Photo: Instagram/Ines Helen
Truly we live in a spectacular age of babeage. In olden times, to appreciate beautiful women you’d have to be lucky enough to catch them in music videos or on well-rewound VHS movies. But now there are gorgeous ladies everywhere you look. Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, magazines, movies, TV shows – the world is swimming in hotties. That makes compiling a list of the 10 hottest of 2016 more difficult, true, but we could certainly imagine worse problems to have. Here’s our 100% authoritative, fact-based ranking of 2016’s ten hottest women.
For all of its problems, 2016 was a year of breaking barriers, and some of our favorite women were leading the charge. Misty Copeland became the first ever African-American principal dancer in the 75 year history of the American Ballet Theatre, decimating preconceptions about what a ballerina is “supposed to look like.” The flabbergastingly gifted performer didn’t even start ballet until she was 13, but took too it like a swan to water. She also toured with Prince as a backup dancer before he passed away, had a documentary about her released last year and was interviewed alongside Barack Obama. That’s a pretty stacked resume even if you take the ballet stuff out! She’s set to dance in Disney’s upcoming The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which will just boost her profile even further.
One thing we’re pretty sure of is that we’re going to be hearing a lot more from Russia in the next four years, as our new President seems pretty cozy with Putin and his homies. If we get more exports like Irina Valeryevna Shaykhlislamova, we’re all for it. That mouthful of a woman is more commonly known as Irina Shayk, one of the most coveted models in the world. Since breaking through with the cover spot on the 2011 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, the coal miner’s daughter has appeared in hundreds of magazines, walked the runway for just about every major fashion house in the world, and made her acting debut opposite the Rock in Hercules. She’s currently shacking up with Bradley Cooper in New York City, that lucky bastard.
It’s fair to say that Batman Vs. Superman was one of the biggest disappointments of 2016, but one thing stood out like a ray of hope: Gal Gadot and her brief turn as Wonder Woman. The Israeli actress perfectly captured the mixture of hotness and badassdom that we need today. Once the trailer dropped for her solo movie, we were completely sold. Gadot got her start as 2004’s Miss Israel before taking a few TV roles. 2009’s Fast & Furious gave American audiences their first glimpse of her myriad talents. She also has one of the best possible hobbies for a hot girl to have: tearing up the pavement on her Ducati Monster S2R motorcycle. The last few weeks have seen a few bumps in the road, though, as the United Nations rescinded their offer to have Gadot as Wonder Woman be a honorary ambassador for gender equality due to her “unrealistic proportions.” Where we’re from, that’s a good thing.
Dubbed by Playboy the “Swedish Unicorn,” Ines Helene is one of a new breed of insanely beautiful women using social media to find fame. The Instagram model has a million and a half people hanging on her every photo, and she’s using that leverage to do some good in the world. The 24 year old Swede is a tireless advocate for human rights issues, working with nonprofit Jun 28 to help Syrian refugees and spreading news about world events on her Twitter to educate and advocate to her fans who are mostly just tuning in for the cleavage. She’s also remarkably open and engaging, really making it a two-way conversation. Helene was in school to become a financial analyst when Instagram fame struck, but she put her studies on hold to focus on building her personal brand. She’s a perfect combination of brains and beauty and the future holds great things for her.
It’s somewhat unfair to choose just one Victoria’s Secret Angel for this list, but in our view 2016 was the year of Jasmine Tookes. The ex-gymnast from Huntington Beach had a fantastic year in front of the cameras, wringing every inch of hotness out of her African, Brazilian and West Indian ancestry. She wore the $3 million Fantasy Bra at the annual VS show in Paris, as well as making her debut on Forbes’ list of top earning models. In October, she shocked the world when Victoria’s Secret released images of her posing in lingerie seemingly without the rampant Photoshopping the brand is known for. Surprise – even with stretch marks on her thighs she’s still one of the most beautiful women on Earth, and props for stepping out of the digital editing addiction.
Yes, Game of Thrones has lost some of its luster in a post-Westworld world, but our heart will always belong to Khaleesi. Emilia Clarke is about as perfect as a woman can get except for dating Seth MacFarlane, and we’ll even forgive her for that egregious breach in sanity. Before GoT, Clarke’s biggest part was in a SyFy original movie, so she’s definitely leveraged success well. The English actress has made some extremely smart career decisions, most notably turning down the lead in Fifty Shades Of Grey. 2015 saw her performing one of the year’s greatest nude scenes as she burned down the Dothraki city and walked starkers through the roaring flames. She’s about to truly cement her geek culture bona fides with a major role in the upcoming Han Solo movie, so we expect big things from this one even if she never sits on the Iron Throne.
Oh, Instagram. Somehow you’ve become a magical portal to the sexiest women in the world for the low, low cost of nothing. Hotties have discovered that they can leverage selfies into success, and few have pulled it off as bodaciously as Abigail Ratchford. The outrageously bosomy model has racked up a staggering 6.2 million followers as I write this, and one glance at her will explain why. The Pennsylvania-born model is a Euro mutt with Irish, German and French blood in here, and after she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career she burst through to viral stardom with an Instagram video of herself trying to close a bra over her insanely bodacious cans and then bouncing them around. But she’s more than just a pretty face and a nice rack – Ratchford is a savvy businesswoman who has built her brand on trust, meaning she’s in for a long and lovely career.
One thing you might notice about this list is that there are a lot of strong ass women on it. Even though Clinton didn’t break the glass ceiling of the highest office in the land, 2016 was great for the fairer sex showing their muscle. For the last few years, one of the most badass women on TV has been Lagertha on the History Channel’s Vikings, played by Canadian actress Katheryn Winnick. Starting as a shieldmaiden for her husband, Lagertha’s ascent to power is merciless and bloody, and she looks great every step of the way. Winnick is a badass in real life as well, holding black belts in karate and tae kwon do. She founded multiple martial arts schools in Canada before moving to the United States to pursue an acting career.
What do we even say about Beyonce anymore? She’s Beyonce. It’s like being Batman or something. It would take an act of God to dethrone Queen Bey from these year-end lists, but she’s not resting on her laurels and taking Blue Ivy to 21 Handles every day. Instead, she’s releasing some of the most aggressive, personal music of her career with the ambitious visual album Lemonade. Her performance at Super Bowl 50 earlier in the year showed she was not interested in pussyfooting around, with bold declarations of Black solidarity. That kicked off a world tour which packed houses. What else? One of the finalists for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, massive success in business, and her marriage to Jay-Z seems stronger than ever after all the drama.
How nuts is 2016? A hockey player is one of the hottest women on the planet. Anything is possible, people. Hilary Knight is a gorgeous brunette who played on her college team in Wisconsin, the youngest player to ever make the roster for Team USA, and a two-time Olympian. She played for a season in Canada, where last year’s creation of the National Women’s Hockey League saw four teams founded, and Knight was signed to the Boston Pride, where she’s continued to excel. She’s widely considered the single best female hockey player in the world, and amazingly all of the action on the ice hasn’t blasted out any of her teeth or given her any visible blade scars. Knight is a great role model for women interested in building muscle while still looking hot, and she’s been remarkably open about body positivity.