Constructing a system for ranking the sexiest women of the decade is complete bullshit; beauty is too subjective. So instead, I’ve focused on a much more quantifiable quality: the “IT factor.” The IT factor is popularity on a global scale. It’s “hotness” in the Paris Hilton sense of the word.
And while popularity isn’t an exact science, it’s much easier to gauge than beauty, as it can be measured by such things as the frequency of appearances on magazine covers, top whatever lists, and Google hits.
While physical attractiveness is often an important component of the IT factor, this quality is also impacted by a variety of elements: talent, socializing practices, the size of one’s ass, sexual flings, sex tapes, and drug habits.
While the IT factor isn’t always positive, often passing between celebrities like a game of tag, or an STD, or a bag of cocaine, who our culture chooses to gossip about says something about who we are as a culture.
Jennifer Lopez and her ass
Although it’s been more than a decade since Jennifer Jopez’s ass first captured our hearts and minds, its contributions to how we define beauty can still be see on the red carpet in the asses of Kim Kardashian and Beyonce Knowles.
Her rise to fame began when she perfected her rock hard ass as a dancer on In Living Color (1990-1994). She broke onto the national scene as an actress in Selena (1997). But, it wasn’t until the release of her first solo album On the 6 (1999), that Lopez truly established herself as an IT girl.
To cement her prominence, she began dating music mogul Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, who transformed Lopez into J.Lo. In 2000, she expanded her influence, crossing over into the fashion world by becoming the face of L’Oreal Cosmetics.
Britney Spears and her virginity
In 1999, …Baby One More Time, created a teen obsession with Spears. But, the obsession didn’t truly infect the male population until the release of her second album, Oops!… I Did It Again in (2000). This album not only paved the way for her mega stardom and pop icon status, it also doomed her to a downward spiral of K-Fed, multiple unplanned pregnancies, drugs, head shaving, and general wackiness.
But in 2001, Spears was still at the top of her game, still hot, sane, still dating Justin Timberlake, and still claiming to be a virgin. The cracks in this otherwise perfect pop star princess wouldn’t show until the next year with her disastrously unsuccessful crossover into feature films with the severely underrated drinking-game-movie, Crossroads (2002).
In this film, Spears strains all her acting muscles playing a virgin, valedictorian, mechanic, poet. But, just to impress upon you how large Spears weighed in the male psyche at this time, at 20, my buddy and I actually saw this film in theaters.
In 2002 Berry become the first and only African American woman to win the Best Actress Award for her appearance in the 2001 film Monster’s Ball.
Not only did the film get her a nod from the Academy, but it also spurred a nation fanaticism with Berry, revealing a graphic sex scene between her and Billy Bob Thornton.
In 2002, Berry was back on the big screen, this time in an orange bikini opposite James Bond in Die Another Day.
While Hilton started to appear in the tabloids with her sister Nicky as a Hollywood and New York socialite who had dated most every eligible celebrity, she didn’t break into the mainstream conscious until she landed a role on the reality TV show, The Simple Life (2003). However, it wasn’t until December of that year, when the infamous sex tape of Hilton and ex-boyfriend Rick Salomon, 1 Night in Paris, was leaked on the internet, that she transformed into the “classy” tabloid queen we know today.
Lohan was one of the few child actors who successfully made the transition into adult roles without falling victim to drugs, family feuds over money, and fame. Maybe not, but she’s still acting, I think (wasn’t she pregnant in a recent film).
While rumors of her partying habits with Paris Hilton, bi-sexual flings, and drug habits began to surface, it wasn’t until the release of Mean Girls and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen in 2004, that the public began to understand the fixation with Lohan.
We saw this naturally voluptuous (depending on the season, as her chest size fluctuates with drug habits and eating disorders) woman who was actually a decent actress, or so everyone kept saying to justify our obsession. Lohan also launched a successful solo singing career with Speak (2004) and A Little More Personal (Raw) (2005).
Ever since Jolie won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Girl, Interrupted (1999), it seems a month doesn’t go by that she’s not on the cover of at least one tabloid.
Our fascination with her wasn’t so much with her acting, or her award’s speech, as with the fact that she kept kissing her brother James Haven at awards shows. In the early 2000s, no one was quite sure what to make of Jolie. She was this vampire-ish, wild, impossibly beautiful woman, who talked openly about cutting herself, having sex with Billy Bob Thornton in limousines, and having lesbian lovers.
In 2004, rumors began to swirl that Jolie and Brad Pitt were getting close during the filming of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Pitt didn’t divorce his wife Jennifer Aniston for Jolie until 2005, the same year the movie came out. But once the split was finalized, Pitt and Jolie wasted no time getting down to business. Jolie was pregnant with Pitt’s child by January of 2006, and the couple, Brangelina, has yet to fall out of the tabloids, as they continue to expand their family, make acclaimed films, and support every cause known to man.
Coming off the success of the Academy Award winning, Dream Girls (2006), Beyonce dropped her second solo album B’Day (2006). Coupled with her long time relationship with music mogul Jay-Z, 2006 was the year we realized Beyonce was here to stay.
In 2002 she was #3 on Maxim’s “Hot 100” list. In 2004, she was bumped up to #1 on VH1’s “100 Hottest Hotties” and E!’s “50 Steamiest Southern Stars.”
In 2005 she ranked #17 in both Maxim’s “Hot 100″ and FHM’s “100 Sexiest Women in the World.” In 2006 she fell to #18 on FHM’s list, but she jumped to 13 on Maxim’s “Hot 100″.
While it’s hard to claim that any one of these women were ever reigning IT girls, they all battled for that title in the mid 2000s, appearing on countless hottest, sexiest, and most desirable lists.
The only reason none of these women emerged as a clear victor is because they:
a) didn’t trade their acting fame in for successful singing careers
b) they avoided tabloid scandals.
Introduced to mainstream audiences the year before as the super sexy cheer-leading superhero, Claire Bennet in Heroes.
In December 2007, Panettiere was named GQ Magazine’s Obsession of the Year.
And, let’s not forget, the direct-to-DVD hit Bring it On: All or Nothing, which repeatedly played on cable TV in 2007, spurring millions of men to admit that maybe the Bring it On series wasn’t all bad.
First wave of center stage fame came in 2005 with the release of Sin City, Fantastic Four, and Into the Blue.
Her second wave broke in 2007 with Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Good Luck Chuck.
Between those years, she also appeared on the March cover of Playboy, and snagged the #1 in AskMen.com’s “99 Most Desirable Women.”
In 2007, Maxim, positioned Alba #2 on their “Top 100.” FHM also ranked Alba #3 on “2007’s Sexiest Woman in the World.”
Marriage to Spur’s point guard, Tony Parker, in late November of 2006 had men across the country lamenting the loss of a hot, single woman who loves sports.
In 2005 and 2006, she grabbed the number one slot of Maxim’s “Hottest Female Stars,” becoming the first woman to get the title in two consecutive years.
She also made #9 in Maxim’s “Hot 100,” then took 4th in the same list for 2008. In late 2007, Longoria also became the first face of Bebe Sport in addition to her modeling contracts with L’Oréal and Hanes.
Kim was the most Googled person in 2008, partly because people were still trying to figure out who she was.
Still this is quite a feat considering she was battling for publicity with Lindsey Lohan’s encounters with jail, booze, and a failed lesbian affair, not to mention Britney Spears’ increasingly zany antics.
Kim became a student of the Paris Hilton school of celebrity. The daughter of famous parents, Kim became an LA socialite, appearing at A-list events.
And just like Hilton, the release of her sex tape with a minor celebrity, Ray J, coincided with the launch of her first reality show Keeping up with the Kardashians(2007). If that wasn’t enough, In December of that same year, Kim also posed for Playboy.
Megan Fox minus her stubby thumbs
Fox proves that you don’t need a sex tape, famous parents, or incredible talent to become an IT girl. All it takes is being attractive and lucky enough to star in a few summer blockbusters.
Despite her freakishly stubby thumbs (carefully concealed in this picture), Fox exploded on the scene with Michael Bay’s Transformers (2007).
Fox’s only two other note worthy roles came this year with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Jennifer’s Body, in which she plays a bisexual vampire.
Fox has often been compared to a young Angelina Jolie, what with her black hair, awful tattoos, and her “Fuck You” attitude.
However, because she has yet to adopt any babies, steal a leading man, or prove her acting chops, we’ll have to wait and see how long she remains in the spot light.
Top 10 hottest IT girls of the 2000s (pictures) | Daily Loaf