In a selection that caps off a whirlwind year for the transgender reality star, Caitlyn Jenner has been named Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating Person of 2015.
“Our choice for the most fascinating person of the year was once called the world’s greatest athlete,” Walters announced. “Traditionally that title was given to the man who won the Olympic decathalon. When Bruce Jenner won it in 1976, it was a huge accomplishment that had everybody talking. But it was nothing like this. When Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner, there was a seismic shift in the gender universe.”
The annual special -- which spotlighted Amy Schumer, Tracy Morgan, and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders among other celebs Walters dubbed “most fascinating” -- showcased Jenner’s transition, her reality show, I Am Cait, and the various honors that the transgender reality star has received throughout the year as she “transformed society.”
“She was a lightning rod for criticism,” Walters said of the 66-year-old reality star. “First, for the [Arthur Ashe] Courage Award that ESPN gave her. Then for the glamourous style of her transition. But Caitlyn’s celebrity brought new attention to the grim reality of life for many transgendered people.”
While Jenner didn’t sit down with Walters for an interview, the special celebrated Jenner’s ongoing efforts to educate herself and enact change for the transgender community, including footage from her acceptance speech at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards in November.
"Over this last six months, it has been the most eye-opening experience of my life," Caitlyn said at the ceremony, looking glamorous in a royal blue Moschino gown and elegant updo. "For years and years I never felt like I fit in anywhere. I always felt as an outsider. I never felt good in the male side, and I wasn't obviously in the female side. I was kind of stuck in the middle."
"But all of a sudden after making this decision and coming out, it was by far the best thing I ever did," she continued. "Maybe this is why God put me on this earth -- to tell my story, to be authentic to myself about who I am. And maybe in doing that, maybe you can make a difference in the world. What a great opportunity in life to have. So few of us ever get to have that opportunity."