During Women’s History Month, we’d like to celebrate an aspect of historical females often overlooked by historians: their hotness. Powerful women throughout history have used their beauty as well as their intelligence to get ahead. It’s something successful modern women continue to do today. Here we will explore the history of hot and resourceful women and celebrate them the best way we know how: with a top 10 list.
The women on our list are ranked not only by beauty, but their historical significance and their effect on the men of their time. To be considered, they have to be dead and mentioned in history classes. We’ve excluded entertainers because there are already too many of those lists. Besides, we didn’t need them. Our list is political, royal, literary, and stands up to any celebrity list on the sexy scale.
No.10 - Charlotte Brontë
The eldest novelist of the three famous Brontë sisters, Charlotte Brontë had a dark family past. You know what that means? Daddy issues. Case in point, she married her father’s caretaker when her father was dying. Regardless, her wit and intelligence could match any gentleman of her time. Her book Jane Eyre sparked an early feminist movement and made her very popular in London’s high-class social circles. Still, she remained a homebody, preferring to curl up with a book of poetry. Imagine her reading to you by firelight with her impeccable English accent.
No.9 - Joan Of Arc
There’s something sexy about a fair French girl who could kick your ass. Add the suit of armor and things just get kinky. This hot historical woman grew up a farm girl during the Hundred Years’ War between England and France. At 12 years old, divine visions told her to drive the English from her homeland. By 16, she led French forces in a number of successful attacks against the British. She had to wear men’s clothing and cut her hair short to not be seen as a sexual object. Still, she managed to inspire an army of men twice her age to follow her.
No.8 - Marie Antoinette
At 14 years old, Marie’s parents married her off to the 16 year-old Louis XVI. The young Austrian’s high fashion sense, height, fair skin, pale blond hair, and deep blue eyes stole the French people’s hearts. Known for such feminine virtues as charity and musical ability, this hottest of historical women could also hang with the guys; she loved horseback riding and gambling. Louis XVI was a lucky man -- too bad he was a dud in the sack. This led many rumors about the Queen’s affairs with both men and women, making her one of the naughtiest women on this list.
No.7 - Soong Ching Ling
Known in China as “mother of the nation,” Soong Ching Ling assured her place in history by advocating for internationalism and peace. The Chinese people loved her beauty, fashion and intelligence. Having gone to the United States for college, she had an uncommon perspective for a Chinese woman in the early 20th century. Refusing to take the quiet role expected of most Chinese women of her era, she openly criticized the government even though her family members were political leaders. After the Communist Party took control, they honored her activism and later named her Honorary President of the People's Republic of China.
No.6 - Queen Elizabeth I
An early inspiration for the Pussycat Dolls, Elizabeth sang “I Don’t Need A Man” way back in the 16th Century. Known as The Virgin Queen (although that’s doubtful), this hot historical woman ruler attracted more suitors than a pack of Angelina Jolies. Elizabeth’s serious game of “playing hard to get” drove men mad. Guys always want what they can’t have, especially when it’s a sexy, all-powerful queen. It’s said that her last courtship ended when she was aged 48; it was with François, Duke of Anjou, 22 years her junior. That mature minx!
No.5 - Princess Diana
Known for her beauty, fashion sense, charisma, and high-profile charity work, Diana became a worldwide celebrity after her marriage to Prince Charles. She breathed new life into the stuffy British aristocracy, wearing elegant gowns that screamed rather than whispered. During her lifetime, people often called her the world’s most photographed person. Unfortunately, that also led to her death. A BBC poll named her the third greatest Briton of all time, ahead of Charles Darwin and Margaret Thatcher. Of course, she’s a lot hotter.
No.4 - Mata Hari
A Dutch-Frisian exotic dancer in Paris during World War I, Mata Hari also worked as a double agent. She moved to France from her native Netherlands and won acclaim as a dancer with her promiscuity, flirtatiousness and willingness to flaunt her body in a way that was rare in the early 1900s. Since the Netherlands remained neutral during WWI, Mata Hari could move freely between borders as a Dutch subject. She was a courtesan to many high-ranking allied military officers during this time. In 1917, French intelligence agents intercepted a German message describing their spy in Paris known as H-21. They later identified H-21 as Mata Hari and executed her by firing squad. There’s always something sexy about the Bond villainess, and this hot historical woman was the real thing.
No.3 - Martha Washington
Chock this one up to science being used for good and not evil. A team of historians, curators and forensic anthropologists have concluded that our very first First Lady was not the droopy double-chinned frump we previously thought. She was a hottie! Using a computerized age-regression portrait, they peeled away the wrinkles and revealed a slim, sexy, brunette Helen-Hunt lookalike in her 20s. No wonder Washington killed so many Redcoats and crossed the Delaware. He had to get home to America’s first pinup girl.
No.2 - Cleopatra
In recent years, historians have wondered about the extent of Cleopatra’s beauty. Certain depictions of her from the era show her nose to be quite large. However, back then a strong nose showed dominance and strength of character. Cassius Dio, a Roman historian, wrote of this hot historical woman: "For she was a woman of surpassing beauty; she also possessed a most charming voice and a knowledge of how to make herself agreeable to every one.” Big nose or not, she charmed and bore the sons of the most powerful men of the Roman Empire: Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. The latter forgot he had a wife back home and married Cleopatra.
No.1 - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
A stunning beauty well before the White House, Jackie made her society debut in 1947, causing a Hearst columnist to dub her “Debutante of the Year.” It didn’t take long for the wandering eyes of John F. to catch sight of her. At age 31, Jackie O. became one of the youngest First Ladies in history. Cultured and intelligent and with the looks of a supermodel, the American people immediately loved her. Her love for art and music brought hipness to the Pennsylvania Avenue that hadn’t been there before. She remains the sexiest First Lady ever. Sorry Michelle, you’re hot, but Jackie is a tough act to follow.