Long before men’s magazines like FHM and Maxim came along, Esquire was providing some terrific content. From top notch articles to looking at politics and pop culture, the magazine was established in 1933 and continued with a bold and irreverent look at culture since. It was in the 1990s that the magazine truly began embracing its male audience, mostly through photo shoots involving some of the hottest women alive. It’s not just on the covers, as each issue features a “woman we love,” a young starlet who’s on the rise and often becomes an even bigger name down the road. Since 2004, the magazine has added to it with their pick of “The Sexiest Woman Alive,” which can cause some discussion.
No matter how they’re featured, the women (especially in the last decade) have been featured in some of the flat-out sexiest and steamiest photo shoots of any magazine. Many are featured with as little clothing as possible but it’s really the way they shine that makes this stand out so well. The sultry looks, the smiles, the great bodies and faces, Esquire has a talent for taking an already sexy woman and making her look utterly irresistible. Every single year brings plenty of spreads that can qualify but here are the best. The 25 hottest and sexiest women to be featured in Esquire and how they truly have a knack of highlighting women we love.
25. Penelope Cruz
It’s no shock Cruz would earn “Sexiest Woman Alive” honors as the sultry Spanish Oscar-winner has been rocking moviegoers for years. Naturally, her shoot involved showing off her fantastic legs and ample chest, mostly covered by a tight swimsuit. Her lush dark hair framing her perfect face, Cruz was a perfect choice for the title and the spread proved how any outfit can make her one of the hottest women to ever grace the magazine.
24. Priyanka Chopra
A major star in her native India, Chopra found fame in the U.S. in 2015 as star of the hit ABC thriller Quantico. Engaging in hot sex scenes along with tough action, Chopra won over major fans and Esquire highlighted her in their “Women We Love” feature. Chopra cut a bit looser for it, photographed in a swimsuit that was a mesh top and thong, showing off in heels and that sultry smile on display. It wasn’t as all-out as other spreads but the fantastic appeal of Chopra made it a standout spread and another notch in her rise to fame in the U.S.
23. Charlize Theron
Theron had a few Esquire spreads in her rise to fame when she was known as basically a sexy gal with an affinity for taking off her clothes in her movies. The spreads could be notable like black and white of her in just white shirt and panties to show that appeal off. Theron has actually gotten hotter since winning an Oscar and named “Sexiest Woman Alive” in 2007. Her latest spread in 2015 was the best, clad in a black dress to show her nice cleavage off and the mix of beauty and power that’s made her roles in Mad Max and other movies so notable. It’s hard to find a non-sexy photo of Charlize, but her Esquire ones are among the best.
22. Mila Kunis
Another choice for “Sexiest Woman Alive,” Kunis earned the honor in 2012 and the actress shone in the spread. Dressed in just black bra and panties, leaning on a wall, Kunis showed off the sultry minx that became a TV and movie starlet, adding a leather jacket to enhance the picture. More notable was the sight of her in skintight leather pants, her chest covered by arms and a “come hither” glance at the camera to spark it up. Small in size, Kunis proved she has it where it counts and her spread showing how well she earned her title.
21. Krysten Ritter
Notable for her dark hair, sardonic attitude and great comic timing, Ritter has broken out in various small movies and now a major star with the Netflix hit Jessica Jones. In 2012, she was starring in the short-lived but acclaimed sitcom Don’t Trust The B— and did a spread for Esquire notable for sitting on a motorcycle in black bodysuit, stockings and knee-high boots. The rest had her lounging on a bed as well as walking about her home in bra and panties with a glass of wine in hand. It summed up Ritter perfectly, the party girl with a sexy side but also relatable and why she’s become a sardonic sex symbol for TV viewers.
20. Cameron Diaz
Diaz has done a few shoots for the magazine over the years since her breakout in 1994 and a fun spread in 1998 too. The best has to be for 2014, Diaz standing in a black swimsuit, her long legs on display in heels with the headline “Nobody is better than Cameron Diaz. Nobody.” She did her best to live up to that in the spread showing off a still toned body as knockout as when she debuted, talking about her first ever nude scene in Sex Tape and proving that no matter the role, Diaz had sex appeal to spare and Esquire genius bringing it to bold light.
19. Amanda Seyfried
Many have joked over how crazy it is someone as hot as Seyfried has been cast as “the geek” in several movies like Jennifer’s Body. That was just made clear by her spread for the magazines in 2009, clad in dark bra and panties with thigh-high boots and blonde hair flowing around her. Better was the nearly sheer body stocking she wore that looked amazing hot on her. With those deep eyes gazing out and the great rocking of the outfit, Seyfried proved she’s no “geek” to be sure but a sex goddess in her own way.
18. Carla Gugino
A veteran of movies and TV, Gugino is still remembered for the too-short lived Karen Sisco and memorable nude turns in Sin City and other films before her current role on the Showtime series Roadies. Her Esquire shoot showcased that amazing body on full display, lounging around in lingerie and a bright smile to highlight her gorgeous face. A memorable shot had her lying face front on her bed naked except for heels and how she’s not an A-list talent, but Gugino has more sex appeal than women half her age and knows how to use it.
17. Jenna Dewan-Tatum
A backup dancer for various music videos, Dewan got her acting break in the first Step Up movie which also led to her meeting future husband Channing Tatum. Since then, she’s been a popular TV face with Witches of East End and Supergirl and her spread showcased her lithe form on full display. The tight black corset and long stockings were nice to see and a purple bra and panties set also helped out. Dewan showcased how dancers have great form and this was a nice one to see lounging on a bed.
16. Christina Hendricks
The Mad Men star has long been a favorite due to her amazing mix of looks. The lush dark red hair, those piercing eyes and of course, the body highlighted by a chest that strains every single dress she wears. The cover of her issue featured her in a gorgeous black dress on a red background and the inside was just as hot, showing her lounging in an outside trailer, pushing up her chest, flaunting her rear and underrated legs. Even without showing major skin, the spread was a knockout as Hendricks proved how redheads really are something special.
15. Lucy Lawless
The star of Xena Warrior Princess was hailed from the beginning for her amazing body with nice chest and rear and showing it off in action scenes. Her Esquire spread played into that with Lawless dressed like a dominatrix in tight black outfits and even holding a crop with a dark look on her face. The actress would doff it all for the hit Spartacus series, but this showed that no matter her outfit, this was a woman who promised a little pain with her pleasure.
14. Kiera Knightley
Once called “the sexiest tomboy beanpole on the planet,” Kiera Knightley has transformed from that to a truly sexy actress in her own right. A 2014 spread for the U.S. version of the magazine had her in just shorts and a jacket, her short hair showing her attitude as a tomboy off well. However, a spread for the U.K. version proved Knightley is far better as a pure sexpot from lounging on a bed to the stunning pic of her in a tight latex suit and gloves going nearly to her shoulders. Both combine to show how Knightley is hot in any form and capable of stunning readers on both sides of the Atlantic.
13. Lake Bell
She’s not the A-list name as others on this list, but Lake Bell has the looks to match them. The star of shows like Childrens’ Hospital, Bell has a great comic timing and her Esquire spread showcased her fantastic stunning body to boot. The cover featured her kneeling in dark hose, arms crossed over her bare chest and tossing a “come hither” look at the camera. The inside spread was just as good with her in just a jacket and showing off those great legs. With this spread, Bell proved herself one of the most underrated hotties on the planet and the magazine should be credited giving her more attention.
12. Sofia Vergara
Few covers are as eye-catching as the sight of the Modern Family star in a tight black corset and the word “SEX” in bold type below her. Sofia Vergara has been notable for a while for her fantastic curves, that ample chest matched by an equally great bottom and the long dark hair framing a gorgeous face. The spread showed that off nicely with her in heels and black lingerie and a bright smile to showcase the smouldering hot sex appeal that’s made her a lady way too hot for ABC to handle.
11. Emilia Clarke
Emilia Clarke has joked it’s easy to go around in public as people don’t recognize her as much without the blonde wig she wears for Game of Thrones. Named the “Sexiest Woman Alive” in 2015, Clarke showcased that even without the full nudity of her show, she could live up to that title. Clad in very little skimpy outfits, she lounged on a bed, a few shots having her naked under the covers and the black and white motif gave the spread a great sexy noir air. Clarke proved she doesn’t need HBO to be a hot sex symbol and no matter her hair or clothing (or lack thereof) she could lay claim to the sexy title.
10. Megan Fox
While a bit brutal, it’s true that Fox has been more famous off her amazing body than any real acting talent. However, it’s quite the body, almost like a young Angelina Jolie with full lips, tattoos and incredible curves. For her Esquire shoot, Fox loved to flash it off, a coat over lacy bra and panties, balancing on heels and acting like she’d just woken up with a men’s shirt over underwear. The shots of her in a tight swimsuit were just as hot and Fox showcases she knows where her talents lie and able to show it off well.
9. Emmy Rossum
On her Showtime series Shameless, Emmy Rossum has proven she lives up to that title wonderfully. The series has given her plenty of opportunities to go naked and in wild sex scenes that “show how it really is” a lot. Thus, you’d think she’d be a little less hot clothed, but her 2013 shoot disproved that idea. From a pink bikini to dancing in her panties, Rossum showed off well, especially the shot of her in just torn stockings or a leather coat and thong. With her dark hair framing that lovely face, Rossum showed that no matter what clothes she does (or doesn’t) wear, she can be a truly shameless sexy icon.
8. Heidi Klum
Wild as the U.S. version of Esquire can be, the UK version can be even racier as England has less restrictions than the States. Thus, supermodel/TV host Heidi Klum was able to really go all out, including appearing on the cover naked, her red-stocking covered legs bent to cover herself. The interior pics were just as hot with Klum in a long coat and panties and then even lee, the blonde hair matched by black thigh-high boots and a nice smile. Biggest was a photo of her kneeling in nothing but black gloves to show off that killer rear end well. It was a bit racy by U.S. standards but perfect to show how hot this Heidi can truly be.
7. Katy Perry
The hit songstress has always used her fantastic body to get ahead as seen in numerous videos. It’s thus no surprise her Esquire spread would be damn impressive. Clad in black clothing to match her jet-black hair, Katy Perry flaunted her legs in hose, some skimpy tight bustiers and a great shot of her in just black shorts with hands covering her ample breasts. It was a knockout spread, showcasing how Perry’s sex appeal is as fantastic as her singing voice and teasing readers with a great showcase for both on display.
6. Scarlett Johansson
As the only two-time “Sexiest Woman Alive” winner, Johansson is naturally a favorite for the magazine. The most famous is the photo of her in a tight white shirt and jean shirts, flashing that very nice cleavage. Even hotter is the shot of her in a men’s shirt with black bra peeking out and in a desert with long coat over red bra. That was made even sexier by the look Johansson had, those smouldering eyes and a light smile that added to her stunning presence. No wonder she’s taken the title twice as she more than lives up to the mantra of Sexiest Woman Alive in any year.
5. Rachel Weisz
After various small roles in forgettable films, Rachel Weisz shot to stardom as sexy librarian turned action girl Evie in The Mummy films, making her an A-list star in both Hollywood and England. She became more comfortable with her hot body on display in various spreads but a 2005 Esquire shoot was hotter than anything. Weisz posed on the cover completely naked with a snake draped over her sensitive bits and an apple in one hand. It was a definitely sinful pic that showed Weisz insanely hot and how the Oscar winner boasts as much sex appeal as her acting talent.
4. Jennifer Lawrence
It’s amazing to think that five years ago, Jennifer Lawrence was still a mostly unknown in Hollywood, fresh off her first Oscar nomination for Winter’s Bone as a woman surviving the backwoods. So she wasn’t a huge name when Esquire did a shoot with her as she prepared for X-Men First Class. Thus, this was the first sight of Lawrence’s incredible sexiness on display, clad in a variety of tight swimsuits with her wet hair thrown back and a powerful taut body on display. It was amazing and sexy as hell and would show the same heat Lawrence brought as she rocketed to an A-list Oscar winning star. Thus, Esquire can be credited with the first sign of J-Law’s future superstardom.
3. Mary-Louise Parker
With her quirky humor and attractive features, Mary-Louise Parker has been a popular face and body in various TV shows and movies before finally getting her biggest role on the Showtime hit Weeds. As a mom who gets over her head dealing weed to survive, Parker won folks over with her fun performance and doffing her clothes for some very hot scenes. Parker has shown that same lack of shame in her shoots for Esquire, several involving her in bra and panties in bed, her bright smile and laugh on full display. One famed spread had her cooking in a kitchen in just an apron with her nice rear displayed naked. She may not be as big a name as others on this list but looks hotter than so many.
2. Kim Kardashian
Kim K never met a camera she didn’t like, so it’s no surprise her appearances in Esquire (both in the States and the Mexican version) have been fantastic standouts. She’s been featured in some nice lingerie and silk robe while other ones boasting her knockout body in a skintight bathing suit. A terrific spread showed her doing the backstroke in a flesh-covered suit so you had to do a double-take to make sure it wasn’t Kim in the nude. You can make a joke of how she can be so buoyant but once more, Kardashian proves that when it comes to a sexy photo shoot, few work it as well as she does.
1. Angelina Jolie
It seems impossible to take a photo of Angelina Jolie where the woman doesn’t come off as the sexiest human being on the planet. Esquire just enhances that with photo shoots that have included Jolie in a soaking wet t-shirt and a savage grin, a sight to get anyone excited. She’s been featured in thick hose and heels but the best might be a 2007 shoot where Jolie was first featured in a dark dress, looking almost regal. Then her holding a long green sheet, the smirk on her face indicating there was nothing underneath if she chose to drop it. Few women are more capable of holding the line “Sexiest Woman Alive” like Angelina and Esquire has helped claim that title quite nicely.