For actresses in Hollywood, stripping down is part of the game. It’s hard to find a major starlet in the town who hasn’t doffed it on camera at one point in their careers. True, some are able to avoid it (Jennifer Lawrence leading those insisting she’ll never go nude on film) but others throw themselves into it without abandon. Most of the time, it’s for early roles before they make it big. In fact, some end up becoming famous and then these old nude scenes are pulled up to show them off. Other times, they make a splash with that first role (some in their debut) and it's what makes them famous in the first place. In other cases, actresses can wait a while before taking it off. Sasha Alexander and Lucy Lawless are two ladies who spent years in various hit TV shows before finally baring it all in their 40s (and looking amazing).
It’s interesting to see the first ones and how they show off. Angelina Jolie and Kate Winslet are famed for stripping in practically every other movie they film, but their first times (Cyborg 2 and Heavenly Creatures respectively) weren’t that notable. But other ladies are able to make their first times oh so memorable, whether on TV or occasionally on film to stand out. Some scenes aren’t just notable, they’re practically legendary and showcase some of the hottest women alive at various stages of their careers. Here are fifteen of the top times a famous lady doffed it all and how big these scenes can be.
15 Salma Hayek - Desperado (1995)
With her sultry looks, long flowing hair and amazingly full figure, it was inevitable that Salma Hayek would be a movie star. In 1995, she got her break as Carolina, a bookstore owner in Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado. Rodriguez focused on her entrance, sauntering down a street in a nice dress, looking so hot that traffic literally stops for her. She aids El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) when he’s wounded, the two getting closer. That leads to a truly scorching love scene (literally with candles all around) that shows off Hayek’s fantastic curves in all their glory. The morning after is spoiled by an attack that leads to a fun chase with Hayek looking sensational through it all. Since then, Hayek has maintained herself in sexy roles, that gorgeous accent matching her face, showing her body a few more times but also high respect as an actress. Yet that first scene is still one of her best to show just how incredibly hot this Mexican actress can get.
14 Heather Graham - Boogie Nights (1997)
Heather Graham first got attention back in 1988 in the teen comedy License to Drive as the “hot girl” in school who turns into a drunk mess on a date. Roles in other films followed, usually just the nice looking blonde friend without much attention. That changed with 1997’s Boogie Nights as she played Brandy aka “Rollergirl.” So named for constantly being on roller skates, she was an adult film star in the 1970s which meant showing off skin from sex scenes to just being around the house. Graham was great, even when her character was a drugged-up mess and it boosted her big time. Since then, Graham has had a good career of various movies and TV shows like Scrubs and Californication, still a classic hot blonde to win fans over. Yet that nude debut in Nights is what she’s best remembered for and set her career on a real roll.
13 Alexandra Daddario - True Detective (2014)
True Detective is known today for one of the greatest single-season drop-offs in television history. Its first year was massively acclaimed for its style, story and acting whereas the second was a boring, muddled mess. That first year was great with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as cops investigating a murder case, the show playing with a lot of wild themes and bouncing across time. This included flashbacks showing how Harrelson’s character was cheating on his wife with court reporter Lisa, played by Alexandra Daddario. The actress was best known for her role in the Percy Jackson films, a bright young starlet with an innocent side. But she put that aside for the memorable moment of undressing to seduce Harrelson, pulling off her shirt to reveal her rather ample chest. It was a highlight of the first season and put Daddario on the map. She even talked on Twitter about how “the President has seen my boobs” and handling the new fame. Whatever else about the series, Daddario provided one scene that was truly epic.
12 Jessica Biel - Powder Blue (2009)
Jessica Biel got her big break starring as tomboy Mary Camden on the wholesome family show 7th Heaven. Thus, it was a massive moment when, in 2000, Biel did an interview for Gear magazine where she cursed and bad-mouthed the show. It was accompanied by pictures that included her topless at only 17 and caused a massive stir. Her character was written off the show for a time although it did turn Biel into a sex symbol overnight. In various movies, she would show off in bikinis now and then, but nothing major other than that, wanting to be taken more seriously as an actress. Finally, in 2009, Biel starred as a stripper in the dark film Powder Blue. The sight of her on a dance pole and withering on stage in nothing but boots and a thong was a fantastic sight to enjoy. Biel has kept clothes on for movies since but this proved how much of a “bad girl” she could be and a wicked side that makes her even hotter.
11 Phoebe Cates - Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
It’s one of the single most iconic nude scenes in the history of film. Phoebe Cates has never exactly been a household name despite some good talent as an actress. She had some hits like Gremlins but hasn’t acted since 2001’s The Anniversary Party, preferring to be a wife to Kevin Kline and raising their family. But Cates put herself into film immortality in the classic comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High. As Linda, a popular girl at the school, she’s the object of lust for many a man, including Brad (Judge Reinhold). This leads to him imagining the moment of Cates emerging from a pool in a red bikini, soaking wet and gorgeous. She then undoes the top to reveal her bountiful chest to kiss him. It was a must-watch scene long before the Internet came along and to this day, what Cates is best remembered for. Proof that some actresses don’t need Oscars or acclaim, just one moment to make themselves film immortality.
10 Jaime Pressly - Poison Ivy: The New Seduction (1997)
Like many a young lady coming to Hollywood in the mid 1990s, Pressly had hopes of fame, but found herself a bit overwhelmed. When she was offered the role in the straight-to-DVD film Poison Ivy: The New Seduction, Pressly saw it as a way to break into the business. In an interview with Maxim magazine, Pressly stated she was unsure of her rights as an actress and didn’t know she could have turned down the film’s massive nudity. She regrets it today, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of. As a young woman tearing apart a family, Pressly shows off from skinny-dipping to seducing the dad in a red dress, revealing a stunning body with full chest and toned rear. For years, Pressly was stuck in various “hot blonde” parts, but in 2005, surprised critics with her turn as the nutty Joy on My Name is Earl. It won her an Emmy award and Pressly currently stars as a recovering rich lady on the hit series Mom. As much as she may regret her naked turn today, Pressly gave her fans something to truly remember her by.
9 Margot Robbie - The Wolf of Wallstreet (2013)
This is one of the best cases in recent times of how a single nude scene can turn an actress into a star. Margot Robbie had been on the rise in her native Australia, starring in the long-running hit soap Neighbors. That got her cast in Pan Am, an ABC series about 1960’s flight attendants but the show was canceled after just fourteen episodes. In 2013, Martin Scorsese cast Robbie as Naomi, the woman who gets into an affair with Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in The Wolf of Wall Street. This leads to the bit of Robbie meeting him in her apartment in nothing but black garters. The sight of her incredible body was amazing and made Robbie an instant star. She’s now rising thanks to her role as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad and is balancing being a sex symbol with being an actress and showing just how doffing it all is a great way to get on the map.
8 Alyssa Milano - Embrace of the Vampire (1995)
This was one of the first, and best, cases of a former child actress breaking out big time in the 1990s. In 1984, Milano began to play the role of Sam on the long-running ABC hit sitcom Who’s The Boss. Over the course of the series, she transformed from a tomboy in jeans and t-shirts to a very attractive young woman finishing the series in college. After time away, Milano decided to shift up her image in 1995… and boy, did she ever. In the direct-to-video film Embrace of the Vampire, Milano plays a college student haunted in dreams by a vampire in some steamy stuff. The real major bit was when she meets photographer Charlotte Lewis who gets her to pose topless at her studio. To see Milano’s chest on display made the movie an instant “must-rent” and hotter when the two share a steamy kiss. Milano showed off even more later in the film, making herself an instant sexpot. It helped her land the role in the long-running Charmed and a bit of a classic of the ‘90s as well as one way to show how grown up you can be.
7 Charlize Theron - 2 Days In The Valley (1996)
As a former model, the South African native already had the looks she needed to get ahead and it was only natural that Hollywood took notice. In 1996, Theron made her film debut in 2 Days In the Valley, a black comedy crime drama about various L.A. folks dragged into a murder case. The posters featured her in a white slip and looking like the classic femme fatale as Helga, the lover of James Spader’s hit man. Shots of her in a tight white outfit were great as was her wild fight with Teri Hatcher. The big bit was when Spader returns to find her in their hotel and Theron starts to get frisky with him. She finally gets on top to peel off her nightie and for the first time on film reveal her fantastic body. Theron would of course end up in various other “hot gal” roles that included plenty of nudity but then remade herself into a serious actress with her Oscar-winning role in Monster. Theron has shown more than just a hot face and body… but oh, what a body it is.
6 Scarlett Johansson - Under the Skin (2013)
For quite a while, it looked like Scarlett Johansson might be one of those “tease but never fully show” actresses. She did get skimpy in underwear in her breakout role for Lost in Translation and showed some cleavage action in A Good Woman. Most other roles had her naked but covering up the good stuff as she went from indies to studio fare to becoming Black Widow for Marvel’s slate. While hailed as incredibly sexy, Johansson resisted showing off too much. Finally, in 2013’s Under the Skin, Johansson went full frontal and looked fantastic. As an alien who studies human sexuality (in somewhat dark and violent ways), Johansson spent time admiring her naked form to see if it looked okay. It more than did, her terrific performance winning hails and paying off the wait from fans to make it look like an alien more gorgeous than any human has a right to be.
5 Natasha Henstridge - Species (1995)
In terms of “best debuts,” it’s somewhat hard to top this one. The 1995 sci-fi/horror film Species has a group of scientists foolishly using information from space to grow an alien/human hybrid. Michelle Williams played the young version of the girl (code-named Sil) who breaks out of the lab and goes on the run. After murdering a train conductor, Sil undergoes a metamorphism and transforms into an adult woman, now played by Natasha Henstridge. She’s driven by the urge to mate and produce a child, leading to going out clubbing. This was the former model’s first acting role and she looked stunning, perfectly cast as an other-worldly beauty. She also showed off her body, from dressing and figuring out the right outfits to the hot love scenes in a tub and other places. Of course, she also transforms into a monstrous creature to attack, but this performance made Henstridge a star and boosted her to a nice career in movies and TV. She still looks incredibly hot while showing one alien monster that thrills more than terrifies.
4 Anne Hathaway - Havoc (2005)
Anne Hathaway was just a struggling actress when Gary Marshall cast her as the geek who turns into a princess for The Princess Diaries. Her transformation made her an instant star and for a while, she was stuck in various family films like a Diaries sequel and Ella Enchanted. In 2005, Hathaway made a bold move to change her image with the indie Havoc. As an upper-class teen trying to enjoy a “street life,” Hathaway indulged in drug use and then stripping for some hot love scenes that allowed her very nice body to be shown off. Just months later, Hathaway starred in the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain that also showed her body with a hot car sex scene. While Hathaway has stripped a few more times (as in Love and Other Drugs), she kept her clothes on for her Oscar-winning role in Les Miserables and continues to impress as an actress. It was a risk for Hathaway to look so grown up, but it paid off nicely in the end.
3 Katie Holmes - The Gift (2000)
Dawson’s Creek became an instant hit when it debuted on The WB in 1998. The tale of a group of teens hanging out, it made instant stars of its cast like James Van Der Beek and Michelle Williams. Katie Holmes was also a hit as Joey, the neighbor who clearly had feelings for best friend Dawson. With her pixie looks and smiles, Holmes just looked perfect as the girl next door and even when she got dramatic stuff, she couldn’t kill off the fan love. She did try to shake it up with darker roles in Disturbing Behavior and others, but it was 2000’s The Gift that really shook up her image. She played the role of a missing woman who, in flashback, is revealed to have been the town slut sleeping around constantly. This led to a moment where she seduces a new lover at his car in the woods at night, stripping to her panties. Seeing Holmes’ chest on display nearly burned down the Internet. Holmes has seen success in movies since although her well-publicized marriage to Tom Cruise got her more attention. Yet this scene of her topless was certainly a “gift” for her many fans.
2 Jennifer Connelly - The Hot Spot (1990)
Jennifer Connelly is one of those actresses who has barely seemed to age in some ways, but grown up great in others. Her big break was playing against David Bowie in the cult classic Labyrinth which got great attention with her gorgeous looks. In 1990, Connelly starred in The Hot Spot, a wild neo-noir movie directed by Dennis Hopper. Connelly played a woman who gets involved with crook Don Johnson and eventually pulls him into a scheme to kill her husband. As part of the various action, Connelly and friends head to a lake for some talk and partying. This has her stripping to just a thong and showing off a spectacular chest with little shame. Connelly has since forged a great career from favorites like The Rocketeer to winning an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind. Yet she still looks amazingly hot and this is a reminder that a young Connelly might well have been among the sexiest women to grace the screen.
1 Elizabeth Berkley - Showgirls (1995)
If ever a movie was created to be a guilty pleasure, Showgirls is it. It’s funny to imagine the huge hype being paid to this in 1995 as folks truly expected something daring and exciting for its NC-17 rating. Instead, they got one of the most laughably bad movies of its time, totally over the top with terrible dialogue and insane direction. At the center of it all was Elizabeth Berkley, best known as brainy Jessie on Saved By the Bell. As Nomi, her performance as a stripper showcased her body numerous times from the stage to a laughably bad pool love scene. Her “acting” was trashed majorly by critics and earned her an easy Razzie Award. It’s now a centerpiece of the film, which has enjoyed a life as a cult fave of “so bad, it’s great.” Berkley’s career has never really soared since then, but she still handles it as one way or another, this was a nude debut that made her someone to remember.