Unlike other men’s magazines, Esquire has a history that doesn’t pigeonhole its focus for its readers. First released as a quarterly press run in 1933, the publication was formed by three very different men with equally diverse interests in the magazine’s future. The lack of agreement on what the magazine should focus on led to a wide variety of topics touched on by the publication. Highlighting everything from men’s fashion to political views, the readership and fan base of the magazine seemed to be all-encompassing.
As the magazine changed hands over the years and owners came and went for Esquire, the magazine continued to evolve and gain even more readers. Nowadays, it is known as one of the top men’s magazines in the world, and features some of the hottest celebrities in Hollywood. Oftentimes, men’s magazines use scantily-clad female celebrities on their covers and in their pictorial spreads to try and grab the attention of male readers, but Esquire has their own take on what is deemed eye-worthy.
From specific poses to the skimpy ensembles they choose for their models, Esquire has never shied away from pushing the boundaries in any of their photo shoots. While some celebrity starlets have chosen a more demure look, others have fully embraced their sex appeal on the pages of this historic men’s magazine. Whether it was to increase their star power or just a chance to do a shoot with a renowned photographer, some of the sexiest women in the world and biggest names in Hollywood have chosen to grace the pages of Esquire. Check out the 15 sexiest photo shoots for Esquire magazine, and see just exactly how the publication has maintained its popularity over the years.
15. Sofia Vergara
There are only a handful of actresses that are still able to compete with their younger counterparts in Hollywood, and one of them is definitely Sofia Vergara. This Colombian model turned actress has won over the hearts of viewers as the hilarious Gloria from Modern Family, but she’s also gained a fair share of fans due to her exotic and sexy looks. Recently married to Joe Manganiello, Vergara has even proven she can rein in one of the hottest (younger) actors in Hollywood. For the April 2012 issue of Esquire magazine Vergara was shot by famed photographer James White for the cover and spread. Shown posing provocatively in black lingerie, it’s hard to believe that she would be such a hot ticket item at 39-years-old. Looking better than some of the other much younger starlets in Hollywood, Vergara looks like something out of the days of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.
14. Kaley Cuoco
Kaley Cuoco is best known for her character, Penny, the super-hot neighbor that had dreams of being a Hollywood actress on the hit sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. With nine seasons into the series, a lot has changed for her and her character. Penny used to run around in nothing but sleep shorts and a tank top, but now she seems a bit more covered up after marrying Leonard and aging a bit. While Cuoco’s character may have found happiness in marriage, the same can’t be said for the newly divorced Cuoco in her own marriage. With a controversially short overall relationship and a highly publicized divorce, Cuoco has yet to have her fairytale romance in real life. Details haven’t emerged on any specific reasons behind the couple’s’ split, but one look at the October 2012 spread for Esquire Mexico and one has to question what could have possibly went wrong in the marriage. Cuoco looks unbelievably sexy in each page of the spread, including one shot that is reminiscent of a “sexy teacher” look. While her marriage may not have lasted, photos like these prove that she won’t stay single for long.
13. Minka Kelly
Minka Kelly was first introduced to audiences through her television role on Friday Night Lights, but quickly transitioned onto the big screen. She’s starred in a number of films throughout her career, including such hits as Charlie’s Angels and The Butler. Yet, many don’t remember her for her acting skills, so much as her impossibly good looks. She was named Esquire magazine’s Sexiest Woman Alive in 2010, shooting the cover for the November issue. Her photo shoot spread for the magazine was filled with a number of lingerie shots, including one with a white bra and panty set with ruffles. Yet, it was the black lingerie set shot in full color that took home the winning spot. Wearing a men’s white collared shirt, Kelly looked super-sultry in this steamy photo pose. It will be interesting to see if there are any new roles for Kelly in the future, but if not, fans can take a look back at her spread for Esquire and try to get their fill.
12. Emilia Clarke
Emilia Clarke is probably best known for her portrayal of Daenerys Targaryen on HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones. Yet she’s been able to use her success on television to allow for a more prominent role on the silver screen. By recently starring alongside Hunger Games’ actor Sam Claflin in the romance film, Me Before You, Clarke has shown audiences she’s not just the silver-haired queen we know from Game of Thrones. Showing off her more natural dark-haired look in the November 2015 issue of Esquire magazine, Clarke looked like an “Old Hollywood” starlet in every page of the spread. Named the magazine’s Sexiest Woman Alive, Clarke showed off the assets that helped get her that title. Shot in black-and-white, Clarke looks almost unrecognizable in comparison to the look she dons when portraying Daenerys. Whether you’re a fan of the show or just a fan of her, Clarke’s Esquire magazine spread was definitely worth checking out.
11. Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson has been dubbed the Sexiest Woman Alive twice by Esquire magazine. The first was back in 2006, and then again in 2013. Early hits like Match Point and The Girl with the Pearl Earring quickly put her on the map, and stellar performances like in the highly-acclaimed film, Lost in Translation, helped to earn her the respect of her peers in Hollywood. Although she is thought of as a talented actress, it can be difficult for the industry to cast her in anything that doesn’t seek to showcase her incredible beauty. Apart from the film Her, where she was only portrayed through a voice coming from an operating system, Johansson has a habit of being seen onscreen as ultra sexy. Her 2013 spread for Esquire magazine held a great balance of substance and beauty in its photographs, and actually featured a more tamped down version of sexiness than some of their other shoots. Yet, with a face and body like Scarlett Johansson’s, even the most demure photographs can’t help but leap off the page.
10. Miranda Kerr
Australian model Miranda Kerr is best known as a Victoria’s Secret model but has also become a published author and entrepreneur. Unlike some of the other Victoria’s Secret models that have been linked to numerous men in Hollywood without so much as a trip to the red carpet together, Kerr has definitely proven she is worth being taken publicly. Her marriage to Orlando Bloom ended in divorce, but the two have stayed amicable in their split and how they co-parent. Kerr is currently engaged to billionaire Snapchat co-founder/CEO, Evan Spiegel. Bloom has also seemed to move on after their split, but Kerr is the definite winner in nabbing her next billionaire husband. Esquire UK named Kerr the Sexiest Woman Alive in 2012, and it seems she still has the same phenomenal body even after giving birth. Posing ultra-provocatively and giving the ecstasy face with heels, Kerr is no slouch in the steamy department.
9. Kate Beckinsale
Kate Beckinsale has starred in a number of films throughout her career, but is best known for her role as the vampire badass in the Underworld film series. Many have criticized her for her personal life choices, since some have speculated the only reason why she coveted the Underworld role is because she was romantically involved with the director. After the conclusion of the Underworld film series, her 11-year marriage to Len Wiseman also ended. Yet, Beckinsale has seemingly reinvented herself in the film industry in the recent hit film, Love & Friendship. While she’s reaching the age where Hollywood tends to try and put actresses out to pasture, Beckinsale has maintained her stellar look. In 2009, Esquire magazine named Beckinsale the Sexiest Woman Alive, and it isn’t difficult to see why. With a self-explanatory pose, Beckinsale looks ageless in her sex appeal, and hasn’t seemed to change much in recent years.
8. Penelope Cruz
Penelope Cruz has seemed to always exude sex appeal in every role she has taken, even if it was a pirate in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series or an over-the-top character in Zoolander 2. With such an exotic beauty like Cruz at its disposal, Hollywood has made her a favorite for portraying highly sexual characters onscreen. She has played in some ultra-erotic roles, such as in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Don’t Move. Similarly, she has posed in a number of magazine spreads that have helped to flaunt off her unique and sexy look. In November 2014, Cruz was named the Sexiest Woman Alive by Esquire magazine, and posed in a few scantily-clad ensembles. There were a few favorites among the spread, but it was the black corset lingerie set that truly highlighted how fit and feminine she looked. Holding a slick throw and donning black satin, Cruz looked more than just picturesque in her spread.
7. Teresa Palmer
Teresa Palmer is a rising star in Hollywood, and has quickly gained a reputation as being the next hottest “It” girl on the silver screen. She has starred in a number of hit films throughout her career, including the cult zombie film, Warm Bodies, and the romance film The Choice. Her most recent film role is in the 2016 horror flick Lights Out, which shows that she can play in more than just a chick flick. In her rise to the top, Palmer posed for Esquire magazine in 2011 in a super-sultry spread that highlighted her sensual look. At 25-years-old, Palmer looked like the All-American girl, despite her Australian roots. By posing in black heels with a matching black lingerie set, there’s no wonder Palmer has become a favorite for blockbuster romance films. Many have likened her to a younger Naomi Watts, which is a definite compliment for this beautiful Hollywood film star.
6. Jennifer Lawrence
While magazine covers and pictorial spreads are an obvious way to provide celebrities with some publicity among the public, it is also a great way to prove to filmmakers about a starlet’s potential. Jennifer Lawrence started off her career in television, but her role on The Bill Engvall Show didn’t exactly show her off as the Sex Goddess she is today. In an effort to show the world how sexy Lawrence can truly be, she posed for a provocative shoot in a 2013 spread for Esquire magazine. Some have criticized her for not being the typical size zero as other film stars, but her Esquire spread proves that she doesn’t have to be toothpick thin to get a rise out of readers. Seen in a navy blue swimsuit and some wet and tousled hair, Lawrence looked ultra-feminine without any worry about a few extra pounds. Donning lighter hair than her Katniss Everdeen look from The Hunger Games, Lawrence proved she can look good no matter what the setting.
5. Mila Kunis
Mila Kunis is an actress that has practically grown up in front of the public eye since first first being introduced as a young teenager in That 70’s Show. Yet a lot has happened since she had her very first kiss with her then-costar Ashton Kutcher. Nowadays, her and Kutcher are a full-blown couple, and she is a doting mother. Capitalizing on her new mom status, Kunis was cast in the blockbuster hit film Bad Moms. Since she’s all grown up now, Kunis has made waves over her new provocative look. Being named Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive in 2012, Kunis posed topless and in scantily-clad ensembles for the magazine. A celebrities without makeup article was released where Kunis was highlighted, which made some in the public to question whether or not she was the right choice to be named “The Sexiest Woman Alive.” While the sans makeup photos weren’t convincing of Kunis’ worth, the photos in Esquire had more than their fair share of sex appeal.
4. Britney Spears
Britney Spears has never shied away from controversial photo shoots and videos, whether it was the bra top on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine or the nude rhinestone bodysuit in her music video. So, when she posed in a sweater, high heels, and no panties on the cover of Esquire magazine, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Yet, the photo wasn’t exactly a new concept for the magazine. In 1966, Esquire highlighted Angie Dickinson in a one-page spread that seemed shockingly sexy for the time. Dickinson can be seen wearing a pair of white high heels, a blue sweater, and nothing else with full view of the profile of her bottom. Spears copied the pose for Esquire, wearing the same white pumps but with a white sweater instead of baby blue. The photo featuring Spears is decidedly sexier, with a more tight fitting sweater; but both look pretty good for their times. Rather than posing with a super-seductive expression, Spears had a playful smile that made the photo that much more enticing.
Cassie Ventura, known simply by her first name, started off her career in music with her debut album in 2006. Best known for her hit song, “Me & U,” Cassie had a sound all her own and the look of a supermodel. Yet, the R&B/pop genre was tough to stand out in when competing with artists like Ashanti, Amerie, and Mya. When music tastes began to change, it became even harder to make a name in music as a female artist with rising stars like Rihanna and Beyonce. Yet, Cassie didn’t exactly forego the glamorous lifestyle once she stopped releasing new music. Instead, she became romantically linked to Sean “Diddy” Combs and was often photographed on the red carpet and jet-setting around the world on the arm of her music mogul boyfriend. The two have had a long and tumultuous on-again/off-again romance, which at the present is off-again. There’s no telling what the future holds for Cassie, but she has maintained her star quality for whatever the future may hold. In 2013, Cassie shot a spread for Esquire magazine, which definitely proved that she hasn’t been letting anything slip while she’s been laying low.
2. Kate Upton
Kate Upton has been on the cover of countless magazines, including the coveted Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated, but it was her Esquire photo shoot that really turned up the heat. Posing in a variety of different ensembles, including one where she is completely nude, it’s hard to tell which pose was the sexiest for this buxom bombshell. While the lingerie photos were definitely on the steamy side, it’s the do-it-yourself pics that really show off Upton’s sultry side. Taking a pair of scissors to her barely-there top, the viewer is meant to anticipate what will happen next after each picture. Pairing up her top with a pair of red panties and some high heeled shoes, Upton’s Esquire magazine shoot was definitely a fan favorite. In the editorial piece, Upton offered up some tidbits about how she started off in modeling at the tender age of just 12-years-old. Upton had a difficult time early on and said, “I was very short, actually, so casting said, ‘No, you’re too short.’ But scouting a model is different – it’s not like you’re looking for the next sex bomb, the next Victoria’s Secret model.”
Rihanna is known for being free in her sexuality, including posing provocatively in various magazine covers and spreads. This becomes blatantly clear each time she’s stepped on a red carpet, since so many of her personal choices in ensembles have been almost scandalous in their style. After famously wearing a sheer dress on the red carpet, it should come as no surprise that she would pose nude on the cover of Esquire magazine. This 2011 cover was one of Rihanna’s most provocative photo shoots, but not just because it was sans clothing. A few scattered bits of foliage made her look almost Eve-like, which put a whole new spin on the original sin. With wet hair and a seductive expression, Rihanna looked like more than just another pretty face on a magazine cover. While she’s posed in various magazines over the years, it’s her 2011 Esquire shoot that still has people talking over its incredible sex appeal.