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Then and Now: 10 Women Who Prove Confidence is the Sexiest Trait

We’ve all heard it a million times, but it bears repeating: confidence is sexy. You can spend hours having professionals do your hair and makeup, wear the most expensive dress Neiman Marcus sells, and drench yourself in designer perfumes. But if you’re not emanating confidence from the inside out, none of that really matters.

Throughout history (we’re talking thousands of years), women have proven that confidence is absolutely the sexiest trait. And if you still think sexiness involves a certain dress size, face shape, or set of physical attributes, think again. These ten women, past and present, are all examples of the shamelessly sexy side of confidence.

#1 Cleopatra

Ignore all of Hollywood’s depictions of this Egyptian queen. The real Cleopatra wasn’t known for her physical beauty, but that didn’t stop her from having two of the world’s most powerful men wrapped around her finger. As one of history’s boldest women, Cleopatra proves that confidence can get you anything, from lovers to power.

#2 Queen Elizabeth I

From Past To Present -Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth I via Royal Museums Greenwich

England’s “Virgin Queen” had red hair, a face painted white with lead-based makeup, and black teeth due to the poor dental care of the era. But she still attracted an endless line of lusty suitors throughout her reign, including one who was 22 years her junior.

#3 Charlotte Brontë

From Past To Present - Charlotte Bronte
Charlotte Brontë via Wikipedia

Many know Charlotte Brontë as the author of Jane Eyre, but this seemingly dainty English rose had a whole different side to her as well. Charlotte’s intelligence and wit won her many admirers in London’s high society. And the fact that she chose to stay home and read, rather than entertain male attention, made her that much more desirable.

#4 Lady Ottoline Morrell

From Past To Present - Lady Ottoline Morell
Lady Ottoline Morrell via Fabulorum

Lady Ottoline Morrell can best be summed up as “the real life Lady Chatterley,” and it’s believed that she served as inspiration for the controversial classic. Hardly the vision of England’s traditional aristocracy, she was six feet tall, had bright red hair, wore colorful clothing, and was openly bisexual. But her charm, charisma and confidence kept a steady stream of lovers knocking at her door.

#5 Mae West

From Past To Present - Mae West
Mae West via A.V. Club

As one of Hollywood’s original bad girls and sex symbols, it’s hard to believe that Mae West’s enormous personality came in a petite, five foot tall package. With notable quotes like “Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before,” Mae was the perfect combination of confidence, humor, and sass – in other words, totally sexy.

#6 Frida Kahlo

Despite being in a traumatic bus crash that left her physically scarred at the age of 18, this Mexican-born artist didn’t allow the accident to affect her self-esteem. While some of us go through great lengths to be waxed, plucked and threaded, Frida purposely sported a unibrow and mustache. And it was an infectious air of confidence that made her irresistible to men and women alike.

#7 Eartha Kitt

From Past To Present - Eartha Kitt
Eartha Kitt via Wikia

From her sultry stare to her iconic purr-like voice, Eartha Kitt was an all-around show-stopper whose allure was backed by confidence, cheekiness, and wit.

#8 Sarah Jessica Parker

From Past To Present - Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker via Glamour

SJP proves that you don’t need to have classical traits in order to be sexy and steal the hearts of millions as Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw.

#9 Serena Williams

From Past To Present - Serena Williams
Serena Williams via Yahoo! Sports

Confidence is a necessity when you’re one of the world’s top athletes and constantly competing under pressure. Although Serena Williams has an amazing bod, it’s her inner strength and self-assurance that makes her a fan favorite.

#10 Ashley Graham

From Past To Present - Ashley Graham
Ashley Graham via NY Daily News

Model Ashley Graham has a set of deadly curves and a face that can bring a grown man to his knees – and she knows it. Not only has her confident aura helped her succeed in the overcrowded modeling world, but the fact that she works to instill confidence in others takes her “sexy factor” to the next level.

We’ll say it again: confidence is sexy!

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