The 20 female personalities with the highest Q ratings, this year.
This story first appeared in the October 17, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Celebrity and fashion go hand in hand. Before investing a fortune to hire a celebrity pitch woman, companies scrutinize Q-ratings – an index of a star’s commercial value. A sample of consumers nationwide is polled on the recognizability and likability of 1,700 celebrities. By dividing the number of people who say a star is “one of my favorites” by the number who’ve heard of the celeb, a Q-rating (Q stands for quotient, as in IQ) is obtained for each celeb.
Q Score: 36; Familiarity: 89
Cameron Diaz, Sylvester Stallone, Brad Pitt and Meg Ryan have all hawked products in Japan to avoid the humiliation of being seen in commercials stateside. But Julia Roberts has resisted the temptation. Don’t expect to see her selling cosmetics any time soon.
Melody Thomas Scott
Q Score: 34; Familiarity: 26
She’s been a stripper, kidnapped by gangsters, married 13 times and pumped with bullets. Melody Scott Thomas — that’s Nikki Reed to “The Young and the Restless” fans — is above all, a survivor.
Q Score: 33; Familiarity: 37
Marg Helgenberger plays the cool-headed crime scene investigator Catherine Willow on the hit CBS series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” She exudes competence and compassion on the show, two qualities that no doubt contribute to her impressive Q score.
Q Score: 33; Familiarity: 55
Roberts won her third Emmy award this year for playing the feisty grandmother on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” But, as she told the Senate Special Committee on Aging, roles for actresses her age (72) are as rare as fashion ads featuring septuagenarians.
Q Score: 32; Familiarity: 23
Garner, who plays graduate student/secret agent Sydney Bristow on “Alias,” slips into different identities for her undercover work as easily as she changes outfits — and wigs. She won a Golden Globe award in January and was nominated for an Emmy.
Q Score: 31; Familiarity: 88
While Whoopi Goldberg’s bag lady humor as host of the Oscars might not be everybody’s cup of tea, she’s won critical acclaim for her work in films such as “The Color Purple” and “Ghost.” Whoopi’s career has been based on reinvention and surprising audiences.
Q Score: 31; Familiarity: 84
Hawn’s ditsy charm has been evident since she giggled her way on to “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” in the late Sixties. Hawn shows the same zaniness in her latest film, “The Banger Sisters,” where she plays a middle-aged former groupie intent on reliving her old bad days.
Q Score: 30; Familiarity: 63
Lisa Kudrow, who plays the blond airhead Phoebe Buffay on the hit series “Friends,” seems to have an affinity for ditsy characters. “Friends” stars earn $1 million an episode, so when the series ends, Kudrow may have to pick up a commercial or two to make ends meet.
Q Score: 30; Familiarity: 29
Fox plays Sara Sidle, the intense crime scene investigator with special skills in materials and element analysis on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” Sidle has done stints on some of the hottest shows on TV, including “ER” and “The West Wing.”
Q Score: 30; Familiarity: 68
A gospel singer at 18, Reese broke into television with an appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Reese is a star of “Touched By An Angel,” the CBS hit whose demographics skew towards the Geritol crowd. Tess, her character, is the tough, wise and compassionate head angel.
Q Score: 30; Familiarity: 77
One of country music’s biggest and most enduring — not to mention glitziest — stars is Reba McEntire, whose down-home sensibility has been tapped for selling everything from Frito Lays to beef. On the WB sitcom “Reba,” McEntire gets laughs with her dysfunctional family.
Q Score: 29; Familiarity: 38
JAG star Catherine Bell plays tough-as-nails Maj. Sara (Mac) MacKenzie on the CBS series. The former model-turned-actress stars with Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman in Universal Pictures’ upcoming spiritual comedy “Bruce Almighty.”
Q Score: 29; Familiarity: 53
Patricia Heaton, who plays harried homemaker Debra Barone on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” has won two Emmys for her role. Heaton’s recent book, “Motherhood & Hollywood: How to Get a Job Like Mine,” explains how she does it: think Wonderbras and tummy tucks.
Q Score: 29; Familiarity: 61
The Irish-born actress Roma Downey plays Monica, a kind-hearted angel dispatched from Heaven to help people at a crossroads in their lives in “Touched by
Q Score: 29; Familiarity: 82
The perpetually perky star has made a cottage industry of romantic comedies, such as “When Harry Met Sally,” and the saccharine “Sleepless in Seattle,” “You’ve Got Mail” and “Kate and Leopold.” Upcoming movies include “Against the Ropes” about a female boxing manager.
Q score: 29; Familiarity: 27
The “Providence”actress with cascades of curly hair plays a disillusioned plastic surgeon who leaves a practice centered on celebrities and spoiled teens. She moves back to Providence to work in a low-income medical clinic. Kanakaredes is a spokeswoman for Maybelline.
Q Score: 28; Familiarity: 67
Four-time world figure skating champion Michelle Kwan promoted Mattel’s Star Skater Barbie in 2001.?Kwan was featured on Star Skater Barbie doll’s packaging and in the doll’s commercials. Among the attributes Mattel saw in Kwan were a strong work ethic and dedication.
Q Score: 28; Familiarity: 82
With her long blond mane and buff body, it’s no surprise that advertisers have taken notice of Faith Hill. The country music siren has hawked everything from Cover Girl to Pepsi, in between grueling tours and making best-selling CDs.
S. Epatha Merkerson
Q Score: 28; Familiarity: 31
S. Epatha Merkerson’s character, Lt. Anita Van Buren on “Law & Order” has got it together. The unflappable Merkerson is always professional and ever in control. Still, she exudes just enough warmth to charm even the most jaded cops and hardened perps.
Q Score: 27; Familiarity: 77
Helen Hunt endeared herself to television audiences in the Yuppie sitcom “Mad About You.” Since then, she’s made “Twister,” “Cast Away” and “Pay It Forward.” She won an Oscar for her role as a struggling waitress opposite Jack Nicholson in “As Good As It Gets” in 1998.
SOURCE: MARKETING EVALUATIONS INC., THE Q SCORES COMPANY, MANHASSET, N.Y.