To say that power is an aphrodisiac is an understatement. Money, political position, badges – all of them are as attractive as physical beauty. And if you have any of the three and a rockin' bod or pretty smile, you may have to take cover from the incoming ballistically launched members of the opposite sex. Corporate CEOs have money. They have power. They are those most enviable and lauded of capitalistic ideals: Successful, self-made and in charge. Is it any wonder that have those three little letters on your business card is almost as good as playing lead guitar in a rock band?
Let's be frank: One of the biggest reasons people want money is to attract a partner. Doubt that money and sexual attractiveness are linked? A massive online survey by OK Cupid discovered that for every inch under 6' tall a man was, he had to earn $10,000 a year more to be considered as attractive as his less skywardly challenged counterparts. The romantic in us all may rebel, but we simply must face facts. Money attracts women. But this is not a list composed exclusively of men.
Power and money may be attractive in and of themselves to men, but a powerful woman is a challenge. In popular fiction it is the damsel in distress, the girl of low circumstances who is the subject of affection. The rich and powerful woman, in stories, is only desired if she is under the thumb of a more powerful man. It's not necessary to understand this double standard in order to enjoy fantasizing about the female CEOs who made this list, but it is interesting to reflect upon while you ogle them and realize they could very likely buy and sell you if you should displease them.
11 10: Hillary Rowland
Hillary Rowland has the face of an angel and a body you want to love. Miss Rowland, if you're reading this and, like most women, have a completely justified uncontrollable attraction to internet article writers, I am available.
Besides looking like she does (and how is she not a lingerie model, exactly?), she's innovative, smart, and a genuinely good person. In 1995 she started both an online magazine – which is now in print and sold in bookstores – and the first company to offer fashion and film professionals an online portfolio. Having found success, she now founds women-run eco factories producing clothes in Africa. Project Migration, as it is known, has provided clean water and medical care to thousands of people who may have never had it otherwise.
Hillary Rowland, nothing is sexier than doing the right thing. Except for your rack.
10 9: Richard Branson
Calling a 60 year old man sexy is not something I ever thought I would do, but look at that man's smile. Virgin founder Richard Branson always looks like he's having a great time and that's one thing that is severely lacking in so many of the super rich. Nothing is as big a turn off as someone who has everything you wish you had and can't seem to enjoy it. Seriously: That's the difference between a super hero and a super villain. Both have flying cars and secret island escapes, but the super hero smiles sincerely.
Richard Branson got his corporate start selling discount CDs out of the back of a van and has since moved on to such varied enterprises as record stores, mobile communications networks and space tourism. Yes, really. Not content with having conquered every major market sector on earth, Sir Richard Branson – and what's sexier than a knight? - has had to look to space to find a new challenge.
Any woman I ever date (Hillary, you still haven't called) is officially barred from being within one continent of this man lest the gravitational pull of his charm suck her from my grasp.
9 8: Jack Dorsey
Jack Dorsey looks sexy in the same way a television serial killer does. Just look at him, there, simultaneously considering what to do with your body before and after you're dead.
Looking part James Dean, part Bill Gates, Dorsey seems set on revolutionizing basically everything about the internet one start up at a time and dressing like James Bond during the whole affair.
If I know anything about women – and it's debatable – I know that one thing they crave is understanding and communication. Twitter seems to me to be the epitome of female to female communication, facilitating the textual version of soundbites. If the man who made it the easiest to keep up to date on the latest celebrity, friend and familial news isn't sexy then just stop reading here, ladies, I give up.
After Twitter, the Wall Street Journal innovator of the year started Square, making it possible for anyone to take a credit card payment on their mobile device. So, not only did he completely revolutionize communication he did the same for transferring money. What's next for the man who has basically changed the world? He may just run for NYC Mayor. He's thinking it might be a fun little challenge. Overachieve much? If he does decide to run he'll be changing the office for good. Let's face it, NYC mayors aren't known for their physical beauty.
8 7: Sophia Amoruso
Hillary, there's no easy way to say this. It's been great, really, but we have to split. It's not you. It's me. Actually, no, that's a lie – It's Sophia Amoruso. I mean, damn. Look at her. Smoldering is too tame a word. That hair, those eyes, that fashion sense... Sophia Amoruso looks like what you'd get if you took a Russian femme fatale secret agent and spliced her DNA with a 1960s Italian runway model, sent her to LA for a little ink, and then sprinkled her with the sand from the beaches of my dreams.
Sophia (may I call you Sophia?) is a college dropout turned super-successful fashion company founder and CEO. Nasty Gal is an incredibly hip fashion website that I just spent much too long browsing. Yes, it's that cool. So not only does Sophia look sexy herself, she actually helps make other women look sexier at the same time. It may not be as altruistic as Project Migration, Hillary, but I am going to go ahead and call that public service nonetheless.
7 6: Shawn Carter
Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, is the CEO of the clothing company Rocawear. While some may argue – I among them – that the sexiest thing about Jay Z is his wife, Beyonce, the fact is that the man's bio is the stuff of sexiness personified. Starting life in the rough and tumble Marcy Houses housing projects in Brooklyn, Carter became a famous rapper, record producer and entrepreneur. Look at that resume: Thug, musician, producer, self-made multimillionaire. Yes, gentlemen, you will never be as sexy as Jay Z.
Shawn Carter is a serial overachiever. Not content with being one of the most successful hip-hop artists and fashion figures of all time he had to go and marry a model / popular musician, start a string of other successful businesses and investments. It seems that whatever Jay Z attempts succeeds and that is the essence of the sexiness of a CEO.
6 5: Tory Burch
Tory Burch is the CEO of... Tory Burch, the fashion label and store that she named after herself. While branding yourself isn't exactly sexy, Tory more than makes up for it with her style. Her fashion is a sort of retro-chic full of body-hugging, tight, nearly-revealing outfits that I wish she'd wear in public photos.
Tory looks like the sort of neighbor you'd want to spy on while she sunbathed (Editor's note: Please don't do that). And the cheeky smile she exhibits in her publicity shots gives the impression she might not mind. And she doesn't only have a nice body, a billion dollars and a pretty face – she's also got some pretty cool hobbies. In high school she rode horses and played tennis. She also dated Lance Armstrong for a time.
5 4: Jessica O. Matthews
Jessica Matthews is my favorite type of beautiful woman: The dreamer. Jessica, along with her Harvard classmate Julia Silverman, came up with the idea for Soccket, the world's very first power generating soccer ball. Since time immemorial people have been watching children run around and go nuts and jokingly muse, “If only we could harness their energy.” The ancient Greeks thought of it as a fountain of youth. Modern man figured one five year old with soap bubbles could power an aircraft carrier. Well, Jessica Matthews took that old joke and made it a reality.
From her company, Uncharted Play's, website: The SOCCKET harnesses kinetic energy from play and converts it into electrical energy that can be used to power small appliances. Using the LED lamp that comes with each ball, minutes of play can provide hours of light.
Besides having a corporate vision that borders on boundless optimism and encouraging people to improve the world through play, she looks like she could be a sitcom star. That hair... those kissable lips. And, as a bonus, she's exotic – the only Nigerian on this list.
4 3: Sarah Paiji
What is it about Jewish men and Asian women? I've spoken with other Jews and it's confirmed that being Asian automatically gives a female a +1 bonus. But even without that boost, Sarah Paiji would have made this list. And by made, I mean made it complete. When she's smiling she looks adorable or smoldering. When she's serious she looks severe yet serene. And she always looks like she has a charming secret.
Sarah Paiji is the CEO and creator of Snapette, a virtual window shopping app for nearby fashion retail locations. It's pretty cool, very innovative and combines virtual and actual in a very neat way but, seriously, who cares. LOOK at her! She looks like the princess an action hero has to rescue from bandits. I just couldn't believe how incredibly pretty she is, so I looked for the worst picture I could find of her and this is what I found:
I mean, if that's how she looked at a cocktail party I'd be stumbling over my best material trying to get her to laugh.
Sarah Paiji, you're number one in my heart.
2 2: Amanda Peyton
I first heard of Amanda Peyton when she was pitching her startup, GrandSt.Com, on Kickstarter. I didn't think about her, just about her venture. Grand Street finds funky, interesting, offbeat electronic gadgets and collects and sells them. It's the sort of website I could spend a lifetime browsing, kind of a streamlined Think Geek. If a company is a reflection of a CEO, then Amanda Peyton is your friends' kind of nerdy, always excited kid sister. But if my friend's kid sister looked like her we probably wouldn't be friends for long.
Look at that great shock of blond hair, that smile, those jeweled eyes – why am I imagining her with an Australian accent? Amanda is a great type of person, the type that gets inspired and moves on it. I imagine being near her would be somewhat electric. The idea for her mobile app, Message Party, came at a music festival. It's an app that's supposed to connect nearby people.
So, not only is she smart, sexy, kinda nerdy, fit and a serious go-getter, she also wants to party. I think I'm sweating.
1 1: Marissa Mayer
Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer may just be the most powerful tech businesswoman in the world, and isn't power the essence of a CEO's allure? No? Oh, in that case, look at this picture of her languishing in a red dress.
Marissa is not #1 on this list because of her intelligence – which is beyond question. It's not because she's top of the heap at one of the biggest internet companies. It's not because of all her money or the fact that she studied artificial intelligence. It's because, damn, that picture makes me wish I was her personal masseur.
Marissa's career highlights read more like the head of a nation than of a search company and her body looks more like that of a runway model than a businesswoman. Most of a business person's job is sitting and talking. She looks more like she's jogging around the boardroom when she's not lounging on the silk-sheeted bed of my fantasies.
Miss Mayer, you're #1.