10 Women Who Make Being Curvy Sexy
Have you heard? The Season 4 premiere of Mad Men is this Sunday. Everyone I know is excited about it and Mad Man fever is seemingly everywhere.
Confession: I have never seen an episode of Mad Men. I know, I know – how is that possible? Everyone watches Mad Men, right?
Nope, not me. Mad Men has become a casualty of my efforts to avoid getting sucked into a new TV show. Despite this, I am still very aware of the phenomenal 1960s-inspired design and fashion on the show and admire the talented cast. I adore Christina Hendricks. She is an unbelievably gorgeous woman who embraces her curves and carries them beautifully. Mad Men fever got me thinking about the other women who have not only embraced but also worked their curves over the years. Here are a few of my favorites (in no particular order):
- Christina Hendricks: her role as the uber-curvaceous Joan on Mad Men made her a household name, but it’s her “period body” that has made her famous. Mad Men creator Matt Weiner told the LA Times that the show looks for actors whose bodies accurately represent the silhouettes of the 1960s. That means the women on the show have to have natural curves and normal proportions. Christina maintains a positive self-image that is refreshing, despite running into some criticism this past Awards season. She recently told Health magazine that back in her modeling days she gained 15 pounds when she moved to Italy. “And I felt gorgeous!” she said. “I would take my clothes off in front of the mirror and be like, Oh, I look like a woman. And I felt beautiful, and I never tried to lose it, ’cause I loved it.” What’s not to love about a statement like that?
|Esquire Russia, June 2010|
- Marilyn Monroe: It’s impossible to discuss this topic without mentioning the timeless beauty of Norma Jean Mortenson (aka Marilyn Monroe). Marilyn is the quintessential sex symbol. She had a perfect hourglass figure, and she loved to show off that figure. It’s even been said that she liked to wear her clothing so tight that her dresses were often sewn onto her body. To this day her actual weight and measurements are debated, and likely always will be. Some say she would be considered “fat” by today’s standards, which may very well be true if we are talking about Hollywood or fashion industry standards. In the real world, however, Marilyn would never be considered fat. A bombshell, yes. Fat? No.
|Marilyn by Sam Shaw, in Amagansett, New York, 1957.|
- Beyoncé: The word “bootylicious” is often used to describe Beyoncé Knowles. It’s actually a very accurate description. Although there are other well-known women who are known for their “booties”, it is Beyoncé that is the all around package. Again, she has a fabulous hourglass figure that many women would love to have and many men would love to get their hands on. She is curvaceous and proud of it. Beyoncé told US Weekly how she feels about being curvy. “I feel best when I’m not really thin and not really heavy – when I’m still curvy. I really believe that everyone is supposed to be different, and whatever is a natural weight for you is usually what looks best. I never want to get to that point where it’s not natural. […] I think it’s important to feel like a woman, as well as look like a woman.” She hit the nail right on the head. Every woman is different, and therefore every body is different.
|Sports Illustrated, Winter 2007|
- Sophia Loren: Dark. Sultry. Italian. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful women in the world, Sophia Loren is also an extremely talented actress. Her career in film began in 1951 when she was only 16 years old. She went on to star in over 90 films and has received much critical acclaim for her work. At the same time, her looks and sex appeal never went unnoticed. She knew that and she owned her curves. “Everything you see I owe to spaghetti” she said. I wish I could eat spaghetti and look like she did! Sophia is just as striking and voluptuous today as she was in her youth. She even posed – at the age of 72 – in a racy spread for the Pirelli calendar, sharing the pages with Penelope Cruz and Naomi Watts among others. Confidence is sexy, and Sophia has loads of both – innate sexiness and confidence.
|Sophia in her youth (Left), Sophia at 72 (Right)|
- Tyra Banks: Full disclosure: I am not a huge fan of Tyra. I don’t care for her talk show, and America’s Top Model isn’t my cup of tea. However, I do admire the way she handled the public scrutiny that came with her own weight gain a few years ago. She gained about 30 pounds and went from having the figure of a supermodel to having the figure of an average size 12 – 14 American woman. She not only defended her weight gain to critics, she also stayed that size for a few more years. Today she’s slimmed down again (but remains curvy!), but I respect how she handled herself throughout the more curvaceous years.
|A curvier Tyra on the runway|
- Kate Winslet: I have a girl-crush on Kate Winslet. It started back in 1997. There was that one scene in Titanic. That extremely sensual, sexy scene where Leo/Jack paints her nude portrait. I watched and kept thinking “wow, she isn’t a stick like most actresses. She actually has curves. And she is doing a nude scene!” Simple as that, my girl-crush developed. Like Christina Hendricks today, Kate was criticized for her size when Titanic came out. Though she is significantly smaller today than she was in 1997, I have a ton of respect for how she handled that criticism. She has repeatedly stated that she will not let Hollywood dictate her weight and stands by that. She holds firm in the belief that you need to be happy with your body. While promoting “Little Children” in 2006, Kate shared that “more than ever now, I believe it’s so important to look as real and true to life as possible, because nobody’s perfect. I seem to be on a mission, but I don’t want the next generation, your daughters and mine, growing up thinking that you have to be thin to look beautiful in certain clothes. It’s terrifying right now. It’s out of control. It’s beyond out of control.” I love her attitude. Plus, she’s beautiful and quite possibly the best actress out there today. Yeah, girl-crush.
| Harper’s BAZAAR, August 2009 (Left), Madame Figaro, January 2009 (Right)|
- Sara Ramirez: Sara joined the cast of Grey’s Anatomy in 2005 as orthopedic surgeon Callie Torres. In interviews she has been very open about her struggles with weightloss and low self-esteem, and shares that her weight has yo-yoed from a size 6 to size 14 over the years. Her struggles hit close to home for me, as does her acceptance of who she is now. “I’m not going to lie” she told Glamour magazine. “I still have days when I walk by the mirror on my way to the shower and think, oh God, I didn’t just see that! But I’ve learned to stop myself and ask, am I being realistic? What do I love about my body? What am I grateful for? The answers to those questions remind me that I’m very blessed.” I sometimes ask myself those very same questions.
- Jane Russell: Jane was a popular American film actress of the 1940s and 1950s. Although lesser known than her contemporary, Marilyn Monroe, Jane was actually the more voluptuous of the two. She was signed by Howard Hughes and starred in a number of his films. She went on to also have a musical career, but while focusing on film her cleavage caused some controversy and even censorship. The photo below where she is lounging on a haystack was a popular pin-up with servicemen during World War II. She was a striking beauty in her day. Jane, like Marilyn, would likely be considered overweight by today’s Hollywood and fashion industry standards. Yet, like Marilyn, she remains a popular sex symbol to this day.
| The Outlaw, 1943 (Left), Unknown (Right)|
- Queen Latifah: Queen Latifah is another woman who works her curves. In an effort to get healthier, she joined the Jenny Craig program and proceeded to lose 20 – 30 pounds. She turned 40 this year and looks absolutely fabulous. In 2009 she told Access Hollwood that “it’s not about losing weight or what you look like. […] it’s losing it for the purposes of being more healthy.” Being healthy should always be the #1 priority.
|2010 Academy Awards|
- Mae West: Before Marilyn. Before Sophia. Before Brigitte. Before Raquel. Before Farrah. There was Mae. Mae West was the original sex symbol. Born in 1893, Mae West was an American actress, playwright and screenwriter. She was an American icon famous for her voluptuous figure, quick wit, and sexy innuendos. In a February 2000 piece for Salon Magazine, Cintra Wilson stated that “[Mae] was an unstopping font of self-approval, who could justify any passion for herself, any look, any sensation, any sin; she was, in her way, truly liberated. When the fashion of the time shifted away from her body type, she adopted a different decade; West got herself up as an 1890s good-time girl in order to make the most of her womanly mounds instead of trying to bind herself into the no-hipped, no-breasted flapper look of the ’20s. When she didn’t like her lines, she rewrote them. When acting roles stopped coming her way, she wrote her own. When the cops came, she laughed.” She was the first sex symbol and a rebel.
|Mae West, Dates Unknown|
Sophia Loren once said “I think the quality of sexiness comes from within. It is something that is in you or it isn’t and it really doesn’t have much to do with breasts or thighs or the pout of your lips.” I agree. Each of these women is different. Each is sexy. Each is beautiful.
Do you disagree with any of the names on this list?
Who would you add?
All images courtesy of Google images