Kat Dennings, Jessica Chastain and other young actresses on the brink

A new generation of talented women is taking their jobs seriously. The August issue of W magazine profiles eight emerging actresses who take on adventurous roles in risky underground films and outshine the preening boys of their age.

The first thing W says about this beautiful crop of young women is that they are not living in the margins of men. They ask, “Where are the boys? Where are the Robert Redfords and Paul Newmans of [Winter’s Bone star Jennifer Lawrence] age group? I love James Franco, but where’s the next James Franco? Where are the hunks who can act?”

Jennifer Lawrence

In this bold, somewhat awkward, introduction, they set up this new generation not only as feminists, but as sexual beings without the need for a male counterpart. These ladies can do it all, and they can do it by themselves. And their sexiest shots are with each other.

The most suggestive features indie darling Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Charleie Bartlett) bent beneath the piercing gaze of Julliard graduate Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life, Salome). They’re in a pose that expects a passionate kiss at any moment both wear strikingly gender neutral and incredibly sexy, black badass outfits.

Two women posing suggestively for the camera is not new imagery, but the emphasis of power in the hands of these upcoming stars, as well as their androgynous style, portends the potential for the trend of the fashionable bisexual to shift to a genuine appreciation for gender ambiguity and sexual fluidity.

The rest of the sexy shots are from the erudite Lawrence (“Even though I was 14, I knew I wasn’t a Disney kid”), Yaya DaCosta (The Messenger, The Kids Are All Right), Emma Roberts (Blow), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), mumblecore queen Greta Girwig, and the gorgeous gene combination of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, Zoë Kravitz (The Brave One, Californication).

Have you seen any of these women’s work?

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