BOITY Thulo is the greatest in the land, even greater than Lady Gaga.
After thousands of votes, Heat magazine readers chose the actress and TV presenter as their favourite celebrity.
The 10th annual Heat Hot 100 poll is seen as a celebrity popularity test and for the first time, the top three are South Africans, leaving Lady Gaga to pick up the fourth place slot. Former Idols winner Elvis Blue came second and actress Minnie Dlamini followed.
Thulo, who wasn’t even on last year’s list, took the poll position following her spike in fame after appearing on local soapies like Rockville and 4Play: Sex Tips for Girls.
Her escalating popularity has earned her more than 160 000 Facebook friends and more than 180 000 followers on Twitter.
“To everyone who voted for me, I want to thank you whole-heartedly,” said Thulo. “This means the world to me! You have no idea!”
The 23-year-old heard the news from her manager, Lorinda Voges.
“I kept saying to her, ‘are you sure?’ Once I realised it was true, I was overwhelmed with intense emotions of excitement,” she said.
“I couldn’t believe it! This is huge!”
Some of the previous poll position holders include Brad Pitt, Ryk Neethling, Victoria Beckham, Johnny Depp and Oscar Pistorius.
Heat magazine editor André Neveling said Thulo’s style and humility make her approachable and likeable.
“Boity’s bubbly personality is infectious, so it’s no wonder her rise to fame has been so fast,” said Neveling.
Neveling said Thulo gathered a massive fan base in a short space of time, which supported her in the poll.
“I only asked my Facebook and Twitter followers to please vote for me once, as I didn’t want to be a pest about it,” said Thulo.
“Clearly I have the most incredible fans as they certainly rose to the party! I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude.”
She plans to focus on her acting career.
Forty of the top 100 celebrities were South African and 55 new celebrities made it on to the list.