16. Kristen Stewart
At 19, actress Kristen Stewart is the youngest woman to appear in the top twenty of the Hot 100. Maybe that’s because she possesses a seriousness and confidence beyond her years, which probably helped land her roles working with Hollywood heavy-hitters like Jodie Foster (Panic Room), Sean Penn (Into the Wild), and Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke.
It was her breakthrough role in Twilight, that little film about a girl and a vampire, that won her legions of new female fans and proved that Stewart could hold her own in a big-budget blockbuster.
Fortunately for all of us, Twilight was the first in a series of film, so we’re guaranteed to see more of Stewart in the near future. And for those who prefer their movie heroines to be a little less boy-crazy, you’ll be pleased to know that she’ll star as Joan Jett (yes, the Joan Jett) in the upcoming bio pic about Jett’s all-girl rock band, The Runaways.
17. Jordana Brewster
(No. 22 in 2008)
Ever since her appearance in D.E.B.S., out director’s Angela Robinson‘s romantic comedy about a teen special agent and the criminal mastermind who loves her, Jordana Brewster has been a person of interest to queer women. Sure, she’s played a variety of roles since that of the smitten thief Lucy Diamond, but it’s that one that made us take notice and follow her career in earnest. Mischievous, passionate, and wildly romantic Brewster’s Diamond was irresistible to Amy (Sara Foster) and us. Of course, those exquisitely sculpted cheekbones didn’t hurt either.
This year, Brewster’s fans got the special treat of seeing her in both film and television roles. She played the ex-girlfriend of the title character in multiple episodes of Chuck, and co-starred with bad girl Michelle Rodriguez (and a couple of guys) in the street-racing franchise Fast & Furious. So now we can all add "driving a suped-up ride" to our list of reasons to love Jordana Brewster
18. Clementine Ford*
Clementine Ford makes an impressive debut on the Hot 100 this year as part of the top twenty. In the last two seasons of The L Word, Ford turned heads as Molly, the formerly straight girl who lost her heart to Shane (Kate Moennig). While being one of the many casualties of the resident lothario could have been a thankless role, Ford brought strength and sass to the part. And the fact that she played it alongside her real-life mother (Cybill Shepherd) made it even easier to see the a spirited nature and classic beauty runs in the family.
But its Ford’s real life activities that may have sent her rocketing up to the top region of the Hot 100 list this year. In addition to being an advocate for LGBT youth, the actress also came out as a lesbian in 2009. In doing so, Ford joined the woefully short (but growing!) list of out performers who refuse to buy into the old Hollywood mythology that coming out is a form of career suicide. Soon after The L Word ended, Ford took up residence on the venerable soap opera The Young and the Restless. Out, outspoken and a magnetic beauty, we expect to see Ms. Ford again here next year.
19. Olivia Wilde
(No. 30 in 2008)
In FOX’s wry medical drama House, M.D., Olivia Wilde plays Thirteen, a bisexual doctor whose off-duty sexual escapades have garnered her a lot of attention. This on top of her role as edgy bisexual Alex on The O.C. years ago likely propelled her up the Hot 100 list).
Wilde has speculated that her House character’s "gay sex scene" made her unpopular with viewers. But the good news is that it’s made her one of the few queer female characters left on broadcast television. Though some queer fans have been disappointed by the brevity of her affairs with women and the severe editing of a very sexy lesbian love scene that was teased in commercials but tamed for the actual episode, we still tune in for Wilde’s portrayal of a strong-willed, unapologetically sexual woman whose fragile health leads her to tempt fate.
For now, Wilde has strayed from the hospital in favor of the virtual world, starring in the upcoming sci-fi sequel, Tron 2.0 (2011). We can’t think of anyone else we’d rather see in 3-D.
20. Tegan Quin*
(Tied for No. 67 in 2008)
As one half of the rock band she formed with her twin sister (Tegan and Sara), Tegan Quin’s official bio is written almost entirely in the plural "we." But Tegan Quin is definitely her own woman, and her fans proved the point by voting her into the last spot in top twenty on our list.
The elder sister (by eight whole minutes), Quin has been playing music since childhood and has been touring with her sister for over a decade. But she regularly finds time to work on separate projects, like a song for the audio book version of out author Augusten Burroughs‘s latest novel, A Wolf at the Table and collaborating with Hunter Burgan. Quin is also politically active, lending her support to causes including gay marriage and animal rights.
Already known for her amusing onstage banter with sister Sara, Quin’s hilarious appearance on AE vlog This Just Out With Liz Feldman (playing a round of "Who’s Gayer?") proved that this serious musician is seriously funny too.