It’s one thing to flip through the TV channels and admire a pretty face or hot body here and there. It’s an entirely other thing to appreciate a character for how hot she is at being really good at something. What makes a woman attractive has far less to do with her physical appearance and a lot more to do with how she carries herself, her humor, her intelligence, and frankly, a whole lot of other things.
Here is a list of television characters that yes, are traditionally attractive by conventional measures, but are also really, really good at their jobs. They be beautiful, sexy and wildly alluring, but most of them are badasses in their respective ways. We don’t mind admitting that what turns us on has more to do with a lady’s heart and brain than how she wears an apron or carries a tray.
These insanely gorgeous television characters are looking good, doing good, and generally showing us all a thing or two about being hot while working. We’re not saying a pretty face doesn’t count for anything, but it doesn’t go half as far as a strong right hook, a fierce independence, or an expertise in revenge.
15. Kara Zor-El – Hero (Supergirl)
Kara Danvers is a triple threat. By day she works for a media mogul, by night she’s a hot hero, saving humanity from lots of big bad guys. And in the middle of all this, she works for a super secret agency protecting National City from a lot of dangerous and nasty alien threats.
Kara, like her cousin Superman, narrowly escaped her home planet Krypton, and landed on Earth as a young teen. She, too, was adopted by a human family and grew up in the same “aw-shucks” kind of town Clark Kent did.
All grown up now, Kara clumsily hurries around the office of her boss and mogul Cat Grant, working as her nerdy but adorable assistant. The ponytail, the dark rimmed glasses, and the endless stream of pastel cardigans are absolutely the cutest, but it’s those tights and cape that really do it.
14. Missandei – Interpreter/Advisor To Daenerys (Game Of Thrones)
When you live and work in seven kingdoms, you’re not promised a long and prosperous life, especially when your direct superior is the Mother of Dragons. Missandei should get combat pay for all the treacherous duties she’s had to perform over the years as Daenerys’ interpreter. And that gauzy, flowing gown can’t be easy to flee in.
Even though she’s in constant danger, Missandei’s allure lies in her ability to know exactly what to do in every situation. Not many of us would know protocol when we’re being attacked my mutinous assassins wearing gold masks and the subsequent arrival of a dragon, but this beauty never missed a beat.
As a former slave, Missandei always fights for the exploited, and she’s picked up an incredibly expansive worldview and dozens of languages. Nothing is hotter than hearing an educated woman speaking a beautiful, exotic language wearing a leather bustier.
13. Rachel Zane – Paralegal (Suits)
Meghan Markle may be dating a prince in real life, but her character, Rachel, on Suits is a lot more than half of a couple. Rachel has proven herself as the paralegal you want in your corner. All that law acumen is about to transfer over into a badass career as an attorney– just as soon as she finishes up law school.
Rachel has a ton of talents, not the least of which is how she fills out an Oxford shirt, that have the partners begging her to help on their cases. Being in demand because you’re so good at your job is really one of the most seductive things a woman can be.
Being indispensable has its perks. Rachel had enough experience and legal savvy to parlay her position as paralegal into a full on attorney, and now she’s bound to be the most sought-after attorney in the firm, and it will have absolutely nothing to do with those amazing pencil skirts.
12. Felicity Smoak – Computer Scientist (Arrow)
Felicity Smoak follows in the hallowed tradition of pretty, more capable women aiding tortured, male superheroes. She devoted her IT genius to Oliver full time, assisting him with whatever he needed to fight his enemies. However, what sets Felicity apart from the rest of the female side-kicks is her fierce independence and her uncanny intelligence in digital technology.
In the CW’s incarnation of Arrow, Felicity becomes indispensable to her boss, Oliver and his alter-ego. He trusted her enough in those early seasons to reveal his secret identity, and came to rely on her in all sorts of ways. Oliver wouldn’t have been able to fight crime or run his billion dollar enterprise if he had not had Felicity by his side.
Eventually, Felicity went on to have her own professional gig, but she still always had Oliver’s best interest at heart. Although dependability isn’t often considered something you’d lust after, when it comes with a sexy bun, an endless supply of tight shift dresses, and a brain that can figure anything out, it’s definitely enticing. Who doesn’t want someone to have their back?
11. Penny – Pharmaceutical Sales Rep And Ex-Waitress (The Big Bang Theory)
We had the good luck to watch Penny really grow into her own over the past ten seasons. Back when The Big Bang Theory first started, Penny was the just the pretty, struggling actress and part-time waitress who lived across the hall.
The show’s been on for ten seasons now, and she’s really come a long way from slinging burgers at the Cheesecake Factory. Even that tacky yellow vest wasn’t enough to dull her, and watching her roll her eyes through every table was a damn delight. Yeah… Penny is hot in all the traditional ways— blond, beautiful body, tanned— but she’s also got pluck.
She never let the customers get her down, and even when she was doing terrible movies, she was always a good sport. It’s this flexibility that makes her so endearing. Nobody likes a hater, and Penny always kept her chin up.
10. Alex Parrish – CIA Agent (Quantico)
Alex Parrish knows her shit. As the standout recruit in her FBI training class at Quantico, Alex is adept at… well… everything. Aside from that gorgeous skin and incredible hair, Alex’s sexy comes from her innate self-possession.
Even when she was running from the very folks she worked for and was the prime suspect in a terror bombing, she always had her head on straight. Not to discount her physical attributes (I mean, that figure!) but any woman who can keep themselves together amidst an explosion and then a nationwide manhunt has my vote for sexiest woman of the year.
Anybody who can rock a pair of cargo pants, toss a head of hair so expertly, and manage her way out of the accusations of being a terrorist is more than just sexy. Priyanka Chopra‘s Alex is the kind of girl whose poster you pin on the ceiling above your bed. “Sexy” doesn’t do her justice.
9. Reagan Lucas – Salesperson (New Girl)
Megan Fox could read the phone book for a living and we’d think it was the hottest job in the world. But class her up with a conservative business suit, give her an incredulous smile, and have her fall for the scruffy loser and we’re in love. It doesn’t hurt that she’s got an adorably mocking sense of humor and quick wit.
Fox stars as Reagan Lucas on FOX’s New Girl, and she plays the sexiest traveling salesperson in the universe. Reagan is obviously beautiful and engaging, but she’s also approachable and easy going. Her “cool girl” persona makes us love her even more, and her relationship with the immature Nick makes her all the more attractive. If a girl like Reagan can fall for a guy like Nick, there’s obviously hope for the rest of us.
8. Rachel Green – Waitress (Friends)
Whatever it is about Jennifer Aniston that makes her so freaking hot is one of the great American wonders. Really. Every character she plays is just smoking off the screen, and Rachel as a waitress is no different.
Maybe it was that cute little apron, or the fact that she always screwed it up, without fail, but if Rachel worked at the coffee shop in my neighborhood, I’d drink far more coffee than I already do. Even without that iconic haircut and the infamous relationship with her on-again/off-again boyfriend, Rachel Green was the “girl next door” kind of sexy. We lusted after her like we lusted after our teenaged neighbor we could see through the blinds.
Of course, Rachel grew up and out of her waitress job and went on to a much more fancy career with Ralph Lauren, but she’ll always be the cute tray-slinging, order-flubbing Central Perk darling that we know and love.
7. Faith – Slayer (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
Being the evil twin has its advantages, and being the evil Slayer looks really good on Faith. Not so concerned with saving the world and protecting anybody from the Hellmouth, Faith kicked ass for the sheer fun of it, and that’s hot as hell.
Eliza Dushku played Faith as the direct foil to the sunny and blond Buffy. Her willingness to act on her basic instincts made Faith far more intriguing than the original. Faith had the whole “bad girl” package— leather pants, vampy lipstick, tattoos, and a mean stake game. She looked and acted the part and her whole situation was alluring and mesmerizing.
I don’t want to take anything away from Sarah Michelle Gellar or her Buffy Summers, but there’s just something about a gorgeous woman who is as uninhibited as she is bold. Buffy is sexy in her own right, but Faith’s rebellious sensuality gets me every time.
6. Olivia Pope – Fixer (Scandal)
Being a boss is sexy, and Olivia Pope is pretty much the boss of everything. You can probably be sure that she’d be the boss of you too. And you can be damn sure that you’d like it too.
Kerry Washington‘s Olivia might have a trainwreck of a personal life, but on the job, she’s pretty much unstoppable. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty nor will she turn up her nose at having to do unseemly and terrible things. Any woman self-possessed enough to tell the President of the United States what to do is sexy in my book.
No matter what you’re type is, Olivia Pope is bound to get your heart pumping like that cartoon wolf when he sees the pretty waitress. In fact, I’ve never in my life wished to be bossed around so badly.
5. Erin Lindsey – Police Officer (Chicago P.D.)
Being a badass is always sexy. Detective Erin Lindsay from NBC’s Chicago PD is not here for your crap. She will just as soon make you assume the position than put up with disrespect, and it’s for this very reason that she’s so extraordinarily hot. Sophia Bush is a long way from her roots as a teen queen on One Tree Hill, and we couldn’t be happier to see her make the change.
Not one to give in to silly, girly nonsense, her tough attitude makes her really good at her job. Those skinny jeans and tight t-shirts don’t hurt either. Every time she pulls a gun on a perp, solves a crime, or makes the mean streets of Chicago a little safer for everyone, she gets even more beautiful.
Erin’s not just a pretty face or hard-nosed cop. No way. She’s also the heart of her special unit and the ultimate victim’s advocate. She fights hard for the people who can’t protect themselves, and it’s this, not those jeans and tight t-shirts, that makes Detective Erin Lindsey so freaking gorgeous.
4. Cookie Lyons – Music Executive (Empire)
Cookie Lyons will never be a damsel in distress. She will never need a white knight to ride in and save her, and she will definitely not play the helpless victim. Cookie’s going to get what she wants, and you better not be in the way when she tries.
The most alluring thing about the way Taraji P. Henson plays Cookie is the way she balances this toughness with her willingness to give love and support. Just because she doesn’t need a man, doesn’t mean she doesn’t want one. And it certainly doesn’t mean she won’t treat a man well— as long as he treats her the same.
Cookie’s strength and independence is what makes her so provocative— not to mention her penchant for tight animal print. Couple that tenacity with her business savvy and street wisdom and she could burn you down with her sexiness.
3. Joan Watson – Investigator (Elementary)
Smart is just as sexy as any physical trait— sexier sometimes. Add in spunky sarcasm, a little bit of punk rock attitude, and you have the very best— and absolutely most beautiful— versions of Watson in the Holmes’ mythology.
Lucy Liu plays Joan Watson as capable, adept, and equally yolked to her partner, Holmes. The fact that Joan doesn’t cower in Holmes’ shadow, or follow him around like a Girl Friday is what makes this character so alluring. Joan may seem more traditional than she actually is, with her plaid jumpers, giant bows, and thick tights, but there is a sexy edge to her primness that makes her incredibly attractive.
Never one to use her “goods” to get ahead, Joan holds her own with Holmes and the other detectives. She started out as a sober companion to the grating Sherlock, but has since worked her way up to being an investigator in her own right. She has never played second fiddle to Holmes, solely relying on her charm and intelligence to get ahead.
2. Hannah Wells – FBI (Designated Survivor)
There is something irresistible about a lady that looks polished and put together. You can just tell that Agent Hannah Wells likes everything just so, and you better fall in line if you’re gonna have any success with this one. Everything from the perfectly cinched trench to the pre-dawn workouts indicate that Hannah is type-A, but in the best possible way.
Maggie Q plays Hannah with reserve and focus, but she doesn’t read as uptight or stuffy. She might not be the kind of lady who always has a joke ready, but her single-mindedness is extremely alluring. Her relentless dedication to finding the truth on top of the fact that she’s really good at her job makes her all the more attractive.
If I were involved in a terrorist bombing and needed some secrets uncovered, she would be the first person I turned to. What’s sexier than getting dragged out of a pile of rubble by a hot FBI agent? (Answer: nothing. Nothing is sexier than that.)
1. Jane Doe/Alice Kruger – Secret Agent (Blindspot)
Those tattoos though.
Sure, hers are all very functional and occupational, but it still makes an impression. When Alice (then Jane Doe) first arrived on the scene, she couldn’t remember anything and all she had were the tattoos covering her body. She started working with the FBI once they realized the body ink offered clues to the crimes they were investigating.
For an amnesiac with little memory or past, Alice sure is a resourceful thing. Her work with the FBI quickly becomes integral and soon she’s kind of running the show. Not only is she helping to solve crimes and stuff, but she also is searching for her own past. She’s a multitasking phenom, and that’s fascinating.
She’s got beauty, brains and tattoos, but she’s also got the wherewithal to juggle all these aspects of her life and career (and the combination of those things).