[Editor’s note: For the next two Fridays, Flavorwire will be counting down our 20 most popular features of 2010. This post, which originally ran on May 11, 2010, comes in at position number 13.] Every year, we remind ourselves not to take the Maxim Hot 100 seriously, and yet every year we end up spending a little bit too long puzzling over it. This year’s edition brought a number of mysteries: How did Amanda Bynes get to be 23 years old already? Who is iJustine? Katy Perry is really the sexiest lady the magazine could find?
But overall, the list was predictable: It just wasn’t particularly diverse, in terms of the ages, races, and body types. Swimsuit and lingerie models were wildly overrepresented. And you know what? We think we could do better. After the jump, we present an alternative top 10. Weigh in with your picks in the comments.
10. The All-American Girl
Maxim picked: Swimsuit model Marisa Miller
Our pick: Let’s forget, for a moment, that the idea of the wholesome, blonde all-American girl is sort of offensive to every American girl that doesn’t fit that ideal. Working within those constraints, we’re going with Amanda Seyfried, a soap opera and CSI alum who has about a million movies just out or in production while holding her own with some of TV’s best actresses on the maddeningly addictive Big Love.
9. The Reality TV Star
Maxim picked: Kim Kardashian
Our pick: Project Runway‘s Maya Luz. We considered giving up on the show when Maya abruptly dropped out midway through last season. We loved her modern designs and Bettie Page bangs, and we were pretty sure she could have gone all the way. But after a look at her new accessories collection, we’re confident we haven’t seen the last of her.
8. The Hot Geek
Maxim picked: G4’s Attack of the Show! host Olivia Munn
Our pick: Blogger and space geek Ariel Waldman. This lady pretty much runs the nerdosphere, from her Engadget sci-fi column to her cupcake obsession to Spacehack.org, a site that helps geeks get involved with space exploration. And, um, did we mention she’s worked for NASA?
7. The Italian Stallionette
Maxim picked: Mediterranean It Girl and George Clooney arm candy Elisabetta Canalis
Our pick: Isabella Rossellini. This multi-talented actress and director is the daughter of one of Italy’s most important filmmakers and the BFF/muse of one of our favorite filmmakers, Guy Maddin. And despite her busy career, she finds time for series like Green Porno and Seduce Me , which explore the endlessly bizarre and fascinating world of animals’ sex lives. We also happen to think that she’s as gorgeous pushing 60 as she was back in the ’70s.
6. The Tough-Girl Rapper
Maxim picked: Rihanna
Our pick: While we’re long-time fans of Rihanna, we’d like to see some up and coming talent make Maxim’s list. And that’s why we’re going with Rye Rye, a manic, breakout Baltimore club star and day-glo clothing enthusiast. If that isn’t enough of an endorsement, she’s also a protégé of M.I.A. Download their full-frontal assault of a collaboration, “Bang,” here.
5. The Movie Star
Maxim picked: Megan Fox
Our pick: You might call Rebecca Hall the thinking man’s (or woman’s) Megan Fox. She, too, is a beautiful, long-haired brunette, but thankfully you won’t have to sit through duds like Transformers or Jennifer’s Body to see her. Instead, Hall takes roles in Oscar Wilde adaptations, Woody Allen films (good ones, even!), and acclaimed political period pieces.
4. The Gossip Girl
Maxim picked:Blake Lively
Our pick: Jessica Szohr. Now, we are not fans of Gossip Girl‘s whiny Vanessa, either, but take away that earnest-boho styling and Szohr (whose beauty flies almost totally under the radar on the show) gives even dream-girl Serena a run for her money.
3. The Rising Starlet
Maxim picked: Zoe Saldana
Our pick: We have to admit that Saldana is a hard pick to beat. So we’re going to left field for this one. When we saw Lizzy Caplan in Hot Tub Time Machine, we couldn’t quite place her. She looked so familiar… and then we realized where we knew her from. Remember funny freakazoid Janis Ian from Mean Girls? Well, that’s her! All grown up and playing a mischievous rock journalist and John Cusack love interest. Upgrade!
2. The Brooklynite
Maxim picked: Brooklyn Decker
Our pick: All right, so Brooklyn Decker isn’t exactly a borough fixture. But when you rock that name, you’re repping the greatest city-within-a-city in the world… and we’re not convinced that the word “Brooklyn” should be synonymous with “swimsuit model.” And while there are literally hundreds of awesome, adorable, artsy women we could tap as the face of Brooklyn, right now we’re really feeling Alexis Krauss of buzztastic duo Sleigh Bells. Download their new summer-jam single “Tell ‘Em” here.
1. The Brunette Songstress
Maxim picked: Katy Perry
Our pick: Sharon Jones is one tough woman. At 54, the Dap-Kings singer has worked as a prison guard at Rikers Island. When she titles an album I Learned the Hard Way — and belts out the lyrics to its eponymous lead single — you know she’s speaking from experience. She may not be on the cover of Maxim any time soon, but as far as we’re concerned, that’s pretty hot.