Movies & TV

The Most Powerful Digital Stars in the Philippines

Their contemporaries include BTS and Chris Hemsworth.
IMAGE Instagram / Kathryn Bernardo, Anne Curtis. IMDB / Sarah Geronimo
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In a time when social media dominates our lives and celebrity endorsements can make or break brands, digital stars have stolen the spotlight by the sheer size of their followers and their social media power. We’ve seen it happen with the record-breaking band BTS and their equally famous fandom called ARMY, a group that played a key role in BTS’ rise to world acclaim. Now, BTS rakes in millions (in dollars, no less) for its endorsers and billions (again, in dollars) for the South Korean economy.

The power of digital stars cannot be denied.

The Philippines also has its own digital stars with huge followings and a big impact. In Forbes Asia’s inaugural 100 Digital Stars list, the Filipinos on the list were dominated by the women who have used their influence during this pandemic to raise awareness and inspire optimism.

These Filipinos, in order of appearance on the Forbes list, are Marian Rivera, Kim Chiu, Anne Curtis, Angel Locsin, Vice Ganda, Kathryn Bernardo, and Sarah Geronimo.

These mega-celebrities join the likes of powerhouses BTS, Blackpink, Lee Min-ho, Chris Hemsworth, Rich Brian, the list goes on.

1| Marian Rivera-Dantes

The Filipino actress boasts 23 million followers on Facebook, which is about a quarter of the entire population. She currently endorses a number of brands such as Nestle, Nido, Philippine National Bank, and Tough Mama.

2| Kim Chiu

Celebrity Kim Chiu has gone viral multiple times during quarantine, mainly for gaffes, but the star has managed to use viral videos to her advantage by directing social media attention to fundraisers for the pandemic.

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3| Anne Curtis

Darling of Filipino entertainment, Curtis gave birth to her first child during lockdown while in Australia, but that hasn’t stopped her from raising awareness about the pandemic. She is also one of the most popular Instagram celebrities with mega-endorsers like Jollibee and Pantene.

4| Angel Locsin

Angel Locsin was awarded as a Hero of Philanthropy by Forbes in 2019, and she continues to make that the focus of her work. She has donated over P15 million over the past decade to causes close to her heart like marginalized groups and now, frontliners.

5| Vice Ganda

The megastar is arguably one of the most known and most followed male celebrities in the country, and he’s currently the only male celebrity on this female-dominated list. Vice Ganda is a vocal netizen whose various talk shows and game shows are a source of entertainment for Filipinos in these trying times.

6| Kathryn Bernardo

Bernardo is the undisputed reigning queen of the box office after starring in two of the Philippines' highest-grossing films to date: The Hows of Us and Hello, Love, Goodbye. The two films together grossed over P1.6 billion for the Philippine film industry.

7| Sarah Geronimo

The pop star’s almost 20-year career in the spotlight has cemented her place in entertainment. Despite being tight-lipped about her personal life, this doesn’t stop Geronimo’s star power as she counts Coke, Colgate, and a number of other big brands as her endorsers.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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