The eighties were an era of big hair, outrageous fashion and shoulder pads but a beautiful woman is a beautiful woman and no amount of crazy clothing could obscure that. With this list, we will be looking at some of the decade's hottest women who were famous and letting you, the reader, know what they are up to these days.
The major criterion, other than being an attractive woman who was famous in the eighties, is that most people would be unaware of what they are up to today. Jennifer Jason Leigh, for instance, who was for an Oscar for her recent role in The Hateful Eight or Carrie Fisher who just returned to the Star Wars universe, were both omitted for that very reason.
15 Heather Locklear
An actress who has remained a bombshell for decades, Heather seems like she will never stop being a sex symbol. First coming to prominence as one of the stars of Dynasty, the series owed a large part of the high society spirit it played on to the unattainable looks of this young beauty. Also starring in T. J. Hooker in the midst of Dynasty’s run, Heather proved herself to be TV gold, an image she has held onto ever since. Melrose Place during the 90s, Spin City in the 2000s and roles on shows like Scrubs, Boston Legal and Two and A Half Men served to further cement her reputation. During the last five years, she returned to Melrose in that series’ reboot, had a recurring role on Hot in Cleveland and starred on Franklin & Bash. If that is any indication, there is still a lot of Heather to go around.
14 Betsy Russell
Private School, a teen sex romp that came out in the 1980s starred our top pick as an eighties hottie in this very list, but in this film, she took a backseat to an unknown actress. Betsy Russell, a gorgeous young woman with an incredible body got the majority of viewers hot and bothered by seducing the film’s star, being peeped on and riding a horse while topless in glorious visuals. Appearing in a handful of films in the eighties and nineties it wasn’t until 2006 that Betsy found a lasting role in the spotlight again. Appearing in the Saw franchise as Jill Tuck, the ex-wife of the Jigsaw killer, her character attempted to follow out her exes wishes by placing someone in a death trap. After performing in five Saw films, Betsy began to act in other horror movies, the last of which came out in 2014.
13 Catherine Bach
When The Dukes of Hazzard debuted, it seemed like it was about a couple of good ole boys outwitting and out driving a small town’s corrupt sheriff but for many viewers, their cousin stole the show. A buxom brunette who constantly wore cut-off jeans that showed almost every inch of her impressive stems, she became so well know that cut-off jeans worn by women became known as Daisy Dukes. The fact that Daisy was the only Duke that stuck with the show for the entirety of its run goes to show who the shows true star may just have been. After her run as the character came to an end, Catherine mostly faded away but was never forgotten. She has appeared as a regular on The Young and the Restless from 2012 until the time in which this article was written.
12 Kim Basinger
The daughter of a former athlete, actress and model, Kim followed in her mother’s footsteps and quickly became a star after becoming a Bond Girl in just her third film. It wasn’t until she was cast in 9 ½ Weeks however, a film that inspired couples around the world to attempt to incorporate food into their sex lives, that she was appreciated as one of the sexiest women alive. Ending out the eighties by co-starring in Batman as Vicki Vale, a reporter that Bruce Wayne can’t resist, she now had a blockbuster under her belt. Earning an Academy Award in 1997 and proving again and again that her talents aren’t just skin deep, she still finds work to this day. Set to take on a role in Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to the sex-drenched Fifty Shades of Grey, Kim just made the series a whole lot more appealing just by taking part.
11 Vanessa Williams
The first African American woman who was crowned Miss America, her groundbreaking achievement would have likely been a footnote had it not been for the controversy and career that followed. After Penthouse Magazine got their hands on a series of nude photographs of this insanely hot woman and published them without her permission, she was pressured to forfeit her title. Capitalizing on her new infamy, she soon started a very successful music career which she focused on as the eighties came to an end. A truly alluring woman, she has been a regular actor ever since. Most recently grabbing headlines when she served as the head judge of the 2016 Miss America Pageant, she also received a public apology from the organization and was utterly graceful.
10 Tawny Kitaen
When Tawny Kitaen danced on top of two cars as an awe-inspiring part of Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again music video, it seems to have been permanently etched in the minds and libidos of millions. Married to the band’s lead singer, she also appeared in the video for the band’s Is This Love, she went on to parlay that unforgettable dance into a career. Cast on the reality shows The Surreal Life and Celebrity Rehab, she has appeared in films you’ve likely never heard of and made sporadic shots on television for years.
9 Jennifer Beals
Cast in the lead role of the second major acting gig she ever got, Jennifer’s turn as a welder and exotic dancer who tries to be taken seriously as a professional dancer in Flashdance made her famous. A sexy role that involved her using her body to express herself, again and again, the actresses’ obviously attractive attributes made the world want more. Acting in movies like Four Rooms, The Prophecy II and The Last Days of Disco, Jennifer remained an acting fixture even if she no longer got to headline right until she was cast as a lead in The L Word. Since that show came to an end, Ms. Beals has been searching for another long-lasting role. Most recently taking on the lead role in Proof, a series that aired on TNT, the show only lasted a single season.
8 Naomi Campbell
There aren’t very many women who have ever earned the right to call themselves supermodels but Naomi is definitely one of them. Getting arguably the industries two biggest gigs, Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue and Victoria’s Secret’s catalogue as well as so many other companies, Naomi was everywhere in the eighties and nineties. Currently appearing on the series Empire, Naomi still models to this day but she is perhaps best known for her erratic behaviour, including four convictions for assault.
7 Bo Derek
There is little debate that a lot of the people who went to see the movie 10 in 1979 weren’t there for the comedy stylings of Dudley Moore. Bo cast as the young woman who is an obvious 10 out of 10 that her far older co-star becomes infatuated with, even managed to overcome the stigma of a white woman wearing cornrows. She was just that hot! After the film’s poster image that she adorned became a poster sensation, she ran roughshod of frat walls for the majority of the eighties. Taking on several other roles that she appeared nude in during that decade, several under the direction of her husband John Derek, she proved how sexy she was again and again. No Longer in the high demand she was once, Bo’s only role since 2012 was in the laughable Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No, released in 2015, she proved that age is only a number.
6 Lea Thompson
Best known as the mother in the Back to the Future series, it was her role in All the Right Moves, where she appeared naked, revealing how rocking her bod actually was that made Lea a shoo-in for our list. A truly hot woman who appeared alongside stars like Michael J. Fox, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze and, of course, Howard the Duck in the eighties, she was also seen in the buff in Casual Sex. Starring in Caroline in the City for four seasons in the nineties, Lea has been in 9 movies and 14 TV shows in roles of varying sizes since 2010. Lending her voice to the show Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero since 2014 and acting in Switched at Birth since 2011, Lea didn’t need 2015’s Back to the Future revival to get work.
5 Susanna Hoffs
One of the biggest girl groups of the eighties, The Bangles, consisted of five women, all of whom were eye-catching but it was the Susanna Hoffs’ peepers that made her stand out amongst the rest. A woman blessed with the type of beauty that men went to war over in years past, Susanna eventually broke out on her own, appearing in a few films, including The Allnighter where she appeared in her panties and a nightshirt. Forming a band named Ming Tea, alongside Matthew Sweet and the actor Mike Myers in the 2000s, as well as performing with Sweet and actor Tim Robbins on a song, she has since reunited with The Bangles.
4 Kelly LeBrock
When a duo of teens used a computer, a doll, lightning and dubious sci-fi to create the woman of their dreams in Weird Science, Kelly LeBrock was cast as the physical manifestation of their perfect woman. Who are we to disagree? Walking into the film in panties and a mid-riff revealing shirt, the image of the actress in a doorway is forever burned into brains. Never able to recreate that magic in the years since, Kelly appeared in five films in the nineties, four films in the 2000s and 3 films in the 2010s so far. Although she has mostly disappeared from the acting world, Kelly’s legacy as an eighties hottie remains absolutely unquestionable.
3 Robin Givens
Mike Tyson was one of the most feared and famous men in the world in the late eighties so when we all learned that the savage beast had gotten married, curiosity ruled the day. Once the visage of the incandescently gorgeous Robin Givens was revealed we understood how she could hold sway over man and beast. Although their marriage ended as poorly as any possibly could, divorce and prison time, Robin’s mark on the decade was forever made. Moving on to star in Boomerang alongside Eddie Murphy and Blankman alongside Damon Wayans as well as shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the early nineties, she was no longer just tabloid fodder. Most recently appearing on TV and in a film in 2014, Robin could pop up again at any moment.
2 Kathy Ireland
Yet another Supermodel, Kathy Ireland’s biggest claim to fame in her heyday, other than being amazingly hot, was she appeared in 13 straight Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues. Sporting a fit frame, long legs, great butt and piercing eyes, Kathy was able to dip her toes into the acting world, with roles in Necessary Roughness and Loaded Weapon 1 in the nineties. Despite lending her voice to Family Guy in 2009, it is her business acumen that has above all else ensured her legacy since her modelling days. Founding Kathy Ireland Worldwide, a company that forked in an estimated 2.5 billion in 2015 alone, Kathy has made more money in her new role than ever before. She also is a renowned philanthropist who has handed over her cash and time to fight for women’s rights across the world, disease research and HIV/AIDS management.
1 Phoebe Cates
At one time chosen as the top nude scene of all time by Mr Skin, when Phoebe Cates took off her bikini top to reveal her breasts in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, she blew the minds of people. The fact that she showed off practically every inch of her body in the film Paradise, that same year, only further cemented Phoebe as the decade’s sexiest star. Later tapped to star in Gremlins and deliver one of the strangest Christmas themed speeches ever delivered, she was in 3 films in the nineties, including Drop Dead Fred and one in the 2000s. Opting to step away from acting, to raise the children she had with her husband Kevin Kline, she is now perfectly cast as a mother of two and from all accounts is happy with her choices.