Only four years prior to his election as President of the United States in 2008, Barack Obama was a lowly state senator from Illinois. But stand back, Mr. President, because that’s nothing. From 2006 to 2008, American country-pop singer/songwriter/actress Taylor Swift catapulted from local-country gigs in Nashville to fielding two top-selling albums, Taylor Swift in ’06 and Fearless in ’08. Riding on their intense popularity, Fearless’s “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” were made into music videos, both ranking among the most successful of 2009 (yes, Kanye, even better than Beyoncé’s). Also last year, Swift fell into and out of love with Taylor Lautner, star of Twilight’s New Moon. But the Swift engine shows no signs of slowing down — her recent single, “Today Was a Fairytale,” topped the iTunes chart the day after release and Taylor’s silver-screen debut in Valentine’s Day is slated for February 12, 2010.

Ethan Solomon