Skin Deep, or a celebration of woman

I don’t know if it’s because I spent too many years watching Letterman, but I seem to have developed an unhealthy attachment to Top Whatever lists. I know that they’re nearly always completely subjective; I think that might be part of their charm. And of course nothing is more subjective than trying to make a ?Top? list of beautiful women. Eye of the beholder, and all that. So, naturally, I’ve decided to get the party started in hopes of getting all you other oysterites stirred up at my obvious omissions and errors.

Plus, it’s just fun looking at beautiful women.

BUT, a list merely of beautiful women is too easy. A couple months ago, MSN tried a list of the most beautiful women over 35. In this day and age, 35 sets the bar pretty low, yet they still ended up with a lame list. I, therefore, present the Top Ten Hottest Celebs Over 40.

Just to reduce the first wave of howls to a minimum, I should let you know that I decided ahead of time, no Pamela Anderson (for those of you into pneumatic blondes) or Halle Berry (for those of you into perfection). They’re only just past 40, and I didn’t want to cherry pick among all the 40-plus-a-few-months and 41-year-olds.

10. Michelle Yeoh, 45

A former Miss Malaysia, she has also been a Bond girl, and is a current world-wide female action star. (Like David Carradine, she started as a dancer, and uses dance moves to simulate the martial arts in her fight scenes.) She has co-starred with Jackie Chan, and is one of the few women actresses he will allow to do her own stunts. (And, like Chan she has had numerous stunt-related injuries, one of which put her in the hospital for three weeks.)

I have a philosophy: No matter how hot a Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba or Scarlet Johannson may be, women are almost always more attractive than girls. Michelle exemplified this to perfection in two good films; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha. In both films, her character’s vulnerability, inner pain, and life experience gave her beauty a certain weight?a gravitas, if you will?which was completely lacking in her stunning, yet callow, co-star, the gorgeous Zhang Ziyi.

9. Diane Sawyer, 62.

She has that Nordic blonde ice-queen kind of look going on. She has the intelligence, elegance and?dare I say?breeding one might expect of a Wellesley grad, yet manages to project a warmth and compassion not always found in the world of talking heads. She dated a fictional character in Something’s Gotta Give, and is married to director Mike Nichols, and is the best reason to watch TV early in the morning since Cory Everson hosted Body Shaping on ESPN in the ’80s.

8. Jane Seymour, 56.

Loved her as a Bond girl, even though they gave her great lines like, ”Oh, James!? and, ?It was in the cards!? She next became queen of the TV movie and played such iconic beauties as Bathsheba and a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. Cover her up in leather and a cowboy hat (Dr. Quinn): still gorgeous. Has twins?twins!–at age 44, couple of months later: extra weight gone, still gorgeous. Now on Dancing: aw, you guessed it. In spite of The Reaper, I don’t actually believe that people make deals with the devil, but if Jane looks this good in ten years, I may have to reconsider.

7. Sigourney Weaver, 58.

Tall and lithe, with a sculpted face, and a great smile. As Ripley in the Alien films, arguably blazed the trail for Xena, Buffy, The Fifth Element, Kill Bill and Alias. Showed a real flair for comedy in Ghostbusters and, especially, GalaxyQuest. You can see she still has got it, as she reprises Ripley in those endless Direct TV commercials.

6. Michelle Pfeiffer, 49.

She’s an American, blonde version of Sophia Loren: she got better looking as she got older. In Scarface, she was beautiful, but seemed kind of doll-like and unreachable. (Partly the character, I do realize.) In Ladyhawke, better looking. Witches of Eastwick, even better looking. Dangerous Liaisons and The Fabulous Baker Boys, just better and better. She was 42 in What Lies Beneath, 49 in Stardust.

For a woman who has never really considered herself beautiful (she once said, ”I look like a duck?), she has managed to get pulses racing for nearly 30 years. In the immortal words of Groucho, ?Lord, love a duck.?

5-1 after the jump. And yup it’s worth it.

5. TIE: Goldie Hawn, 61; Susan Sarandon, 61

Couldn’t choose just one Banger Sister, although it wasn’t that great a movie. Susan was wonderfully innocent in Rocky Horror more than thirty(!) years ago, hypnotic in Atlantic City, and all playful sexuality in Bull Durham. In real life, as she gets a little older, she gives off a hippie chick/earth mother/free love kind of vibe, even though she has been in a monogamous relationship with Tim Robbins for twenty years.

Goldie started as a go-go dancer in the Sixties (yes, Virginia, some people who lived in the Sixties are still alive!). With her dancer’s body and high voice, she perfected the role of the ditzy blonde on film, although, in real life she’s smart as a whip. Like her fellow Banger sister, she is in a long, monogamous, unmarried relationship (with Kurt Russell). Has a clone of herself that calls itself Kate Hudson. Has probably had some work done, but what the hell, she started in the Sixties, she’s in her sixties.

4. TIE: Angela Bassett, 49; Vanessa Williams, 44.

Couldn’t pick Halle, so these two combined equal her level of hotness. Angela was iconic sex symbol, Tina Turner, and has cheekbones that could slice cheese. On Ugly Betty, Vanessa still has the body, the face, the eyes to make you drop to your knees and give thanks to God. Both of these ladies exhibit the same kind of silky skin tone typified by Halle and Holly Robinson Peete. And, you have to admire the career Vanessa has built since losing her Miss America crown. (I personally felt that the nude photos were very artistic.)

3. Andie MacDowell, 49.

So, I admit it, I love shampoo commercials. I sit riveted, dreaming of running my fingers through long, dark tresses, and…. Sorry, I was gone for a second there. Anyway… the commercials show how great she still looks, but how appealing was she in Groundhog Day, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Multiplicity?

2. Elle Macpherson, 44.

Not content to be a supermodel (I just discovered if you accidentally type ?supermodel? without the U, you get spermodel, Freudian typo), she actually showed she can act in Sirens and The Edge, and held her own comedically against the cast of Friends. If you have seen her infomercial with the Pilates machine, you know she is still in supermodel shape. She is still doing Sports Illustrated swimsuit shots, by God. I would move to Australia, but I don’t drink beer, so I’m pretty sure they would deport me.

1. Heather Locklear, 46.

She was hot as the sweet young thing in T.J. Hooker and Dynasty. She was really hot as the vixen in Melrose Place. She somehow managed to be even sexier when she showed her comic side as Caitlin on Spin City. She almost lost her number one ranking when someone reminded me that she had dated David Spade, but ex-husbands Tommy Lee and Richie Sambora balance it out. Plus, she was rejected by her high school cheerleading squad, so I’ll bet you could talk her into?sorry, forget that. She has a smile that makes you think you’d crawl naked on your hands and knees through broken glass just to get next to her. Finally, once said in an interview that the way she kept in such great shape was by doing ?calf exercises.? Figure it out.


Even though I said I wanted to stay away from those just over 40, special Honorable Mention has to go to Cindy Crawford, 41. She still blows away most of her competition in an industry where you’re considered old at 28. Plus, she gets extra credit for the fact that ever since Fair Game with Stephen Baldwin she hasn’t tried to play any more dramatic leads.

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