Twenty Most Beautiful People of the Decade
In a decade when it has become daily ritual to witness our most famous, talented, and beautiful people in their gym sweats and flip flops at Starbucks, unaware of the long-lensed sniper in the bushes capturing them in exactly the angle of light and time of day that is maximally unflattering, we thought it’d be fitting to end the ’00s with a glorious, glamorous look back at the 20 most beautiful people that have graced the pages of our magazine in the past 10 years. Sure, in an ideal world beauty would be nakedly apparent. But it doesn’t hurt to have makeup, hair, wardrobe, and a talented, sympathetic photographer. And, in the tradition of this magazine, we encouraged them to speak freely—because the beautiful and famous are just dying to tell you something you didn’t know about them.
FIRST: ZAC EFRON
PHOTO BY MIKAEL JANSSON, APRIL 2009
Before we got to him, the High School Musical star was the squeaky-clean song-and-dance Disney showpiece with the “surreal” beauty (as an admiring Robert Pattinson, no slouch himself in that department, once gushed). Now he’s starring in a serious movie (Me and Orson Welles) that critics actually seem to like. Remember where Johnny Depp got his start?
GUS VAN SANT: Did you take any pictures for this article already?
ZAC EFRON: Yeah, we did.
VAN SANT: How did that go?
EFRON: I think it went pretty cool. There was, like, a giant sandbox in the middle of a studio, and then I just got to roll around in the dirt for a couple of hours. I got pretty dirty by the end of it, so that was fun. It was definitely different from anything I had ever done before. The photographer was really fun to work with . . . He recommended some furniture.
NEXT: ASHLEY GREENE
PHOTO BY TERRY RICHARDSON, NOVEMBER 2008
With five films scheduled to come out in the next year, it’s safe to say that Ashley Greene is riding the momentum from the absurd Twilight wave. The young vampire with the psychic abilities—she also has the power to make girls literally break down in tears in public. But how far into her own future can she see? From where we’re standing, the near-future, at least, looks promising.
ASHLEY GREENE: “I grew up in a house that would be perfect to set a horror movie in. It was out in the country, right on the water. I’m glad I never got to see scary movies when I was young. Otherwise I would have imagined things coming out of the lake.
NEXT: COLIN FARRELL
PHOTO BY BRUCE WEBER, OCTOBER 2000
For a hard-drinking, cigarette-sucking, home video-making, real-life embodiment of the archetypal Irish rogue, Farrell certainly looks good strapped into a uniform. He’s played the officer type in The Recruit, S.W.A.T., Hart’s War, and in the 2000 Vietnam War movie that made him a star, Tigerland. Not that he’s taking orders (or advice) from anyone. He had a fling with Britney Spears, gallantly swung and missed as Alexander the Great, and in the Miami Vice remake he wore the sleaziest facial hair since Matt Dillon in There’s Something About Mary. But unpredictable talent and lapses in judgment is what makes Colin Farrell so beguiling, and all part of his homewrecker appeal.
GRAHAM FULLER: Could you go to war?
COLIN FARRELL: If I had to go to war to protect my family, my rights, my home, I would. I’d hate it, but I’d do it, and I’d fight until my last dying breath. But I don’t want to say if the Vietnam War was right or wrong. I have my own ideas about it, but there are too many people that did go that didn’t have a choice, or maybe they did and they thought they were doing right, or maybe they were doing right. It’s too serious for me to make any comments on because I’m Irish.
NEXT: NATALIE PORTMAN
PHOTO BY BRUCE WEBER, MAY 2000
We’ve had her on our radar since she was the 12-year-old Lolita of The Professional. And somehow, her beauty has grown and grown over the past decade. Now 28, she’s won a Golden Globe, earned a psychology degree from Harvard, devoted her free time to social and political activism, and looked better than Demi with a shaved head. She’s even a vegan. Enough, really.
JAKE GYLLENHAAL: So, then, let me ask you this: If you could get into a time machine, to what place and period would you travel?
NATALIE PORTMAN: Well, right now, I’m very fascinated with 1920s Berlin. I mean, probably the more interesting thing would be to go to the beginning of civilization or precivilization—like polytheistic times. It would be interesting to see what came before modern religion and culture—what circumstances created the environment or the need for it. I actually felt like I was in a time machine last week when I went with Jay-Z to the Laserium in Los Angeles.
—INTERVIEW FROM SEPTEMBER 2009
NEXT: CHACE CRAWFORD
PHOTO BY SOLVE SUNDSBO, SEPTEMBER 2009
In some ways, he’s a lot like Nate Archibald—a young, rich, extremely good-looking guy living in New York. And soon he’ll be tossing his flawless man-bangs about in the upcoming Footloose remake. The Texas-bred pretty boy is well on the path to American teen idolhood.
CHRISTOPHER BOLLEN: Dallas. Oh, man. Are you really close to your parents?
CHACE CRAWFORD: Yes, superclose. They were really young when they had me. You know, it’s a southern thing. They had me when they were like 21 or 22. My dad was going through med school while my mom was pregnant with my sister. So they’re still young now. I talk to my dad at least every other day. They’ve still got a little hipness left in them. I took my mom out last night. She said, “I want to know what all of the fuss is about.”
BOLLEN: Where did you take her?
CRAWFORD: Well, one of my buddies runs Butter, so he said, “Take her down here. Take her to a nice meal.” I hadn’t been there in ages, but she knew it because it’s been on our show. She was like, “Oh, show me one of those little Gossip Girl places!” I’m like, “All right, if we must.” I also took her out to some local bars that we normally go to.
NEXT: ALICIA KEYS
PHOTO BY ALBERT WATSON, OCTOBER 2006
She seemed to come to us from nowhere in 2001, fully-formed and ready to have us fallin’ for her fiery voice and vulnerable confessionals. Tens of millions of albums sold and multiple Grammys later, she’s suddenly everywhere again, haunting our heads on Jay-Z’s zeitgeisty anthem, “Empire State of Mind.” She’s one-part Aretha and one-part Joni—which is to say that she’s timeless.
GLADYS KNIGHT: Give me some of your pet peeves.
ALICIA KEYS: Give me one of yours, and then I’ll give you one of mine.
KNIGHT: Okay, so there are some announcements that the make before you go onstage: no recording of this show, no pictures taken, none of that stuff. Then as as soon as you step onstage and you get flash-flash-flash. This is show business. This is show business. These people we hook up with go to great lengths to make sure that they’ve got control of our likenesses, and you’re going to take my picture with a cell phone?
KEYS: [LAUGHS] The cell phone thing is out of control. Here’s my pet peeve: The not-so-unstated rule that women are only to be treated as sexual objects and gawked at-you know, sitting up against a car, washing something, bending over, licking something. That just drives me crazy.
KNIGHT: It’s up to us to take back that control.
KEYS: Yeah. Make people wonder a bit more.
NEXT: ASHTON KUTCHER
PHOTO BY KARL LAGERFELD, OCTOBER 2002
Love him, hate him. It’s hard to quantify the boyishly terrific-looking ex-model’s place in our culture. He’s made trucker hats and Punk’d national phenomenons, turned himself into the king of Twitter, nabbed the queen of cougars, made a string of formulaic rom-coms, and produced several hit TV shows. Actually, there is a word that encompasses all of that—Ashton Kutcher is an entertainer.
DAVID SPADE: Did they have Everclear in Iowa? It’s like 1000-proof alcohol and you mix it with Hawaiian Punch. It’s illegal in 48 states.
ASHTON KUTCHER: Yeah. [laughs] And remember, it was Iowa, so we had a little bit of the home brew as well.
DAVID SPADE: Oh right—a little moonshine.
ASHTON KTUCHER: My grandpa was actually one of the biggest bootleggers in the Midwest during prohibition. He used to make wine in his cellar. He would strap the bottles to the inside of my grandma’s skirt and they’d peddle it in Chicago.
DAVID SPADE: Jesus Christ. I’ve stumbled onto something major here. I feel like Geraldo [laughs]. I will hand it to you, Ashton, you’re going to run Hollywood. I only see Vin Diesel in yoru way right now, but once you get past him, it’s smooth sailing.
ASHTON KUTCHER: Actually, I’m thinking about shaving my head, putting on about 50 pounds, and doing an action movie.
NEXT: SCARLETT JOHANSSON
PHOTO BY ALBERT WATSON, SEPTEMBER 2003
Since that first shot of Johannsson in Lost in Translation, her throwback beauty has been bewitching us. The red lips against porcelain skin, the platinum curls, the breathy voice, the curves—she’s Marilyn all over again, but brainier this time around. She can even sing, as she proved with her album of Tom Waits covers in 2008. Recently wedded to Ryan Reynolds and seemingly over being Woody’s ingenue, Scarlett Johansson still remains the ultimate Muse.
GRAHAM FULLER: Are you happy in your personal life?
SCARLETT JOHANSSON: I can’t complain. I’ve been in two very long relationships, and now I’m single for the first time since I started dating, and you learn so much about yourself. Being in a relationship is great because you compromise and make decisions together. But after doing that for so long I felt I needed to be alone. I like to make my own choices.
FULLER: You’ve got plenty of time for love.
JOHANSSON: I know. You can’t really search it out. I’ve met a lot of assholes. But I’m really happy that those assholes have helped me define what I want and what I don’t want. [laughs] I guess you’ve got to meet a lot of different kinds of people-people that are just plain wrong for you, people that seem great, people you have a crush on-so that when the right person does come along, you know it for sure.
FULLER: You’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet the right prince.
JOHANSSON: Or kiss a lot of assholes before you meet the right guy. That’s been my experience so far.
NEXT: ROBERT PATTINSON
PHOTO BY MARK SEGAL, OCTOBER 2008
A bit of Brando, a twinge of Dean, the Twilight star possesses that slightly strange alien quality that turns brooding good looks into the iconic. He has just enough edge to make teens and tabloids go into “crazed hunter” mode—have you seen Robsessed?—but also a disarming, slightly crippling self-awareness. It’s early yet for Pattinson, but we’re eagerly awaiting part two of his entertaining saga.
On life before Twilight:
“We spent the better part of a year just getting drunk every night… “I don’t know if that counts as ‘struggling.'”
NEXT: SIENNA MILLER
PHOTO BY SAM TAYLOR-WOOD, FEBRUARY 2006
She’s the cool girl with the sexy British accent that you wish you were, except minus the boy problems. (Of late, she’s back with Jude Law.) The same issue remains, however—her personal life and her crazy animal print-on-different animal print outfits still overshadow her career. Factory Girl may have been a bust, and maybe you know someone who knows someone who saw Interview, but she was absolutely perfect in both.
SAM TAYLOR-WOOD: So are there lots of corsets and bonnets and bustles?
SIENNA MILLER: Yeah, which I thought would be great until the first day. The novelty wore off after about half an hour. The costumes were authentic, so I was totally strapped into this thing. Your waist is squeezed down, and your boobs are squeezed up. We shot everything on location in palazzos that had no air-conditioning, so it was like 110 degrees. Plus, I couldn’t have a fag because it would mess up my big curly pube wig.
TAYLOR-WOOD: I saw a still of that somewhere.
MILLER: It’s not a good look. I told everyone I put on weight for the part, but really it’s because I’d been in Venice chugging down pasta and tiramisu.
TAYLOR-WOOD: Anyway, what other questions do I have here?
SIENNA MILLER: What’s on the list? How big is Jude’s cock?
TAYLOR-WOOD: I was getting out of the car, and [the paparazzi were] shoving the camera up my skirt—to see whether or not you’ve got your knickers on or not.
SIENNA MILLER: They do that! They get down on the ground to see if you’ve done your waxing, which, in my case, is never.
TAYLOR-WOOD: I don’t want to ask about that other stuff.
SIENNA MILLER: What? Nannygate? I just hope she doesn’t run into me in a dark alley. Actually, I’m quite looking forward to the day when our paths will cross, which I know they will. She better live in fear.
TAYLOR-WOOD: As the queen says, “Annus horribilis.”
MILLER: It’s very sad. Here’s to ’06!
NEXT: TOM BRADY
PHOTO BY BRUCE WEBER, NOVEMBER 2003
The past couple of years, he has looked, at times, human on the football field. But during that time he also married Gisele, so we only assume that this is how karma works. You can only be blessed with so much at one time, right? But what Brady has remained is the perfect posterboy of All-American good looks—he’s practically a Kennedy.
MATTHEW MCCONNAUGHEY: What’s the dirtiest thing that’s ever happened on the bottom of the pile?
TOM BRADY: [laughs] Aw, man, I tell ya, I’ve had just about everything punched. I’ve had things grabbed that just shouldn’t be grabbed. [McConaughey laughs] It hurts, too. You know, I’m 6 foot 5, 220 pounds, and I’m the smallest guy out there.
MCCONNAUGHEY: I know from my dad who played defensive end for the Green Bay Packers in ’53, and from other friends who’ve played some ball, that at the NFL level, a lot of what separates many of the players is physical toughness and an ability to play while injured.
BRADY: It sure is. After the first day of practice, there’s not one guy who’s playing at 100 percent or who feels great. Sometimes, getting up in the morning and brushing your teeth is the hardest part of the day—it all just hurts. Some people will say, “You know what? I can’t show up and practice today,” while others will say, “This is how I’m going to feel, and the only way that’s going to improve is if I work it out.” I’ve found that the guys who play through the pain are the ones who are most ready to go on on Sunday. That’s mental toughness.
NEXT: KATE MOSS
PHOTO BY MARCUS PIGGOT, MERT ALAS, SEPTEMBER 2008
She is a supermodel, and possibly the last of the breed. She’s come to represent an entire wave of grungy, waifish girls—in fact, she started the whole thing. She’s dated Johnny Depp and Pete Doherty. She’s gone to rehab. She’s become a mum. She’s seen and done it all. She came on the scene 20 years ago as a wide-eyed 14-year old beauty, and she’s still on top. (Just scan the magazine covers over the past two years, including ours.) We’ll probably be talking about how Kate Moss is still going strong in another 10 years.
GLENN O’BRIEN: So, Kate, have you met everyone yet?
KATE MOSS: Almost. Well, not everyone!
O’BRIEN: Who haven’t you met?
MOSS: Well . . . I have met almost everyone I’ve wanted to meet. How about you?
O’BRIEN: I haven’t really met Bob Dylan.
MOSS: I’ve met Bob Dylan. We did one of those nonhandshake handshakes. I was with all guys, and he shook hands with all of them, and then they said, “And this is Kate,” and I put my hand out, and he didn’t put his out. And then I took my hand away, and he put his out. It was one of those. We finally did shake. And then I fainted!
NEXT: RYAN PHILLIPPE
PHOTO BY MARK SELIGER, NOVEMBER 2006
Can blond be brooding? Ryan Phillippe has spent the last 10 years trying to give his golden curls a less angelic gloss, whether it be forgetting to shave orcovering it up with various headgear. We thought he’d never burned with so much inner suffering as he did in Cruel Intentions, the cult movie that made him a star—until he proved us wrong in Crash, and again in Flags of Our Fathers. Two implosive turns and a fairytale marriage to Reese Witherspoon gone wrong later, he’s starting to earn some points in the damaged goods department.
PAUL HAGGIS: But here’s what I’ve always wondered about: Actors know going onto his set that Clint does only one, two, maybe three takes, right? That’s got to wind you up.
RYAN PHILLIPPE: It does, and I think some people have difficulty adjusting. I went into it with a totally open mind, knowing that was the case. Eighty percent of the movie was done on the first take, and for a film of that size and scope, that’s unbelievable. Ultimately the craziest thing about working that way is that at the end of the day you’re not conscious of what you did, so you’re not beating yourself up about what you didn’t do—and it is great. You do it once and it’s done, and you don’t pick it apart and overanalyze.
NEXT: EVA MENDES
AUGUST 2008, PHOTO BY MIKAEL JANSSON
She is unimpeachably sexy. Her Calvin Klein billboard in New York, currently looming over Houston St, is supersize proof of that. Dark features, an admirable figure, and an attitude that said she’s willing to get her hands dirty made her a star the second we laid eyes on her as Denzel Washington’s mistress in 2001’s Training Day. She’s been alternately sultry (Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Out of Time) and goofy (Hitch, Stuck On You). But most of all, as she proved with a scandal-less stint in rehab in 2007, she also possesses a more infrequent quality—grace.
“It’s flattering that people think I’m sexy, but it’s not the end-all, be-all. The minute I put my self-esteem on what they think I am, I’m screwed, because one day they’re not going to think I’m sexy.”
NEXT: PHARRELL WILLIAMS
PHOTO BY MARC HOM, DECEMBER/JANUARY 2006
At a certain point in 2003, almost half of the songs (43%) being played on American radio was produced by the Neptunes. Of this, the decade of the super-producer, Pharrell is the one doing it with the most style, musically and sartorially. Kanye is a fashion frenetic, but Pharrell has a sensibility that is all his own—even if we have to overlook the occasional pair of knee-length man boots. And how he finds time to design jewelry and a clothing line with all those hits to make, that’s beyond us.
BRIAN GRAZER: So, you try to free yourself up of things that can diffuse your vision?
PHARRELL WILLIAMS: Yeah, because I could be missing something. I’ve found at times that I turn things that bother me into songs, which is super-therapeutic. You know, Einstein said something to the effect that energy can’t be created or destroyed, only conjured. Those weren’t his exact words, but if we have this energy within us that makes us mobile and makes us aware of things, imagine all the things that we can do if we can just harness it. I hope that doesn’t sound too bizarre or too crazy.
GRAZER: Don’t go Yoda on me.
WILLIAMS: [laughs] Yeah, I don’t want to go that way. But there is a lot of energy out there, and it’s up to each of us to use it. Music just happens to be my channel.
NEXT: JESSICA ALBA
PHOTO BY PAUL JASMIN, APRIL 2005
Tanned, blonde, mid-riff baring. Check, check, check. She’s who people think of when they use the phrase “just a pretty face”—but that’s exactly the misnomer Jessica Alba’s been trying to disprove since she came on the scene in James Cameron’s series Dark Angel. Sure, Into the Blue was a barely-concealed excuse to put her in a two-piece for the duration of a feature-length movie, but she was fearless in the noir hit Sin City—albeit, as a stripper. Okay, so maybe she’s not gotten very far in the serious actress department. But she’ll have the next 10 years to overcome her genetic gifts.
BENCICIO DEL TORO: So, you have to do some dancing in [Sin City]. Did you practice for that?
JESSICA ALBA: Yeah [Laughs]. When I got hired I talked to Robert [Rodriguez] and as like, “Should I talk to some choreographers? I can put together a routine if you give me some music, and that way I can duplicate it.” Bet he was like, “Yeeeah… Np. Did you see Salma Hayek’s dance in From Duck ‘Til Dawn? ?” And I said, “yeah, that was the hottest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!” And he said, “Well, I just put on some music, and she just dance.” But I was terrified. I’m not an extrovert. So, I just went to a bunch of strip clubs to do research. I would have to get a little tipsy, though, because it’s kind of intimidating talking to these women with incredible bodies who are writihing in front of you. But I learned some stuff from them. I hit about four strip clubs in L.A., two in new York, and two in texas.
DEL TORO: And aren’t you working with, like, a rope or a lasso, too?
ALBA: Yeah. I had a rope guy teach me how to twist it around like a lasso and stuff. I just spent every night in Texas in the Four Seasons in my underwear, knocking overlamps trying to lasso things.
NEXT: MILLA JOVOVICH
PHOTO BY MARK SEGAL, MARCH 2009
The strange career arc of Milla Jovovich began when she was discovered by Richard Avedon at age 11, which led to modeling gigs, a number of roles in small indie films, a spot in the ensemble cast of Richard Linklater’s starmaking Dazed & Confused, a turn as Joan of Arc, then an eventual segue into the recent Milla as kick-ass sci-fi heroine (The Fifth Element, the Resident Evil franchise). Somewhere in all of that, she’s designed a clothing line and founded a production company. We’re wondering where the next transformation will lead her.
GLENN O’BRIEN: I worked with you years ago on the Calvin Klein Escape TV campaign with Jean-Baptiste Mondino. It was a long time ago, but you can still find the uncensored version of the commercial on YouTube.
MILLA JOVOVICH: Really?
O’BRIEN: Yeah. It’s the one where the guy licks your neck and you flip your shoulder straps off and say to the camera, “Take me!”
JOVOVICH: There’s so much stuff that I would never see again if not for YouTube. There is a performance of mine from when I was, like, 18, in Austin,Texas, at the local record shop, singing with my band. I mean, it’s just the cutest thing ever.
NEXT: JAKE GYLLENHAAL
PHOTO, OCTOBER 2007
Since Donnie Darko, he’s shown himself to be an eager actor. From oddball neuroses (Bubble Boy) to the raw emotional center he cracked wide open in Brokeback Mountain, he’s devoted himself to his roles. Even in action blockbusters like The Day After Tomorrow, he worked to bring an “artsy” element to the schlock (to the consternation of his co-stars). He’s been the same way with love; in his relationships with Kirsten Dunst and Reese Witherspoon, he was the one who’s all in. That kind of person tends to be the one with the most to lose—but all told, we like his chances.
DAVID FINCHER: Have you been biking?
JAKE GYLLENHAAL: I bike every day. I never thought I would be somebody who devoted so much of their time to that type of physical activity.
DAVID FINCHER: Be careful—you don’t want to get so big you can’t fit into your suits. That’s what I first noticed in Rendition—this guy is pretty fit for a rendition observer.
JAKE GYLLENHAAL: Well, we were shooting that in the middle of a desert outside of Marrakesh, and I’d go running a lot. I imagine that as a director, when you’re filming, every possible second of your time is filled. But as an actor you have so much free time your mind wanders. Running is a really good antidote for a mind that tends to spin around a lot.
NEXT: DITA VON TEESE
PHOTO BY ALBERT SANCHEZ, FEBRUARY 2006
Who would’ve thought that a burlesque performer with a softcore porn filmography could have such crossover appeal? But we get the impression that Dita Von Teese can do precisely whatever she likes—she possesses a commanding, magisterial aura. She is the sort of woman who presides. And wherever she presides, whether it’s front row at fashion week or at one of her attention-grabbing shows or in the pages of this magazine, she’s always glamorously, perfectly Dita.
STEFANO PILATI: It’s stronger for me as well. [both laugh] One of the things that was so appealing to me when Interview asked me to do this was that they suggested the conversation be around beauty and the return of glamour. And I was like, well Dita is all of those things!
DITA VON TEESE: Oh, I try to be. I love glamour and artificial beauty. I love the idea of artifice and dressing up and makeup and hair.
PILATI: Making yourself more beautiful is what I try to do with my work. Fashion is my form of expression, and, somehow, I want to convey the idea that beauty and elegance is a positive thing that we should all embrace.
VON TEESE: I feel like everyone’s trying to make things simpler, and I like things that are intricate and detailed and luxurious and fancy! [both laugh] I love all the details and fancy stuff.
NEXT: JAVIER BARDEM
PHOTO BY MATHIAS VRIENS, NOVEMBER 2007
The thing with guys that have it is that they’ll continue to have it—we’re talking about presence. Bardem has always had that onscreen, but it wasn’t until his 2000 portrayal of gay Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas in Julian Schnabel’s lyrical Before Night Falls that he became an international name outside of his native Spain. A gentleman who always looks consummately composed, his unexpectedly unhinged turn as a psychokiller in No Country For Old Men earned Bardem the Oscar that was inevitably coming. Bardem’s seduction artist in Vicky Cristina Barcelona didn’t earn him a second statue, but it got him Penelope Cruz, who had also been his co-star 16 years before, in the wonderful Jamon Jamon. You see, he’s always had it.
ELVIS MITCHELL: A lot of these guys you’re playing are profoundly pained in some way.
JAVIER BARDEM: I guess when I read a script, I want to see somebody in some kind of a struggle —otherwise the character will not be interesting to watch. As with any human being—when you see somebody who is totally sure of himself, you pull away. But when there is a struggle, there is contradiction, and when there is contradiction, there is pain. Playing characters who go through that gets me excited. It allows me to understand much more about my own struggle. I don’t mean that we have to be in constant struggle or contradiction all of the time—that would be crazy. But we are, whether we like it or not.