An Alternative Top 10 Beauties of the 20th Century


Who was the most beautiful woman of the 20th century? According to a poll conducted by QVC, of all places, it was Audrey Hepburn. What’s interesting about the survey is that its respondents were 2,000 women, rather than, say, whoever puts together Maxim’s Hot 100 — and given QVC’s audience and the results, we have to assume that they reflect an older demographic. So, while we generally find the ladies’ choices solid, we couldn’t help imagining who we might have picked, given the opportunity. Our alternative top 10 is after the jump.

10. The girl next door

The people’s choice: Jennifer Aniston

Our pick: Leslie Mann. We get the idea that most people love Aniston (Team Jen!) or hate her (probably for Friends). Personally, we just think she’s overexposed. Leslie Mann, however, is a breath of fresh air, a comic actress who’s always subtle and likable (and pretty, but that goes without saying). Her marriage to dude icon Judd Apatow solidifies her status as a fun, down-to-earth, regular lady who just happens to be beautiful.

9. The British cover girl

The people’s choice: Kelly Brook

Our pick: Karen Elson. There are lots of gorgeous models out there. In fact, we hear it’s kind of a job requirement. But Elson is one of the few who actually seems awesome. She’s a co-founder of the fantastic Citizens Band cabaret troupe, married to none other than Jack White, and an accomplished musician in her own right.

8. The crusader

The people’s choice: Diana, Princess of Wales

Our pick: Brigitte Bardot. You may know her best as the blonde-haired, smoky-eyed ’60s sexpot, but the 75-year-old star has spent much of her later life fighting for animal rights. She even established the Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the Welfare and Protection of Animals. Now that’s hot.

7. The Academy Award winner

The people’s choice: Halle Berry

Our pick: Diane Keaton. When the actress, who is still gorgeous at 64, took home a trophy for Annie Hall in 1978, it was a victory for smart, complex female characters who also happen to look awesome in menswear.

6. The young upstart

The people’s choice: Scarlett Johansson

Our pick: Christina Ricci. Johansson may be a bigger star these days, but we’ve always loved quirky but glamorous Ricci’s predilection for challenging roles in truly offbeat films, from Buffalo ’66 and The Opposite of Sex to Pumpkin and Monster. Who says you can’t be pretty and weird?

5. The Hitchcock blonde The people’s choice:Grace Kelly

Our pick: Ingrid Bergman. Choosing between Alfred Hitchcock’s leading ladies is like being forced to select your favorite Matisse painting: They’re all masterpieces! But only one captured the hearts of cinema lovers around the world in Casablanca, quite possibly the most romantic film of all time. Plus, Bergman’s Hitchock films, Spellbound and Notorious, are two of our favorites.

4. Dark and mysterious The people’s choice:Angelina Jolie

Our pick: Lauryn Hill. There is only one Angelina Jolie, but we find her brother kisser-to-mama superior transformation far less captivating than Hill’s journey from well-earned fame and critical worship to maybe-crazy recluse. And though she always looked awesome, whether she chose braids or a close crop, we are particularly fond of the Angela Davis-style Afro she used to rock. Since she has been performing a bit lately, and recently granted NPR an interview, we’re hoping she’s finally ready to make a comeback.

3. The blonde bombshell The people’s choice:Marilyn Monroe

Our pick: Debbie Harry. There is simply no one cooler than this Playboy bunny-turned-New Wave queen. If it happened in New York’s ’70s underground, she was there. No one rocks a leopard-print dress quite like Debbie. And the lady who gave Blondie its name is still hot.

2. The triple threat The peoples’ choice:Cheryl Cole

Our pick: Marlene Dietrich. This goddess of Hollywood’s golden age could sing, dance, and act but has also become one of the last century’s most enduring fashion icons. The bisexual beauty is said to have conducted affairs with everyone from Greta Garbo to Edith Piaf. And she didn’t make a bad-looking drag king, either.

1. The picture of elegance The people’s choice:Audrey Hepburn

Our pick: Faye Wong. Of course, Audrey is hard to beat. But we think this Chinese actress/model/musician — who Americans will know from the wonderful Wong Kar-wai films Chungking Express and 2046 — is the living embodiment of grace, poise, and style.