Sunday, 5 December 2010

English (and 2 Welsh) Women - A Personal Obsession

As my time in England draws to a close, I must admit that I have failed in my great master plan to obtain an English girlfriend and conduct a knee-buckling transatlantic romance.  Ah well, whatever.  She's waiting somewhere out there for me.  In the meantime, enjoy this small (actually, as I continue to add new women, it's become quite the opposite of small - woops) collection of the most beautiful of all England's fair roses.

Diana, Princess of Wales
How can you have a discussion of beautiful English women without mentioning the English Rose herself?  Diana had timeless beauty, grace, and elegance; and all those qualities live on with her memory.

Vivian Leigh
One of the most talented actresses to ever grace the big screen, this two time Oscar winner was married to Laurence Olivier, himself one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation.  Her timeless beauty has been preserved in the surprisingly few films she completed during her too brief lifetime.

Elizabeth Taylor
Much like her predecessor Vivian Leigh, this two time Oscar winning British-American actress combined a striking dark beauty with loads and loads of acting talent, which just doesn't seem fair if you ask me.  She may have gone to pot in recent years, but her violet eyes captivated men (and women) for years.

Jane Seymour
Dr. Quinn, medicine woman herself, Jane Seymour is the embodiment of English elegance.  Still smoking hot in her sixties, too!

Kate Bush
My favorite musician, this enigmatic singer has challenged listeners with her unusually erudite songwriting and musical experimentation.  Oh yeah, did I mention she's gorgeous?

Helen Mirren
This Oscar winning actress is descended from Russian nobility!  Along with Jane Seymour, she redefines what it means to be aging gracefully.  A tremendous actress and a beautiful woman.

Helena Bonham Carter
One of England's most recognizable faces, this alluring and unusual actress is a direct descendant of one of Britain's former Prime Ministers.  She specializes in Merchant Ivory adaptations of EM Forster novels and strange, dark roles created by her longtime boyfriend, Tim Burton.

Patsy Kensit
This lesser known English actress can be seen in sundry BBC adaptations of classic novels and in Lethal Weapon 2.  She's a natural blonde, but I've seen her with dark hair in different roles, and I think it suits her even better.  Additionally, she's married to the lead singer of Oasis.  I think she sings too.

Romola Garai
This blonde bombshell deserves to be better known than she is.  Romola is a talented actress and can be seen in such films as Nicholas Nickleby, Dirty Dancing - Havana Nights, and Atonement.

Julie Christie
The original British blonde bombshell, Ms. Christie and her Oscar are aging just as gracefully as Helen Mirren.  My dad had a crush on her when he was younger.

Lauren Cohan
This British-American woman is actually a good actress, so I have no idea why the only movie in which I've seen her is Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj.  She also had a recurring role on Supernatural.  She has the most GORGEOUS voice ever.

Keira Knightley
THE next British sex symbol.  I guarantee it.  Girl seriously needs to eat a sandwich though.  Nonetheless, Ms. Knightley is a talented actress with exquisite bone structure.

Emma Watson
Cutie-pie star of the Harry Potter film franchise, Ms. Watson's career is set to take off like a rocket as soon as the last film is released.  She's going to be big, I tell you.

Kate Moss
As with Keira Knightley, girlfriend seriously needs to eat a sandwich.  Anorexia Nervosa and cocaine/heroin addictions notwithstanding, Ms. Moss has a unique, hard to pin down sex appeal about her that made her the perfect alternative to your standard crop of models back in the day.

Rachel Weisz
A more talented actress than most, this Oscar winning beauty stole the heart of Darren Aronofsky, one of my favorite directors, to whom she is now married.

Kate Beckinsale
The hottest vampire I've ever seen.  That's all I have to say about that.

Jacqueline Bisset
This under-exposed actress is perhaps best known for her starring roles in Murder on the Orient Express and The Deep.  Ms. Bisset's striking good looks (and wet T-shirt in The Deep) helped catapult her from obscurity to, if not super-stardom, at least somewhat-stardom.

Olivia Hussey
This Argentine-British actress gained overnight fame by playing Juliet in Franco Zefferelli's famous film version of Romeo and Juliet.
Kate Winslet
This Oscar winning beauty is widely regarded as the leading actress of her generation.  Once again, beauty + talent = unfair.

Jane Birkin
Beautiful English actress popular in the 60s and 70s.  Muse of French singer Serge Gainsbourg and mother of his famous daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Catharine Zeta-Jones
Although you might think she's a Latina, she's not; she's from Wales.  Michael Douglas is one lucky man to be coming home to this Oscar winning actress every night.

Elizabeth Hurley
Famous for being hot, dating Hugh Grant, and playing the devil.  Make of that what you will.

Joan Collins
Known for being on Dynasty, looking like Elizabeth Taylor, and having a sister who writes trashy novels and has an enormous forehead.

Sarah Brightman
Sarah Brightman has one of the most unique, enchanting voices in the world.  She was married to Andrew Lloyd Webber for a time and originated the starring role in his Phantom of the Opera.  She later turned her focus from the stage to the studio, collaborating with producer Frank Peterson on a set of albums that essentially created the now popular genre of Classical Crossover.  Ms. Brightman is one of those rare people who actually looks BETTER the older she gets.  Everything that made her look awkward 30 years ago works just right now.  Yay for Sarah!

Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave, Oscar winner and member of the legendary Redgrave acting family, has jockeyed with Meryl Streep ever since the beginning of that actress' career for the title of "Best Living Actress" (Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams were on her side).  Her father was the great Sir Michael Redgrave, and her sister was Lynn Redgrave, a talented actress in her own right.  Vanessa Redgrave has always had an androgenous, unconventional beauty; yet her grace and elegance light up the screen or the stage whenever she appears.  An incomporable performer (except when she's compared to Meryl Streep) and a timeless legend.

Natasha Richardson
The better known of Vanessa Redgraves two daughters (the other being her sister Joley Richardson), Natasha Richardson was a luminous, talented actress who brought class and dedication to every role she played.  Her life was tragically cut short by a highly publicized skiing accident two years ago.  Before her death, she was married to actor Liam Neeson.

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York
I always thought that Fergie was the second prettiest royal (after Diana).  In fact, I'm willing to overlook the topless photos and attempt to sell access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew.  She's just so darn cute, it's hard to stay mad at her!

Emily Blunt
The jury was still out for me on whether this one was a good actress or not until I saw The Young Victoria.  She's a good actress.  For some reason, I've never thought she was just ravishingly beautiful; but other people do, so I'll include her in this list.

Gemma Arterton
When I saw Gemma Arterton's face on the side of a bus advertising Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, I nearly keeled over, because she is one seriously pretty girl.  I actually haven't ever seen her look better than in that poster (thank you airbrushing), but she's gorgeous anyway.  You may have also spotted her as Strawberry Fields in that last horrendous James Bond movie.

Naomi Campbell
The assistant abusing, tantrum throwing queen bitch diva of the modeling world rose to prominence at the same time as fellow Brit Kate Moss and has been involved in even more controversy than her white counterpart, if that's possible.  Blood diamonds, anyone?

Julie Andrews
Practically perfect in every way!  Thus is Ms. Andrews described as her character Mary Poppins in the film of the same name for which she won an Oscar, and I couldn't think of a better way of putting it.  Gorgeous, regal, elegant, eternally graceful, talented both dramatically and musically, Julie Andrews is...well...practically perfect in every way!

Maggie Smith
Wait, what?  THE Maggie Smith?  Professor McGonagall?  Believe it or not, this two time Oscar winning actress was young once upon a time; and when she was, she was pretty darn attractive.  Of course, people today just know her for playing a witch; but that's a shame.  Go back and check out The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie!

Katherine Jenkins
This Welsh classical-crossover mezzo-soprano is so distractingly beautiful that no one might just listen to her voice at all.  But believe me, she can sing; she is best appreciated, however, through the music video.

Nigella Lawson
What is it with celebrity chefs these days?  Gone are the days of Julia Child and Emeril Lagasse; to be a famous chef now, you have to be HOT (see Giada de Laurentiis, Rachael Ray, et al); Paula Deen is the exception.  And as far as the culinary world is concerned, it doesn't get any hotter than Nigella Lawson.  One of my father's two ideal women (the other being the Latina version, Salma Hayek), Nigella will have you watching her show even if you don't give a rat's ass about cooking.

Parminder Nagra
Hey, does anyone remember that Indian girl from Bend It Like Beckham?  You know, the one that wasn't Keira Knightley?  Well, apparently she was also on ER for SIX YEARS; too bad I don't watch ER.  Ms. Nagra is certainly one of the hottest doctors I've ever seen, hands down.

Amelia Brightman
Were you aware that Sarah Brightman had a little sister?  She's 19 years younger and even more attractive than her big sis, if that's even possible.

Kim Cattrall
Anyone who's a fan of Sex and the City knows that British-Canadian actress Kim Cattrall has stayed beautiful and will continue to be beautiful through middle age and beyond, but she was totally smoking when she was younger.  Does anyone remember Porky's?  Has anyone in my age group even ever seen Porky's?

Julia Ormond
This talented actress has received less acclaim than she deserves.  Most people will recognize this British beauty from the Brad Pitt film Legends of the Fall; she also starred in the remake of Sabrina.

Rachel Ward
My friend Ben tipped me off to this one, as I had no idea who she was!  According to Wikipedia, "is a British actress, columnist, film director, and screenwriter who has primarily pursued her career in Australia."  She's 53 now, but she was a beautiful younger woman, no doubt about it.

Whew!  Do you think I left anyone out?  There's enough English beauty on display here to melt even the hardest of hearts.  So, who's your favorite?  Anyone I should have included but didn't?  Or, do you disagree with some of my picks?  Let me know in a comment!


  1. Great work on this one, Noran! Hands down, I have to agree here that these women do exhibit an exceptionally seductive, physical beauty. Well found! However, what caught me most by surprise was Maggie Smith's presence on this list! That nevertheless reminds me a little bit of Rachel Ward, who obviously led more of an obscure life under the limelight! Ward was equally stunning during the early 80s!

  2. Don't forget Olivia Wilde and Brook Burk, both Welsh