Two months ago I expressed dismay that Jennifer Aniston had been voted sexiest woman of all time, and listed eight other women I considered far more attractive. I was then criticized for listing only white women, and offered this rebuttal.
But there have actually been three recent nonwhite stars I might have included in the original list had I thought of them at the time. All three are included on the basis of merit, if looks can be termed such, not on the basis of inclusivity.
Frieda Pinto's breakthrough role came in Slumdog Millionaire. It was impossible to take your eyes off her in that movie. Her beauty made it easier to empathize with the hero's feelings for her, which actually gave the movie more dramatic intensity. (Should there be an Oscar for "Most Beautiful"?)
Pinto's close-set eyes don't make her look particularly intelligent, but there's no denying her beauty:
Thandie Newton was the epitome of cool in RocknRolla. Her father was English, her mother Zimbabwean. She has suffered from bulimia in the past, which makes her a rarity among women of African descent. (According to Wikipedia, bulimia is primarily a disease of white girls; Asians and Africans rarely get it.)
Newton turns 40 this year, which means that her Hollywood expiration date is coming up. But for the past decade she has provided some great viewing:
Zhang Ziyi's breakthrough role came in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. There's something about her face which makes her appear to be the embodiment of steadfastness, purity, and all things good. (Imagine my dismay upon finding out that her fiance for the past several years had been a hedge fund billionaire.) She hasn't been in any big hits recently, but whenever she has appeared, she has always invested her roles with a certain nobility: