It’s time to finish out this list, working our way toward the proletariat top! For all the background and whatnot, see the previous entry.
50. Zooey Deschanel
The star of New Girl, recently-deposed stand-in for the concept of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl1.
Presence On The Actual Top One Hundred (POTATOH): yes
What Does it All Mean (WDIAM): The world seemed to really have turned on ol Zooey, especially circa that awful iPhone commercial. But the woman-ogling public has a short memory for annoyance.
1 Nathan Rabin has sworn off using the term because of its eventual misuse at the hands of the lazy. I have not, because I feel that it’s the correct term for the job, and will not allow the nattering nabobs of negativity to claim a term that is perfectly useful when not abused.
49. Alexandra Daddario
Still the most memorable part of True Detective, also in The Rock vs. a Giant Earthquake, coming soon to a theater near you.
WDIAM: I cannot explain what it means. It probably means that the people at Maxim aren’t interested in helping to promote The Rock Punches Shifting Tectonic Plates Right in the Face, but that’s not really an excuse.
48. Natalie Dormer
She was on The Tudors then she was on Game of Thrones. Clearly she’s working in a motif, here.
WDIAM: Early in this process, I wondered if there would be enough difference between the lists to justify pointing out the ones that weren’t on there. Then I assumed that I was blinded by my own preferences but no, this is just a really baffling set of decisions, I guess? Just baffling.
47. Shailene Woodley
She was in The I Can’t Believe I Have to Type This Stupid Title Again In Our Stars, White Bird in a Blizzard and the –Gent movies.
WDIAM: There may be an age gap thing happening? I don’t have hard demographic information about any of the things I’m about to type, but it makes sense as a theory, and this is a blog, not an academic journal, so bear with me. Natalie Dormer, Alexandra Daddario and Shailene Woodley are all predominantly in properties that have a younger-skewing, internet-borne audience, who are more likely to be among the internet voters (because of their overall higher internet use) than magazine readers. Thus, if there is a demographic appeal component of the magazine/readers’ choice component, Shailene (or Natalie or Alexandra or, reaching back a bit, Iggy Azalea or Suki Waterhouse2) is probably easier to cut, since the people that voted online are less likely to buy the print magazine in favor of whomever was included instead. Of course, the whole thing is made complicated by the fact that we’re talking about an advertiser-supported corporate idea of human attractiveness that includes actual people with aesthetic and/or sexual preferences, which are two things that are difficult to reconcile with each other.
2 this does not, you’ll notice, negate my earlier judgment w/r/t philistinehood and Emmy Rossum and Lizzy Caplan. Thank you.
46. Behati Prinsloo
Underwear model. Recently married Adam Levine.
WDIAM: That Maxim endorses having terrible taste in spouses
45. Eva Mendes
Perennial Maxim Hot 100 presence.
WDIAM: More than almost any actress, Eva Mendes is either completely unable to read a script, or simply has an unerring eye for entertainingly terrible movies. She has been in some absolute bad-movie-night classics (Ghost Rider, The Spirit, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans3, The Women), and she usually comes off pretty well. Thus I feel like people remember her as being better than she actually is. Or, rather, than she might could be, but I don’t know, because I’ve only seen her in terrible movies (and Training Day), and everyone looks alright next to Samuel L. Jackson’s Octopus.
3 this writer would like to remind the audience that that is the actual punctuation in the title of this movie.
44. Jourdan Dunn
The first black British model to make the Forbes list of top-earning models.
WDIAM: Being in a couple of Beyonce videos makes the Maxim-voting public really appreciate you.
43. Dianna Agron
The blonde girl from Glee
WDIAM: Between Dianna Agron and Allison Brie I think we’re learning that Maxim voters appreciate you more when your show dies, but you will receive no quarter from the editorial staff.
42. Dakota Johnson
Kate from Ben and Kate. Anastasia Steele from 50 Shades of Grey.
WDIAM: that secretly, deep down, everybody wants to fuck Don Johnson.
41. Lily Aldridge
Sports Illustrated swimsuit model who is also an underwear model. Married to a King of Leon.
WDIAM: That if you had told me in 2002 that one of the Kings of Leon would marry a successful swimsuit/underwear model I would have thought that the future you arrived from was a crazy place that made no sense. The fact that the future is a crazy place that makes no sense is cold comfort.
Oh come on. You know who Beyonce is.
WDIAM: That the Maxim offices are in danger of running afoul of the Beygency
39. Deutzen Kroes
WDIAM: that people also turn up for ex-underwear models.
38. Emilia Clarke
Danaerys Stormborn of the House Targaryan, the First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons
WDIAM: Since most of her time as a visible presence is in character, there really must be something to this prominent-eyebrow thing.
37. Angelina Jolie
Activist, actress, apparent weirdo.
WDIAM: Some things are just eternal.
36. Alice Eve
She was the biologist in Star Trek Into Darkness.
WDIAM: It means she was the gratuitously-undressing biologist in Star Trek Into Darkness
35. Rachel McAdams
Rachel McAdams is flawless. I hear her hair is insured for $10,000. I hear she does car commercials….in Japan. Her favorite movie is Varsity Blues. One time she met John Stamos on a plane…and he told her she was pretty. One time she punched me in the face. It was awesome.
WDIAM: How cool does Rachel McAdams look in the trailers for season 2 of True Detective? She looks so cool. I bet that’s what it means.
34. Rosie Huntington-Whitely
Victoria’s Secret model who replaced Megan Fox in a Transformers movie.
WDIAM: I have not run the numbers4, but RH-W went from not being on this list, to topping this list, to not being on this list in four years, which seems to me to be about the right time for a non-outlier. I may, in fact, do some research to see if that’s true. If it is, that seems just about right, and it seems even further to be exactly in line with what seems to make sense that she’d stick around in the public memory for a bit longer than that.
4 I am, actually, not a statistician.
33. Vanessa Hudgens
Formerly in High School Musical, now appearing in Gigi on Broadway
WDIAM: The love of former child stars on the part of Maxim voters is pretty well-established.
32. Kendall Jenner
Model. Reality show fixture.
WDIAM: It takes some doing to untangle the public’s relationship with the Jenner/Kardashians. Kendall has grown up on tv, which is some points. She also looks like a Kardashian, which is obviously worth points, as at least one (and often more) has appeared on this list for the last several years continuously. She’s the most recent one to turn 18, which is weird, but probably a factor. Basically there is not time enough in the day to figure this out, except to say that she’s the Kardashian Jenner you can ogle in public without explanation.
WDIAM: Maxim’s list of singers tilts somewhat toward the less-established (chart monsters Rihanna, Katy Perry, Beyonce and Nicki Minaj aren’t in there). I guess the idea is that younger readers are more interested in, say, Tinashe or Charli XCX, and maybe that’s true. It’s also probably a function of allotting a certain number of spaces to “singers.” I also wonder how much of the inclusion of Taylor Swift means keeping away from the higher-charting ladies to avoid pulling focus.
30. Lucy Hale
She won American Juniors. She’s on Pretty Little Liars.
WDIAM: I had completely forgotten about American Juniors! Also: I really liked the remake of The Bionic Woman, and I’m sad that it both lasted for, like, two seconds and also isn’t streaming anywhere.
29. Amanda Seyfried
She’s kinda psychic. It’s like she has a f….oh wait. I already did Mean Girls? Well, shit.
WDIAM: Between Lizzy, Rachel and Amanda, it means that Mean Girls was a long time ago, and that just can’t get any play for anybody in the Maxim offices.
28. Lana Del Rey
Singer who took her name from a car and not, as I had thought, a science fiction book publisher.
WDIAM: It means that people who are telling us what’s attractive were apparently paying much closer attention to David Lynch’s masturbatory fantasies than I would’ve thought.
27. Victoria Justice
She was on Figure it Out as a contestant! She was born in Hollywood, Florida and moved to Hollywood, California! She’s on Nickelodeon5! Or was, anyway.
WDIAM: It means, seriously, former child stars are big business. And there’s a higher concentration of them as we move further up the list, which is probably deeply unsettling, but I promise to stop thinking about it.
5 this is entirely me, I realize, but I have to look her up every time because I’m forever getting her and Jenette McCurdy mixed up in my head. They don’t even look remotely alike, I just can’t ever remember which is which.
26. Elsa Hosk
WDIAM: that being a Scandinavian model/athlete will launch you almost into the top quartile among the masses, but buys you nothing with the editors.
25. Ashley Benson
She is another of the Pretty Little Liars. She was also a Spring Breaker with fellow list-appearers Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens.
WDIAM: Ashley Benson has worked a lot. She’s been in a ton of things. So what it means is probably that if you work a whole bunch, you’ll be in front of enough people that many of them will, by popular vote, declare you attractive.
24. Ariana Grande
Scream-singing former Nickelodeon star.
WDIAM: that secretly, deep down, everybody wants to fuck a giant, walking, caterwauling ponytail
23. Irina Shayk
Another Sports Illustrated swimsuit model
WDIAM: She was pretty memorable in The Rock Punches Ancient Greece, which I believe was released in theaters under its working title, Hercules.
22. Alessandria Ambrosio
She hasn’t had plastic surgery since she was a kid and suffered a botched ear-pinning job6. That somehow did not deter her from being an underwear (and every other kind of) model.
WDIAM: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
6 I was full-on not prepared to learn about the existence of ear-pinning surgery, let alone that it can also be botched. Jesus.
21. Amber Heard
Another bad-movie-night fixture (Drive Angry, 3 Days to Kill, Machete Kills), Amber Heard is equally into Ayn Rand and charity, which seems like it should be difficult to reconcile, but also seems to work for her.
WDIAM: John Carpenter raved about her acting skills. I mean, that doesn’t say anything about her placement on this list, but that’s pretty impressive in and of itself. The real problem is that I can’t think of a single thing to say here. She’s pretty. Seems on the ball. Seems like she should be on this list. And indeed she is.
20. Miranda Kerr
WDIAM: As we get closer to the top, we find that the discrepancies between the two lists are represented by a bell-curve type situation: a bunch of adherence at the bottom (where the selections are due, probably, to recent prominence and publicity, which is a benefit to the memories of the voters and the magazine’s publishing goals) and a bunch at the top (where the consensus would dictate the most attractive women in both places would be). What it really means is that it’s difficult to form an argument against, really. Miranda Kerr, like Amber Heard, certainly seems to belong here.
19. Kristin Kreuk
CW stalwart and erstwhile Chun Li.
WDIAM: It means you can pretty much spend forever in the adoring arms of the CW audience.
18. Shay Mitchell
Yet another cast member of Pretty Little Liars
WDIAM: Everybody loves looking at the cast of Pretty Little Liars
17. Margot Robbie
She was on Neighbours, which apparently is required to spit forth a woman who makes these lists every few years. She was also in The Wolf of Wall Street, and is probably going to disappoint us all as Harley Quinn in the Suicide Squad movie. Well, she’s probably not going to disappoint anybody. She seems pretty good. But that movie, man. It’s going to suck.
WDIAM: Neighbours. That thing is pretty much immortal.
16. Emma Stone
The internet’s girlfriend. In movies about mans (both Spider and Bird), very funny, raspy voice.
WDIAM: That we can all agree: Emma Stone seems like a pretty cool lady. And it’s a pretty great voice, as far as those things go.
15. Kate Upton
POTATOH: no. This is genuinely surprising to me.
14. Nina Dobrev
Now she’s on The Vampire Diaries. Before, she was on Degrassi: The Next Generation, which means she started from the exact same bottom as Drake himself.
WDIAM: that anybody, be they a Mia or a Jimmy, can make it to the top provided they start with a bunch of money, a television career, and a great smile6. Also that so many people watch The Vampire Diaries.
7 this is a feature shared by Drake (who never deploys his anymore) and Nina Dobrev (who probably often does, what with vampire shows running thick with exposed fangs), I have no idea if other Degrassi cast members possess it. Maybe that’s why they’re not as famous.
13. Jennifer Lawrence
The internet’s other girlfriend, albeit with some occasional backlash. Soon she’ll be neither Katniss Everdeen nor Raven Darkholme. She’ll probably still be working with David O. Russell, though.
POTATOH: but of course
WDIAM: There’s often a lady who is a critically and award-show acclaimed actress who also makes “hot ladies” lists, and Jennifer Lawrence is the current iteration. It’s like a hole that always needs to be filled. I realize I’m not saying anything new here, but sometimes the simplest explanation is the best one.
12. Scarlett Johansson
She’s Black Widow. Last year she was also Lucy. She was the creepy alien thing from Under the Skin.
WDIAM: She’s everywhere, and also she looks exactly like Scarlett Johansson.
11. Mila Kunis
She was in Jupiter Ascending. She’s been the voice of Meg Griffin for a billion years.
WDIAM: That the editors of Maxim really have no use for you if you’re not actively promoting something new, apparently. Even if the voters think you belong way up at #11.
10. Katy Perry
She thinks you’re a firework.
WDIAM: if you are the sworn enemy of the cover person, you don’t even get to make the list.
9. Jessica Alba
The second actress on this list who has been cast as Sue Storm. Forbes just ran an article about how she’s made a ton of money selling organic products through her company, Honest. (Honest is the name of her company. I’m not assuring you of the truth value of that statement.)
WDIAM: That all the economic success in the world doesn’t help when it’s time to decide if you’re worthy of Maxim-approved hotness, no matter how many of the voters think otherwise.
8. Sara Sampaio
The first Portuguese Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.
WDIAM: That Maxim’s tolerance for swimsuit models apparently runs out well before their readers’.
7. Candice Swanepoel
Last year’s Maxim Hot 100 #1.
WDIAM: That you can’t go from all to nothing in one year in the Maxim offices. Also, that “Candice” still looks like it’s spelled wrong no matter what (see #61)
6. Miley Cyrus
Former child star, singer. Controversy magnet. Frequent subject of handwringing about kids these days etc.
WDIAM: That Maxim is uninterested in taking on two highly- (and hotly-) discussed pop singers in the same issue, which seems more-or-less fair, even though it’s weird that she’s not in there at all given that she’s #6 on the voting part. Although that’s also probably part of peoples’ weird insatiable appetite for former child stars.
5. Adriana Lima
She is a highly-successful and prominent model and not, as I had previously thought, a bean.
WDIAM: That there are list-appearance benefits to being a Victoria’s Secret angel for thirteen frigging years. Seriously. That’s a long time to be a Victoria’s Secret angel. If she were a bean, it would be even more impressive, as I don’t think a bean has ever even appeared as an extra in Victoria’s Secret.
4. Emma Watson
She used to be Hermione Granger.
WDIAM: I don’t know if it’s a side-effect of deciding to publish the readers’ choice list separately, or if this was always the case, but if the popular vote can get you to #4 and you don’t appear on the editorial list at all, I feel pretty comfortable saying that the popular vote is entirely separate from whatever process Maxim uses to compile their editorial list. I would hazard the guess that part of the reason why they published the reader list separately is to free themselves from that kind of inclusion. Nevertheless, it seems pretty weird that the readers are saying “only three women do we like looking at more,” and the magazine is saying “eh, maybe more like a hundred”.
3. Selena Gomez
Taylor Swift associate, our third Spring Breaker, former child star, singer.
WDIAM: I mean, look at that list of things up there. I don’t think, given all that, that she could be any more of a shoo-in. Even if she does have an on-again off-again relationship with Justin Bieber.
2. Emily Ratajkowski
Model featured in the “Blurred Lines” video, among other things.
WDIAM: still boobs.
1. Taylor Swift
The only person selling records in 2015. Maxim editorial Hot 100 #1.
WDIAM: that secretly, deep down, everybody wants to fuck a gazelle
And that does it for this year, folks. Tune in next year when I probably make a bunch of these same jokes again, because it’s hard enough thinking of one thing to say about some of these people, let alone more than that.