LOS ANGELES – Matthew McConaughey, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Hudson and “Abbott Elementary” creator and star Quinta Brunson have been named People magazine’s 2022 “People of the Year.”
The magazine unveiled its annual list Wednesday, with Editor in Chief Wendy Naugle explaining this year’s honorees were selected because of their efforts to help others.
McConaughey was chosen for his advocacy efforts after the Uvalde school shooting rocked his hometown. Kunis was lauded for her fundraising — which People said has topped $37 million — for Ukraine, where she was born.
McConaughey has referred to school shootings as an epidemic and released a statement following the massacre at Robb Elementary in May.
According to a report from People, McConaughey and his wife Camilla spent weeks visiting with victims’ families and helped press Congress to pass its first major gun-safety legislation in nearly 30 years.
“When we went to Uvalde, we both didn’t know where or how we would be needed most, but once we arrived it became clear that our connection was with the families — and especially Camila with the mothers,” McConaughey told People. “She became a support system for them, and even now, long after we have left, she still maintains that support when needed. There was a connection there between her and the families that was different than what they needed from me. . . . When a need is clear, like in this case, her dedication to serving and being a trusted teammate is unquestionable.”
Hudson and Brunson were honored for their onscreen work. Hudson, who launched a daytime talk show this year, was cited for her efforts to create an inclusive show where everyone felt welcome. Brunson’s “Abbott Elementary,” a critical hit that turned her into an Emmy winner, was praised as a show that brought many joy and showed that different generations can work well together.
Each of the honorees are featured on a special cover that highlights their contributions. Kunis’ includes the quote, “I’m proud to be from Ukraine,” while Brunson includes her statement: “I’m a sign that times are changing.”
McConaughey’s proclaims, “We have to do better for our kids,” while Hudson’s says, “I’m living my dream — and learning as I go.”
Previous People honorees have included George Clooney, Regina King, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Sandra Oh, Selena Gomez and Simone Biles. This year’s special editions will be released Friday.