The "halo effect" is a psychological concept, in which the brains of other humans are influenced to greater degrees because of certain physical or personality-based characteristics of another. Basically, it's the explanation for why we tend to have a positive bias towards people who are more attractive, more physically fit, taller, funnier, or any other general trait we associate with being "attractive." The sad part is, many of us are well aware of this cognitive bias, but still fall victim to it all the time. Just think about how frequently we see someone get a job, receive a promotion, or earn a lot of money, only by virtue of the fact that they're more "genetically gifted" than someone else, even when the latter person might be more capable and/or qualified?
This idea is only amplified in Hollywood. Across both genders, there are tons of celebrities who are unimaginably famous and make unfathomable amounts of money, even though we all know they're just capitalizing on their looks, their spouses, their social media influence, or some combination thereof.
Of course, women in Hollywood are particularly able to capitalize on this, because it’s no secret that a beautiful woman can basically convince a man to do anything she wants. To that end, consider this our compendium of women who dominate the pop culture headlines only by virtue of their looks. Here’s our list of 15 female celebrities who should be thanking the almighty every day that they were born pretty, because they have no other talents to their names.
15 Priyanka Chopra
The fact that the television show Quantico, where former Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra used as her launching pad into Hollywood fame, is still on television, is genuinely shocking. The show isn't that great, and Chopra's acting doesn't help that cause one bit. Once we all get past the idea that she's a former Ms. Universe, and she has appeal because she comes from India, have you actually seen her act? The only time she's somewhat believable as an actress is when she's playing someone whom men fawn over because of her looks. How ironic. Even veterans of Bollywood films will tell you that while Chopra is one of the bigger names in the industry, and has taken on roles that are more creative and adventurous in nature, she's still far from being one of the industry's more talented actresses.
14 Jessica Alba
In 2000, the Fox network premiered a futuristic science-fiction television series called Dark Angel, which featured an otherwise unknown lead actress named Jessica Alba. The show became a hit after the first season, mostly on account of the fact that people realized Alba was absolutely gorgeous, and did a somewhat decent job portraying the lead character named "Max." However, the fact that Fox essentially pulled the plug on the show after two seasons should've been a red flag for movie directors who thought it'd be a good idea to cast Alba in (future flops) like Honey, Into The Blue, or either of the original Fantastic Four films. Alba has become a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist in recent years, but looking back, we now realize that there was a good reason she hasn't done anything of note in the television and film world in years.
13 Amber Rose
Here's the thing. Amber Levonchuck, better known as "Amber Rose," makes no bones about the fact that her entire adult life has been about capitalizing on the fact that she's able to use her appearance to capture the attention of men, and possibly women, too. She began dancing at the age of 15 years old. She's appeared in numerous music videos by hip hop stars. She's walked the runway at New York's fashion week, and modelled for Louis Vuitton. She's been a judge for a reality beautify competition for drag queens (RuPaul's Drag Race). But short of dabbling in rapping herself, Amber Rose literally has no other reason for relevance other than the fact that her looks piqued the interest of Kanye West, she later dated Wiz Khalifa, and she's been an advocate for women being proud of her sensuality. In other words: her entire professional career is predicated on her attractiveness.
12 Denise Richards
After spending time as a model on three different continents, Denise Richards got her true "big break" in Hollywood with roles in the films Starship Troopers (in 1997) and Wild Things (in 1998). The former film is something of a cult classic for being a totally cheesy sci-fi flick, while the latter is known for little more than Richards' participating in a few very racy scenes. Since then, the only movie she's appeared in that anyone has ever heard of was Undercover Brother, which nobody would ever mistake for being some cinematic work for art. Simply put, nobody is going to deny that Richards, even though she's approaching 50 years old, is absolutely gorgeous. But nobody is ever going to say that she's got anything else going for her besides her looks.
11 Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus told us everything we needed to know about her knowledge of music and the music industry when she professed to not knowing a single song by Jay-Z, despite referencing "the Jay-Z song" in her famous hit single "Party in the U.S.A." The fact that Cyrus was able to land the role of Hannah Montana, and produce a music album (if you actually want to refer to that end product as "music") is because her father is Billy Ray Cyrus isn't some big secret. If she was any other teenage girl, born to any other family in the United States, you'd probably see her foaming the milk for your latte at the local Starbucks. Instead, we all have to pretend that she's some accomplished musical and/or acting talent, which couldn't be any more fictional.
10 Charlotte McKinney
Let's be real for a moment: we all know that Charlotte McKinney is famous because of the fact that she is, in her own words, "a curvier bombshell." It's an equation that's worked for a lot of other models-turned-actresses (like Pamela Anderson and Kate Upton), so nobody is faulting her for taking advantage of her "skills." The difference is, the latter two actually have some actual accomplishments to their name, such as cover photos on the most renowned magazines in the world, and even leading actress roles in a film. Compare that to McKinney, whose only major accomplishments are her social media fame (she's "Insta-famous"), and her appearance as a featured model in commercials for Carl's Jr.'s fast food burgers, where the fast food chain compared their "all natural" offerings to McKinney's shape.
9 Victoria Beckham
Any former Spice Girls fans out there who want to suddenly feel really old? Here you go: we're coming up on 18 years since the all-girl pop group dropped their last music album. But despite the fact that it's been almost two decades since that group did anything of worth, Victoria Beckham – also known as "Posh Spice" – is somehow still someone who people care about. We applaud the fact that Beckham has used the earnings of her husband – soccer mega star David Beckham – as well as her own earnings from various media ventures to perform philanthropic work worldwide. But outside of her model-esque looks, alumna status as a Spice Girl, and world-famous husband, is there any worthwhile reason we should still care about Victoria Beckham?
8 Paris Hilton
You could argue that Paris Hilton has done more for perpetuating the stereotype of "dumb blonde," as well as "rich, spoiled brat," more than any person in human history. Hilton has literally earned her millions, while accomplished absolutely nothing, only because she is a trust fund great-grandchild of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels. Simply put: she's worth millions only as the result of the genetic lottery. Sure, she's dabbled in things like modelling and reality television because she happens to be attractive, but neither of those have stuck, mostly because of the fact that her socialite status has led to some train wreck moments. As other people have eloquently put: Paris Hilton is famous for being famous. That's literally all she has going for her.
7 Megan Fox
Nobody can deny the fact that the presence of the smoldering-hot Megan Fox was one of the biggest reasons why the 2007 live-action Transformers film turned out to be a smashing success at the box office. Simultaneously, nobody can deny the fact that, as we began to see Fox cast in a few other film roles (as she tried to build upon her popularity from the aforementioned Transformers movie), we quickly realized she doesn't have one lick of acting talent to pair with her admittedly ridiculous level of attractiveness. Producers and directors tried to buoy their films by giving her roles in (otherwise terrible) movies like Jennifer's Body and Jonah Hex, but they both bombed – rather badly – because they were terrible movies that Fox made even worse.
6 Hailey Baldwin
As you can tell, nepotism runs strong on this list. In fact, "nepotism" is the answer to the question of "how can you become ridiculously famous despite the fact you have no reason to be famous whatsoever." Hailey Baldwin is the daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin and the niece of Alec Baldwin, of the famous Baldwin family. She's a beautiful girl, so it's no wonder that she signed with the renowned Ford Models agency in New York, and has appeared in magazines including Vogue. But it should've stopped there, because that's what Baldwin is best – and perhaps only – suited to do for work. If she wants to make a few cameo television appearances with her uncle, we might be ok with it. But this idea that she should be hosting television shows and Hollywood events is really pushing it. Baldwin was named Maxim's most beautiful woman in May of 2017, and that should be the tipoff as to which direction her career should remain.
5 Kristen Stewart
Being completely candid: in our opinion, Kristen Stewart is the worst actress in Hollywood. She plays the same cold, emotionless girl or woman in every single movie she's in. She has no range as an actress. She has the charisma of burnt toast. The Twilight film series, which she's best known for, comprised one absolutely terrible film after another. And yet, within the last five years, she was the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, earning over $34 million in a single year, and continues to be nominated for film awards. Sure, if you want to use her face for various modelling opportunities – similar to her work for the Chanel and Balenciaga fashion brands she currently performs – that might make more sense. But otherwise, there might not be a single more overrated actor, of either gender, than Kristen Stewart.
4 Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner basically cracked open her older step-sister's playbook on "how to become a mega-celebrity without actually earning it in any way, shape, or form," and perfected it to a tee. She capitalized on a famous family name. She began dating hip-hop stars, convince everyone that she's a model when she's really just courting the paparazzi to show off the alluring clothing she's wearing (disguised as "high fashion"), schill whatever fashion and makeup she prefers to millions of followers on social media, have a child out of wedlock, and in her pièce de résistance: host her own reality television series on the E! network. She's literally the walking personification of what everyone over the age of 40 years old hates about millennials and the millennial culture.
3 Pamela Anderson
Any red-blooded American male who was between the age of the 13 and 93 during the early 1990s, when the show Baywatch was at its prime, will tell you the same thing: when Pamela Anderson was on the screen, they could've watched the show on mute and it wouldn't have mattered, because they weren't watcher her – or the show – for anything she had to say. Anderson was one of the biggest stars of that era because she was essentially every man's fantasy girl: the beach blond with a fit physique. In fact, you could argue that she made many women desire to take on that look, because of what it did for Anderson and her career. She has defined the bleach blonde bombshell look for the 21st century. However, beyond that, she doesn't have much to offer.
2 Kim Kardashian
There is no question that Kim Kardashian is the undisputed heavyweight champion – and maybe the greatest of all time – when it comes to the idea of "becoming a celebrity despite having no discernible talent whatsoever." If you ask 100 Americans about the first thing they think of when you mention the name Kim Kardashian, anything associated with intelligence, talent, or acumen wouldn't be among the top 10 answers you hear (if you ever hear any of them to begin with). She launched her career with a private tape, furthered her career by being close friends with another no-talent celebrity on this list (Paris Hilton), and kept her name in the spotlight thanks to manufactured relationships with professional athletes, disproportionately sized curves, and a "mom-ager" who looks for any opportunity to capitalize upon – and exploit – her daughter's notoriety in any way.
1 Taylor Swift
Honestly, we really don't care about the fact that Taylor Swift has sold over 40 million albums, has enough awards to fill several trophy cases in her house, and been named one of the most 100 influential people in the world. Just ask yourself one question: is Taylor Swift actually a good singer or talented musician? What has she done besides produce super-catchy music about the angst and emotions that seems to be a right of passage for every teenage girl? Swift can sing and play a guitar, but without an army of producers and executives turning her into yet another pop star appealing to teens, how is she anything different than one of those up-and-coming musicians you see doing the same thing at your local indie coffee shop?