimensions, including most valued, overpaid, and respected, to get to the bottom of this question.

Celebrities that Americans value the most

According to Forbes, Taylor Swift is this year’s highest paid celebrity. But America doesn’t consider her their most valued celebrity. That distinction goes to TV personality Ellen DeGeneres, who scores highest on key positive dimensions (most respected, business savvy, contribution to society and the person who Americans would most like to trade lives with for a day) and scores low on negative dimensions - (least respected and overpaid) - making her the celebrity that Americans value most. According to SurveyMonkey findings, the top ten most valued celebrities are as follows: 1. Ellen DeGeneres, 2. Taylor Swift, 3. Rolling Stones, 4. Adele, 5. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, 6. Garth Brooks, T7. LeBron James and Dr. Phil McGraw, 9. Madonna and 10. James Patterson.

Overall, Americans seem to value women more than some of the men on the list - selecting Taylor, Adele, Madonna and Ellen DeGeneres as part of their top 10 overall most valued celebrities.

However, value does not translate into earnings for celebrity women, with men making up 15 of the 20 highest-earning celebrities on the Forbes list. With only Taylor Swift and Adele cracking the top 10 highest paid, the gender wage gap is very much alive. Americans polled noted this, and seemed in agreement that men are overpaid. Their top three most overpaid celebrities? LeBron James, Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Phil McGraw.

Most RespectedTalentedContributing to SocietyOverpaid
1. Ellen DeGeneres1. Adele1. Ellen DeGeneres1. LeBron James
T2. AdeleT2. LeBron James2. Dr. Phil McGraw2. Rush Limbaugh
T2. Dwayne "The Rock" JohnsonT2. Taylor SwiftT3. LeBron James3. Dr. Phil McGraw
T4. LeBron James4. Rolling StonesT3. Rush Limbaugh4. Taylor Swift
T4. Rush Limbaugh5. Garth Brooks5. Rolling Stones5. Howard Stern
T4. Taylor Swift6. Madonna6. Taylor Swift6. Madonna
7. Dr. Phil McGrawT7. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson7. Garth BrooksT7. One Direction
8. Garth BrooksT7. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson8. Dwayne "The Rock" JohnsonT7. Rihanna
9. Rolling Stones9. Roger Federer9. Cristiano RonaldoT9. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
10. Roger Federer10. David Copperfield10. MadonnaT9. Ellen DeGeneres

When it comes to their favorite musicians, are Americans weary of Taylor Swift?

Americans may not have yet forgiven Taylor Swift (#1 most attractive celebrity and most attractive musician according to Americans) for her breakup with Calvin Harris (#9 most attractive musician). Swift is considered the #2 most overpaid musician and is the #3 musician that Americans respect the least. However, Taylor can count herself lucky that she doesn’t top the lists for most overpaid and least respected musician. Those dubious awards go to famous Canadian bad-boy Justin Bieber.

Sir Paul McCartney and other more seasoned artists are proving that younger isn’t always better if you’re a musician. While the film industry and professional sports leagues are dominated by younger celebs, older musicians like Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, U2 and the Rolling Stones all poll well against younger musicians in key dimensions like most attractive, business savvy and best brand.

Most AttractiveBusiness SavvyBest BrandRespect The Least
1. Taylor Swift1. Paul McCartney1. Rolling Stones1. Justin Bieber
2. Rihanna2. Taylor Swift2. Paul McCartney2. Sean Combs
3. Adele3. Sean Combs3. Taylor SwiftT3. Madonna
4. Paul McCartney4. Madonna4. AC/DCT3. Taylor Swift
5. Garth Brooks5. Rolling Stones5. Bruce Springsteen5. Rihanna
6. Kenny Chesney6. U26. Adele6. One Direction
7. Bruce Springsteen7. Garth Brooks7. Garth Brooks7. U2
8. Calvin HarrisT8. Adele8. U28. AC/DC
9. U2T8. Bruce Springsteen9. MadonnaT9. Garth Brooks
10. AC/DC10. AC/DC10. Rihanna10. Rolling Stones

When it comes to Athletes, Americans still love Tom Brady

Tom Brady may have lost his Deflategate battle to Roger Goodell and the NFL in court, but some Americans seem to have overlooked his alleged transactions. America’s favorite quarterback dominates his fellow athletes across the most talented, best brand, most respected and athlete they would most like to trade lives with dimensions, coming in at #2, #2, #4 and #1 respectively. Although with enough Americans losing respect for Brady and considering him the #4 most overpaid athlete, his longtime nemesis Eli Manning (#1 most respected athlete) captures the title for the most overall valued athlete by Americans.

Conspicuously absent? Female athletes - none of whom made the 2016 list for highest-earning celebrities.

TalentedBest BrandTrade LivesRespect The Most
1. LeBron James1. LeBron James1. Tom Brady1. Eli Manning
2. Tom BradyT2. Kobe BryantT2. Cristiano Ronaldo2. Phil Mickelson
3. Tiger WoodsT2. Tom BradyT2. Eli Manning3. LeBron James
4. Kobe BryantT4. Eli Manning4. LeBron James4. Tom Brady
5. Eli Manning5. Tiger Woods5. Phil Mickelson5. Kobe Bryant
6. Lionel Messi6. Phil Mickelson6. Kobe Bryant6. Cam Newton
7. Cristiano Ronaldo7. Cristiano Ronaldo7. Jordan Spieth7. Roger Federer
8. Roger Federer8. Roger FedererT8. Roger Federer8. Cristiano Ronaldo
T9. Cam Newton9. Cam NewtonT8. Tiger Woods9. Jordan Spieth
T9. Phil Mickelson10. Lionel Messi10. Floyd Mayweather10. Tiger Woods

Americans want to trade lives with the actors and actresses they find most attractive

There seems to be a strong correlation between Americans wanting to trade lives with the actors and actresses they find most attractive. Jennifer Lawrence, Sofia Vergara, Brad Pitt, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Johnny Depp round out the top 5 actors/actresses that Americans find the most attractive. This same group also tops the list for actors or actresses that Americans would most like to trade lives with.

Looking for the best social media accounts to follow (or maybe some workout tips)? Americans recommend following Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Most AttractiveTrade Lives WithBest Social MediaMost likely to be remembered in 100 years
1. Jennifer Lawrence1. Jennifer Lawrence1. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson1. Tom Cruise
2. Sofía Vergara2. Sofía Vergara2. Jennifer LawrenceT2. Brad Pitt
3. Brad PittT3. Brad Pitt3. Brad PittT2. Johnny Depp
4. Dwayne "The Rock" JohnsonT3. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson4. Sofía Vergara4. Jackie Chan
5. Johnny Depp5. Johnny Depp5. Melissa McCarthyT5. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
6. Robert Downey Jr.6. Melissa McCarthy6. Matt DamonT5. Robert Downey Jr.
7. Matt Damon7. Matt Damon7. Robert Downey Jr.7. Matt Damon
8. Ben Affleck8. Robert Downey Jr.8. Ben Affleck8. Jennifer Lawrence
9. Melissa McCarthy9. Tom Cruise9. Johnny DeppT9. Ben Affleck
10. Vin Diesel10. Ben Affleck10. Vin DieselT9. Vin Diesel

Kim Kardashian remains one of the most polarizing figures on the list

While Kim Kardashian may have only clocked in at #42 on Forbes Highest-Paid Celebrities list, she is one of the most polarizing personalities included on Forbes’ list. When compared to other celebrities on the list in the media personality category, Americans ranked Kim as following: #1 for social media, #4 most attractive, #4 best brand, and #8 most business savvy. On the flipside, Kim was ranked as the #1 most overpaid and the #1 least respected when compared to fellow media personalities.

Kim’s business savviness shines on mobile. Around one-third of the Forbes celebrities have apps, but most apps don’t even generate enough data to track monthly users. Kim’s trio of apps represent not only some of the most popular celebrity-produced apps, but some of the most popular apps in the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores overall. According to SurveyMonkey Intelligence, Kim’s apps (KIMOJI, Kim Kardashian West Official App and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood) boast 1,100,00 combined monthly active users of. Kim Kardashian Hollywood alone has 951,000 monthly active users. That’s about the same amount of monthly active users as popular team communication platform Slack.

Celebrity (Forbes Rank)App NameMonthly Active Users (MAU)
1. Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift401,439
4. Cristiano RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo: SuperStar Skater13,610
13. Ellen DeGeneresHeadsUp1,032,065
26. Justin BieberShots App243,193
36. Jay ZTidal847,460
42. Kim KardashianKim Kardashian Hollywood951,845
63. Dr. DreBeats Music236,011
99. Britney SpearsBritney Spears: American Dream389,176

Other key findings from SurveyMonkey’s evaluation of the 2016 Forbes World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities list can be found here.

Methods Statement

The 2016 Celebrity Measures are based on survey responses from a sample of 2,500 adults in the United States across 5 surveys. Each survey was administered on the SurveyMonkey platform with respondents from Audience, SurveyMonkey’s online panel. Celebrities in the 2016 listing of the Forbes Celebrity 100 were compared by respondents on a set of 12 metrics across five surveys conducted July 20 - 25.

Mobile app data was collected using SurveyMonkey Intelligence, a mobile app insights platform. Data is based on estimates pulled as of July 17.

About SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is the world's leading online survey platform, with more than 3 million survey responses every day. SurveyMonkey has revolutionized the way people give and take feedback, making it accessible, easy and affordable for everyone. The company was founded in 1999 with a focus on helping people make better decisions, and has built technology based on over 15 years of experience in survey methodology and web development. Customers include 99% of the Fortune 500, academic institutions, organizations and neighborhood soccer leagues everywhere. The company has over 600 employees throughout North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, with headquarters in Palo Alto, CA. For more information, visit

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