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46 Is The New 29, Or Something: Johnny Depp Is 2009’s Sexiest Man Alive

November 19, 2009

It’s official.  Johnny Depp is 2009’s Sexiest Man Alive, if you believe People.  The magazine just bestowed the title on Depp for his second win, the first time being in 2003.  How does People decide which one man out of the 3,324,047,000 in the world is the sexiest, besides simply going with their default choice, me?  I have no idea, but of the 24 years the award has been handed out, only one was not an actor: John F. Kennedy, Jr. in 1988.  (No such prize was handed out in 1994, so no one knew who to find sexy in that year.)  Apparently looking really good, or perhaps “rugged”–they are not the same: see 1992 winner Nick Nolte–makes someone “sexy.”  However, even guys like Harry Hamlin (um, “rugged”?) and Mark Harmon (no, not the Double Dare guy, the guy from Summer School and NCIS) have been, well, something enough to win the prize, so there is hope for you.

It’s worth noting that the average age of an SMA winner is right at 40, and Depp is 46.  America, and a lot of the rest of the world, seem to find advanced age sexy in men.  (I’m not at all suggesting older men can’t be desirish, just an observation.)  The youngest winner was John F. Kennedy, Jr., who was 27 when he took home the award in 1988.  The oldest was Sean Connery the next year, at  59.  A bunch are clustered between 35 and 45, though, which seems to be the sweet spot for male sexiness.

Contrast that with Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive, whose average winner is barely 30, a ten year difference over People’s SMA.  It could be that with People’s readers, being about 2-1 female with a median age of 38-40, simply find men in their age cohort sexier on average than those outside it.  Funny, though, that Esquire, with a 69% male readership with median age 43.6, would find women sexiest when significantly younger (if the editorial board is any reflection of the subscriber demographic).  Mind you, the Esquire SWA award has only been given out for six years, so sample size is small.  But I wager that we’ll see similar ages for their Sexiest Women in the coming years.

It’s no secret that Hollywood and film in general favor younger women who are considered more physically attractive (see TBTS columns about Sienna Miller and Megan Fox, for instance), at least when it comes to screen time.  The more “bankable” actresses, however, tend toward the over-30 crowd: Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, etc.  And while the screen does love a young actor like Robert Pattinson, Zac Efron, or Chace Crawford, the real earning power lies with Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, George Clooney, and Mel Gibson, older men who tend to dominate the producer/director credits and the marquees.

All that said, Depp seems as good a choice as any, though it would be nice to see someone in the field of science or writing or philanthropy wear the crown for a while.  I should point out, though, that two of the four multi-year winners, George Clooney and Johnny Depp, are Kentuckians.  Just sayin’…

  1. November 19, 2009 9:26 pm

    Talk about something that makes you feel a lot better about being in the second half of your thirties.

  2. October 7, 2010 9:46 am

    Johnny Depp is the hottest sexiest and funniest person in the world! How could anyone not love him! My friends all love Orlando Bloom but Johnny Depp is sooo much sexier and better than anyone else on earth!


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