Penelope Cruz might have taken a break from the spotlight for a hot minute, but holy cow, did she jump back in with both feet? The Spanish beauty, 40, was just named Sexiest Woman Alive 2014 by Esquire and her cover shot leaves little to the imagination.
She joins the ranks of such notable ladies as Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis, and Scarlett Johansson, who took the coveted honor for the second time last year. But for the 10th anniversary of its Sexiest Woman Alive issue, it’s no surprise Esquire went international.
Over the course of the magazine’s profile, Cruz is described as “impossibly beautiful” but “more than private.” She won’t discuss her relationship with husband Javier Bardem, or motherhood to a three-year-old boy and one-year-old girl. She does talk about her love and admiration for mentor Pedro Almodóvar, but won’t discuss their upcoming collaborations or two other projects she’s been working on—the Spanish-language “Ma Ma” or Sascha Baron Cohen‘s latest film “Grimsby.”
What we do learn about Cruz is her love of learning. “When she was very young, she would lie about her age and go see Almodóvar’s movies alone, the better to dissect them,” author Chris Jones explains. “She is insatiable in her learning. She speaks four languages and dreams in many more.”
She’s also somewhat of an anomaly in Hollywood these days. She’s managed to be a working actress for over 20 years, win an Academy Award (for Best Supporting Actress in 2008 for “Vicky Christina Barcelona”) and remain a complete mystery to most people because, according to Jones, “her secrets go far deeper than her perfect face.”