July 5th, 1946 was a historical day, for it was on that day in Paris, France that one of the greatest inventions known to man was unveiled to the public. On that summer day French mechanical engineer Louis Reard revealed for the first time his two-piece swimsuit design, dubbed the ‘bikini’, and men have been thanking him ever since.
Nothing quite captivates the imagination like the bikini, and never more so then when worn by a celebrity. From Brigitte Bardot, to Megan Fox and all those beautiful women in between, the bikini, and the famous body adorning it, has come to define the celebrity as much as what they're famous for in the first place. Don’t believe me? Go to a supermarket and check out the magazine section.
While a woman is far more than her body and swimsuit, a beautiful lady in a bikini is still something to be celebrated and revered, as much for a man to appreciate, as for the women confident enough in themselves to wear Louis Reard’s two piece. I mean, ranking beautiful women in bikinis seems superfluous; they’re all number one in my books, but, in homage to the cult of celebrity, beautiful women, the bikini, and French mechanical engineering for birthing it, here are the 25 best celebrity bikini bodies we’ve seen recently.
26 Kate Beckinsale
My list, so my choice of who to begin with, and can you really complain? Kate Beckinsale is one of, if not the most beautiful women in Hollywood, and at 41 she looks as good as ever. The English actress is as versatile as she is gorgeous, acting in everything from romantic comedies, British period pieces, and of course as a badass in the Underworld series. Regardless of the film, more often than not it’s worth seeing it for Beckinsale alone, but it’s in the bikini department where the actress and mother can still show off the justification for landing top spot on this list.
25 Christina Milian
Considering her schedule over the past few years, with gigs as a co-host on The Voice, a stint on Dancing with the Stars, some acting roles and her high profile collaboration and romance with New Orleans’ favourite son Lil Wayne, Christina Milian still has time to keep herself looking good in her bikini. Add to this the fact that the singer has a young son and working out would seem like the last thing Milian has time for, but she is clearly an avid exerciser, which is all the better for her when sporting a bikini at the beach. The tattoo on her left hip doesn’t hurt either.
24 Taylor Swift
Country music’s highest earning and highest profile female star at the moment, Taylor Swift is on top of the world right now. A new hit album, a high profile guest spot as a coach on The Voice, and overexposure supreme. Seriously, isn’t Swift everywhere? While that may not be ideal for some, while Swift remains insanely famous, photos snapped by the paparazzi of her and her long legs in a bikini will continue to make the rounds on the Internet and in the tabloids. And really, given how beautiful and talented Taylor Swift is, is that really a bad thing?
23 Jennifer Lawrence
22 Miranda Kerr
What does it take to be a Victoria's Secret model? For Orlando Bloom’s former partner, Miranda Kerr, it takes a strict regimen of yoga, pilates, running, and boxing. Being beautiful doesn’t hurt either. Apart from wearing a bikini to perfection, the Australian model has branched out from modelling lingerie, launching her own brand of all-organic skin care products and writing a self-help book, Treasure Yourself. Very accomplished for her young age, Kerr credits Buddhism with helping her maintain her mental and physical balance, allowing her to keep up with her workout routine, thus allowing her to show off her body in both lingerie and a bikini.
21 Alex Morgan
If you’re going to play Olympic soccer, on a gold medal-winning team no doubt, then you are expected to be in peak physical condition. 25-year-old American soccer star Alex Morgan credits not only her intense training on the pitch, but also stand-up paddle boarding for helping keep herself in peak shape, to win medals on the pitch and melt men on the beach. The face of many popular brands, including Nike, Panasonic, Coke and Bridgestone, Alex Morgan is another famous footballer who has crossed the cultural boundaries of sporting superstar, to become a universal sex symbol. And she wears a bikini better than Beckham any day of the week.
20 Naya Rivera
Glee superstar Naya Rivera certainly has an excuse for her beautiful bikini body. The amount of dancing she does on the hit show, and the show's subsequent live tours alone are enough to keep anyone in shape. Wearing a cheerleader’s outfit through most of her career on Glee, catching a glimpse of Rivera at the beach in a bikini isn’t much of a stretch for the 27-year-old starlet. Add a burgeoning film and directorial career to her television and music resume, and Rivera has nothing but positive things to look forward to. Expect her to remain in the public eye for years to come.
19 Jessica Alba
Perennial sex symbol Jessica Alba is as beautiful as ever, especially when cruising the beach wearing a bikini. Following the birth of her two children, Alba has maintained her gorgeous figure with a mash-up workout routine including dance, indoor cycling and even wind sprints. Making a career at being both the girl next door and the sexy vixen (see: Sin City), Alba has been a prominent figure in the public eye for nearly twenty years, growing from child actress into beautiful film star and Hollywood sex symbol. Alba’s confidence in a bikini has no doubt added to her allure, which sees no signs of abating.
18 Julianne Hough
When you make a name for yourself as a dancer on Dancing with the Stars, you’ve got to keep yourself as fit as possible. The incredibly fit Julianne Hough does so by exercising profusely, a regime that includes cycling, swimming and even ballet classes, all of this on top of the demanding and physical schedule Hough maintained on Dancing with the Stars, and the remake of the film Footloose. Nowadays Hough is a judge on the show that made her famous, so the physical demands of her television career have slowed down a bit, but that hasn’t kept the 26-year-old dancer from maintaining the physique that made her famous, and she keeps everyone on their toes when she hits the beach in a bikini.
Barbadian superstar Rihanna is not shy about posing sexy pictures of herself on her social media feeds, nor is she shy about the extravagant lifestyle she loves to lead, so it’s no surprise that when she sports a bikini, heads turn. To keep herself fit through all that touring, Rihanna employs a personal trainer and focuses on working out at least three times a week on the road while ramping it up to five times a week while on break. With all of the partying Rihanna seems to enjoy, it’s incredible she’s able to work out often enough to keep that body, but we’re thankful she does.
16 Lea Michele
Though she hasn’t had the easiest personal circumstances as of late with the tragic passing of boyfriend and co-star Corey Montieth, Lea Michele has admirably maintained a composed image for the tabloids. Like Naya Rivera, Lea Michele is another beach-bodied star that rose to fame thanks to Glee. While Michele’s level of fame may eclipse that of her co-star, particularly due to her singing talents, she’s still been subjected to many of the same dance routines in Glee and on the Glee tours, all of which, along with her personal health coach, have kept her in bikini-perfect shape when she decides to take a swim.
15 Katherine Heigl
14 Jessica Biel
The former Seventh Heaven star and current wife of Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel has been a sex symbol since she was a teenager. The semi-nude photo shoot she did when she was 18 to piss off the producers of the Christian-themed Seventh Heaven didn’t help her television career at the time, but it certainly put her on the map as one of Hollywood’s hottest young women. Biel has maintained that bikini body ever since. Biel apparently works out religiously, (no pun intended) and has even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Those are some lofty heights to scale to keep in shape, but I’m sure no one is complaining.
13 Kate Hudson
While some of Kate Hudson’s romantic choices can be questioned (Chris Robinson to… Alex Rodriguez???), there’s nothing to question when it comes to how beautiful she is. One of the most endearing characters in film, Hudson’s portrayal of Penny Lane in Almost Famous had every young man wishing they were a rock star in the 1970s just to meet her character, and she’s charmed male audiences since. Seriously, Kate Hudson makes romantic comedies tolerable, sometimes. Effortlessly sporting a bikini with her incredible body, sometimes Kate Hudson seems like not only one of the most beautiful, but also coolest women on the planet.
12 Cameron Diaz
You can’t really have a list like this and not include Cameron Diaz, she who seemingly must dance at some point in all of her films. Diaz is beautiful, a much more talented actress than many give her credit for, and seems funny as hell. At 42, she also looks amazing in a bikini, as much so now as she did when she broke into Hollywood 20 years ago in The Mask. Thanks to a strict workout and diet regimen, Diaz has maintained her impeccable figure for as long as she has, and has even managed to parlay her knowledge to others by writing fitness books.
11 Heidi Klum
Like this one wasn’t obvious. One of the most beautiful models to ever grace the runway or screen, former supermodel Heidi Klum, at 41, looks as good as ever in a bikini, and after giving birth to four children at that. To keep her figure, Klum says she “pretends it’s bikini season all year long” and eats healthy and tries to exercise daily, albeit in a myriad of ways given her hectic schedule. As a testament to her fit lifestyle, not only does Heidi Klum have a knockout bikini body, but a collection of workout gear and running shoes form New Balance as a reward for her dedication.
10 Blake Lively
9 Halle Berry
It’s really hard to believe Halle Berry is 48, but it’s true. The beautiful star of films like the entire X-Men franchise and Monster’s Ball just doesn’t seem to age. Berry hasn’t lost an ounce of her looks, and her bikini body outshines many 20 years her junior. With the help of her personal trainer, Berry has been able to maintain what she finds desirable about her body, while staying fit in the process. Furthermore, Berry eats healthy, consuming five small meals a day, stating that her fitness and taking care of her body are a lifestyle. Whatever works, Halle.
8 Hayden Panettiere
One half of perhaps the strangest celebrity couple out there nowadays, Hayden Panettiere, the fiance and soon-to-be mother of Ukrainian heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko's child, has been acting for over 20 years. Given that Panettiere is only 25 years old, she has a considerable resume under her belt. She’s also become one of the fittest, most bikini worthy women in Hollywood, thanks in part to her role on the hit show Heroes, as well as, no doubt, her engagement to a professional athlete. Even the recent pregnant pictures of Panettiere in a bikini show off her body, and her beauty, perhaps even more so now that she’s carrying a child.
7 Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
There is not much confusion as to why director Michael Bay hand picked English model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to replace Meagan Fox in the Transformers franchise. At 27, she has been named the sexiest woman alive by numerous magazines, has done extensive modelling for Victoria’s Secret, becoming a Victoria’s Secret Angel in 2010, and most importantly has a role in the upcoming Mad Max reboot. Oh, wait, I mean she has an incredible body suited for not only Victoria's Secret but the wonderful bikini as well. While her acting gigs are limited thus far, her modelling and good looks all but ensure a career on the silver screen.
6 Adriana Lima
One of the sexiest women alive, particularly on the beach in a bikini, Brazilian supermodel and Victoria’s Secret Angel Adriana Lima has been modelling since she was 15 years old. Since, the 33-year-old has modeled for any brand who’s anybody, and has even been a part of some of the most successful Super Bowl ads of all time, raking in over 300 million viewers combined for the three TV spots she appeared in during the big game. Though Lima has been criticized for her diet regimen of only protein shakes and exercise twice a day in the week or so leading up to a fashion show, Lima equates her dieting and exercise to an athlete’s preparation for a fight or a big game.
5 Gisele Bundchen
While I’ll always know her as my favorite quarterback’s other half, there’s no denying how beautiful Brazilian supermodel (and Tom Brady’s wife!) Gisele Bundchen is, nor how successful her career has been, as she became the first billionaire supermodel. It’s not often one of the greatest NFL players of all time is out-earned by his wife, but good for Gisele. The mother of two credits kung fu and her time-honored practice of yoga with helping her maintain her figure that has earned her the reputation for having the “sexiest legs in the world” as well as the moniker the “last remaining supermodel.” As Forbes’ 89th most powerful woman in the world, it’s clear that looks and her ability to wear a bikini effortlessly aren’t all Bundchen has going for her, but they certainly don’t hurt.
One of the sexiest and most powerful pop stars on the planet, Beyonce hit her stride in Destiny’s Child, built even more momentum as a solo artist, and with her marriage to rapper Jay-Z, is now one half of an entertainment empire. And she looks great in a bikini, or any other bikini-esque outfit she happens to be wearing. Though Beyonce, 33, has been accused of photoshopping certain pictures of herself, including bikini pics, it really seems unnecessary if true. She’s a beautiful woman and one would hope that the photoshopping accusations are false, or that if true, Beyonce takes her own advice about being confident to heart, because this bikini body doesn’t need any touch ups.
3 Kim Kardashian
Maybe Kim Kardashian is high on this list, if it’s even a list at all, but there’s no doubt that if Kim can break the Internet with a picture of her naked ass, she should get some props for how she looks in a bikini. Famous for being famous, which isn’t really a reason to be famous at all, Kim Kardashian nonetheless has parlayed that irreverence into becoming one of the world’s sexiest and most recognized women, with reality shows and various clothing and accessory lines to boot. But, we’re here for bikinis, so bikinis it is. Miss Kanye West may have one of the most recognized bodies in the world right now, and after a sex tape and her "break the Internet" campaign, a bikini might be modest, but Kim can certainly pull one off.
2 Megan Fox
1 Kate Upton
As if there was any doubt. Kate Upton is so beautiful, and wears a bikini so naturally you could almost forget to include her on a list like this; as a swimwear model it is as if she was born in a two-piece. The 22-year-old has first graced the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2011, featuring some photos adorning body paint, and winning Rookie of the Year all in the same issue. Since her breakthrough, Upton has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, modelled for numerous swimwear and clothing lines, been seen in a trio of films, and in 2013 even braved the Antarctic cold to make a second consecutive appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Needless to say at Upton’s young age and with her natural beauty, ease in front of the camera and a resolve for even working under harsh conditions, the sky’s the limit for this bombshell.