Around this time each year, the various American men’s magazines release their lists of the hottest/most beautiful women, and every year, lesbian and bi women are left puzzled at many of the women they choose. So last year, we offered AfterEllen.com readers an opportunity to nominate the women you found most attractive, and the results were interesting — and decidedly different.
We opened up the poll for the second annual AfterEllen.com Hot 100 in early May, and received over 100,000 votes from lesbian and bisexual women around the world — again with different (and sometimes surprising) results.
Though many women from our first annual AfterEllen.com Hot 100 made the list again this year, there are a lot of new faces — like Gossip Girl‘s Blake Lively, Battlestar Galactica‘s Grace Park, and openly bisexual singer Missy Higgins. A few non-surprises? The woman who made Maxim‘s 100th spot, Tila Tequila, wasn’t even close to making our list, and their number-one choice, swimsuit model Marisa Miller, barely received any votes from AfterEllen.com readers. In fact, just like last year, only two of Maxim‘s top 10 showed up anywhere on our list.
On the other hand, FHM‘s No.1 hottie, Megan Fox, made our list by a lesbian country mile, proving there are some women that straight men and queer women agree on.
After disregarding multiple votes from the same IP address, tossing out nominations for "my girlfriend", and then counting the remaining votes, we discovered the number-one hottest woman this year according to lesbian and bi women is … Tina Fey! Coming in a close second is The L Word‘s Jennifer Beals, followed by our own AfterEllen.com vloggers Jill Bennett and Bridget McManus, and finally, out actress/musician Leisha Hailey (which means three out of the top five are openly gay).
The woman who made perhaps the biggest jump in rank this year is actress Sara Ramirez, who rose from No. 80 in 2007 to No. 8 in 2008, proving that playing gay can be good for your career! (OK, so the voting was closed before her character came out on Grey’s, but we lesbians have excellent gaydar, even for fictional TV characters.)
Other stats about this year’s list? There are 18 women of color — a definite improvement over last year — and 21 openly gay/bi women on the list (seven of whom are AfterEllen.com vloggers), which is more than double the number on last year’s list. We’ve put asterisks next to the names of the women on the list who are openly gay or bisexual. (There may be other women on the list who are queer, but we’re only noting the ones who are out.)
Our list includes women from all over the world — from countries as diverse as Canada, England, France, India, Mexico, Norway, and Spain — and women who vary in age from 18 to 57 years old. Although the vast majority of women on the list are actors or TV personalities, there are some musicians this year, as well as a few writers, a chef, and an athlete.
There are some similarities to the 2007 AfterEllen.com Hot 100. Many of the same women made both lists, and like last year, many of the women on this year’s list have played lesbian or bi characters on-screen, or expressed support for gay rights off-screen. (What can we say, we like women who like us!) Angie Harmon is once again the only openly conservative Republican to make our list — she even moved up in rank quite a bit this year— which is consistent with one of the prominent themes of the 2008 Hot 100: we really do love the bad girls! We also love the smart ones — or at least, the ones who play smart women on TV.
The following pages provide photos for all 100 women in ascending order according to your votes, with some further details provided about the first 25. We’ve also linked each woman’s name to other articles about her on AfterEllen.com, in case you want to do some more reading about them, and we’ve listed each woman’s rank on the 2007 list below her name.
This year, in addition to the photos, we’ve created a video countdown of all the women on the list with commentary provided by various lesbian and bi women (and a few token straight women) that AfterEllen.com readers know and love. You can watch the video countdown here as it’s rolled out in installments each day this week through Thursday.
And when you need a break from looking at all the hot women, check out our brother site’s list of the hottest men according to gay and bi men, on the AfterElton.com 2008 Hot 100 — you might even see some lesbian-ish men there!
Now on to your votes for the hottest women of 2008!
1. TINA FEY
(No. 7 in 2007)
Last October, Tina Fey mentioned the fact that she was No. 7 on last year’s Hot 100 on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and a mere nine months later, she’s riding high as No. 1 on the 2008 AfterEllen.com Hot 100. Coincidence? We don’t think so. Take one part Fey’s support of the LGBT community, add her critical and comedic success in 30 Rock and Baby Mama (not to mention her hilarious Saturday Night Live sketches), mix it all together with some awesome black-rimmed glasses and bicurious shoes, and you’ve got a new lesbian icon. Smart, sexy, funny and down-to-earth: That’s what lesbians like!
(No. 6 in 2007)
Always intelligent, poised and on the best-dressed lists, Jennifer Beals has also become an advocate for LGBT rights through her role as Bette Porter on The L Word. The biracial actress told AfterEllen.com last month at the San Francisco GLAAD Awards, "I feel connected to the LGBT community by virtue of having always felt ‘other.’" Beals has made Bette one of The L Word‘s sexiest characters, whether she’s having a fling with her intern, being a demanding professor or reuniting (finally!) with Laurel Holloman’s Tina. Given that next year will mark the last season of The L Word, we won’t be surprised if Beals gives Tina Fey some competition for the No. 1 spot in 2009.
3. JILL BENNETT *
What’s better than a good lesbian film or television character? A good lesbian film or television character actually portrayed by an out lesbian actor! Hot 100 newcomer Jill Bennett first came to our attention when she co-starred with lesbian favorite Mariel Hemingway in 2006′s In Her Line of Fire, then landed a memorable role as demonic hottie in here! TV’s supernatural soap opera Dante’s Cove. Her status as an internet sensation was sealed this year with the popularity of her AfterEllen.com vlog We’re Getting Nowhere, and with her portrayal of carnivorous, gun-toting seductress Andrea in the bawdy web series 3Way. Sexy, smart and unapologetically out since day one of her acting career, Bennett is a brink-of-fame actress whom AfterEllen.com readers can take full credit for discovering.
4. BRIDGET MCMANUS*
Who’s our favorite flexible, flirty and funny lesbian? Comedian Bridget McManus, of course! The 28-year-old former All American cheerleader came to the attention of AfterEllen.com readers after a guest appearance on the vlog We’re Getting Nowhere. You demanded more McManus, and the hit AfterEllen.com vlog Brunch With Bridget was born. Broadcasting each week from her bed in Los Angeles, the professionally random McManus talks to her female guests about a variety of topics and ends each episode by cajoling them into a "pillow fight to the death." She also made a memorable cameo as Rhonda the Rapid Delivery girl on the web series 3Way, and can be seen this summer in a very brief appearance in the Angelina Jolie blockbuster Wanted. Look for her in the upcoming comedy documentary, Laughing Matters: The Next Generation, and prepare to tell the rest of the world that you knew her way back when.
5. LEISHA HAILEY*
(No. 1 in 2007)
Last year’s No. 1 hottie moves down a few spots this year, but that doesn’t mean that Leisha Hailey is any less adorable these days. Though her L Word character, the bubbly Alice Pieszecki, went through some ups and downs last season, Hailey’s career is on an upswing. Having just wrapped up a tour with her band, Uh Huh Her, Leisha’s preparing for the band’s first album to debut in August, and she’s also signed on as a spokesperson for Olivia. Openly gay, a killer guitar player, and simultaneously sweet and edgy? That’s hotness personified!