My Quest for Icon Status

Elvis-blog-photoWhat is an icon?  Who is an icon?  How can I become an icon?

With the upcoming opening of American Icons, I wondered what the qualifications are to be an icon.  Can I be an icon?  Do I have what it takes?  If I start tomorrow, can I make icon status before the end of the year?

I decided to do a little internet surfing to see if I could find answers to my questions, and what it would take for me to become an icon.

There were lots of opinions on what and who an icon is.  The consensus was that an icon can be a symbol, picture, name, face, person, building, image or period of history that is readily recognized and represents an object or concept with great cultural significance or special status.  Hmmm … this may take a little doing on my part.

How to Become an Icon

In my search to find out how to become an icon, I think the best tips came from wikiHow

  • Follow your dreams; don’t listen to other people
  • Put yourself out there and do what you want
  • Do a lot to get yourself known
  • Set trends and trademarks for yourself
  • Be original, be inspiring and be inspired
  • Again, this may take a little effort … do I have to leave the comfort of my shady deck?

I realized that for me to be the best icon I could be, I’d need to find out who is considered an icon, and learn from them.  So, with the help of my trusty lounge chair and internet, I gathered a little information that would help me on my quest for true icon status.  Here’s what I found …

The Top 10 Musical Icons of the Last Century

From Hub Pages – May 25, 2011

1– The Beatles
2 – Elvis Presley
3 – Bob Dylan
4 – The Rolling Stones
5 – Led Zeppelin
6 – Jimi Hendrix
7 – Chuck Berry
8 – Aretha Franklin
9 – Michael Jackson
10 – The Who

The Top 10 Sports Icons of All Time

From Sports-Kings – June 5, 2012

1 – Michael Jordan (Basketball)
2 – Muhammad Ali (Boxing)
3 – Babe Ruth (Baseball)
4 – Pele (Soccer)
5 – Wayne Gretzky (Hockey)
6 – Vince Lombardi (Football)
7 – Hulk Hogan (Wrestling)
8 – Jack Nicklaus (Golf)
9 – Dale Earnhardt (Auto Racing)
10 – Arthur Ashe (Tennis)

The Top 10 Pop Culture Icons of the Past 50 Years

From The New York Daily News – June 15, 2010

1 – Elvis Presley
2 – Madonna
3 – Frank Sinatra
4 – Marilyn Monroe
5 – Michael Jackson
6 – Muhammad Ali
7 – Oprah Winfrey
8 – The Beatles
9 – Princess Diana
10 – Paul Newman

You can decide whether you agree with the names on these lists and their placement, but it’s undeniable that each has certainly made their mark on the world.  I may be a few years behind these folks, but I’m going to do my best to be an icon by year’s end.

On second thought, maybe I’ll just sit back, relax with another whoopie pie, and let them handle it!


– Donna

Donna Haefner is a member of American Music Theatre’s Marketing Department.  She can be reached at