30. Ellen Page
Did you know that Ellen Page’s full name is actually “Indie Darling Ellen Page?” It’s true. Indie Darling Ellen Page first popped on the scene in the severely disturbing movie Hard Candy (if you don’t know what that one’s about, let’s just say that getting into it will totally destroy the light-hearted mood of this list, so research that on your own time) and then, most recently, Indie Darling Ellen Page won the hearts of critics and hipsters (and baffled pro-lifers) with her turn in Juno. Next year, Indie Darling Ellen Page will be starring in Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, a roller derby movie called Whip It.
Indie Darling Ellen Page doesn’t have the most traditional of looks – after all, her name isn’t Mainstream Queen Ellen Page – but in all her roles thus far she’s displayed a sharp, impudent sense of humor that we find just challenging enough to be irresistible. And all actresses are really just amalgamations of the characters they’ve played, so Indie Darling Ellen Page is a sociopathic, castrating rollergirl who eschews birth control. We’re fascinated by the multitudes that Indie Darling Ellen Page contains.
29. Ashley Johnson
Yet another good example of the shocking things you discover when you get waist-deep in starlet research. We vaguely remembered Ashley Johnson from her short stint on the blink-and-you-missed-it Courtney Cox drama Dirt on FX, and when we were tasked with coming up with a list of hot young things, we went to go find what else she had done and found to our horror that she was Kirk Cameron’s little sister on Growing Pains! That’s just disturbing.
Fortunately, Ashley’s blond goldilocks make her much more of a fetching lass these days. We still shudder to think what fundamentalist Kirk Cameron would make of the things we’d be willing to do to lil’ Chrissy Seaver.
28. Michelle Trachtenberg
As we’ve mentioned before, there are some recurring themes in this list of the young and desirable, and Michelle hits the trifecta – not only is she an alum of Nickelodeon Hottie Academy (she starred in the Adventures of Pete and Pete), and not only did she star in a Disney movie (Ice Princess), she’s also currently starring on Gossip Girl! Unfortunately, with the exception of her run as Dawn on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the rest of Michelle’s resume isn’t much to be proud of, as she played Penny in Inspector Gadget and played something or other in Euro Trip (the role, obviously was as forgettable as the movie.)
It seems that Michelle is working on carving out a niche for herself by playing extremely hot yet extremely annoying characters. As long as pictures don’t talk and televisions can be muted, there will always be a place in our hearts for Michelle Trachtenburg.
27. Ashlee Simpson
Usually, when a younger sister follows an older one into the media spotlight, the younger seems like a cut-rate knockoff of the original (Jamie-Lynn Spears? Please. Ali Lohan? Look out.) This is not the case with the young Ms. Ashlee Simpson, who is no less a formulaic media creation than her equally moderately talented older sister, but is much more fun to look at and listen to than the painfully imperious Jessica Simpson.
All you really need to know about the difference between Ashlee and Jessica is that Jessica has been seriously tied to Nick Lachey (lame), John Mayer (lamer) and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (let’s not even get into that) while Ashlee is currently married to Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz. Say what you will about Fall Out Boy, but do Nick Lahey and John Mayer have any songs in Rock Band? Right. Advantage: Ashlee.
26. Mischa Barton
Memo to the genius writers of The O.C. – maybe it’s not such a hot idea to kill off your hottest character. After Mischa Barton’s Marissa Cooper made a premature farm purchase at the end of The O.C.s’ third season, the popularity of the show quickly followed her to the grave.
Far more sad than the loss of Barton’s character, though, is the fact that there haven’t been too many opportunities for Mischa-sighting on the tube since she left The O.C., and her elegant beauty leaves a gaping void in the ogling universe. Let’s hope that void will be filled later this year, when she plays “a dangerous woman who decides to take her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend hostage” in the upcoming horror flick Homecoming. We’re not really certain why somebody with the looks of Mischa Barton would have to stoop to such underhanded methods to keep her ex-boyfriend’s attention, but fortunately we’re well versed in the skill of suspending our disbelief.
25. America Ferrera
A beautiful immigrant named America who stars on a show called Ugly Betty – the contradictions are rife in this one. We’ve actually always found it slightly odd that there’s no interest group for the rights of ugly people protesting the writers of Ugly Betty for casting a babe in the title role. Would not an ugly person have more insight into the trials and tribulations of the ugly? Is America Ferrera not trafficking in a kind of blackface? Are the lessons that Ugly Betty has to teach us not undercut by the fact that America Ferrera would have almost certainly not gotten the role if she wasn’t attractive in the first place?
Ah, who are we kidding, really? Let us just sit back and enjoy the winsome smile of an out-of-character America Ferrara, and leave the philosophizing to … well, to the ugly people.
24. Emma Watson
Maybe this’ll be the kind of thing we regret having written in future years, but Emma Watson doesn’t seem like her child-star status will cause her to wreck expensive cars, snort up a South American country’s entire supply of cocaine or remove all her bodily hair in a protest against fame. She might not even join Kabbalah.
Since she appeared on the scene as Hermione Granger at the age of nine, Emma’s continually come across as one of the most easily self-confident and assured kid actors we’ve seen in the last few years. Her recent turn in last year’s totally boring BBC drama Ballet Shoes (ok, ok – we didn’t see it, but can the phrase “BBC drama Ballet Shoes'” portend anything other than something totally boring?) was critically acclaimed, and makes us confident that ten years from now, she’ll totally be able to have a steady, critically acclaimed career in boring film roles that require a British accent.
Oh – and she’s 18 as of this April, so it’s *finally* ok to mention she’s as cute as a button. It’s been tough.
23. Kristen Stewart
Now here’s a nice change of pace – a total hottie of tender years who can really act. In her younger years, Stewart first made a mark in Panic Room playing against Jodie Foster (who, of course, practically wrote the book on being excellent eye candy while also having acting chops – just ask Mark David Chapman.) Later on she was nominated for a Young Artist Award in the rather weird thriller Undertow.
The plot summary for her next project, Twilight, doesn’t particularly seem like it would be a vehicle built to win the love of critics – she’s set to play a young mortal who falls in love with a vampire, which apparently causes some dramatic complications – but we’re happy to hear about it, since vampire flicks seem to generally include some hot seduction scenes, and we eagerly look forward to Stewart aiming her prodigious skills at those.
22. Vanessa Hudgens
Vanessa Hudgens taught us all a very important lesson in image management in late 2007. Previously, it was believed that the only way for a celebrity to guarantee themselves a popularity boomlet was to appear in a sex tape and get it leaked on the Internet. But Hudgens, that canny operator from High School Musical, may have realized that given the combination of her tender age and her Disney association, all she had to do was take one amateurish nude shot of herself, get that on the Internet, and voila, instant popularity-increasing mini-scandal!
Not that we’re saying that Ms. Hudgens actually got this leaked on purpose – because we’ve been advised that saying so might be legally actionable – but we are saying that if she DID do that, it was a pretty shrewd move, and totally kicked the butt of Jamie Lynn’s Spears pregnancy scandal in the benefit-to-detriment department. We hear babies are a lot of work.
We’re awarding Nick a half point for Hudgens’ work on Drake & Josh, and giving Disney a full point for the billions of High School Musicals that Hudgens has and will appear in before that money train goes off the rails – tying us up again at 3 points each.
21. Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay seems to have moderately dialed back the persistent train-wreck of her personal life – as far as we could tell from our exhaustive research, she has not wrecked a car, gone to rehab or been arrested in 2008. Great job, Lindsay! This makes it all the easier for us to love you for your recent re-creation of Marilyn Monroe’s final photo shoot without having that creeping (and creepy) fear that you were going to follow her self-destructive path all the way down to the bitter end.
The jury is still out on whether or not Lindsay’s going to stay relatively stable, whether she’s eventually going to burn all the way out or whether she’ll find the Courtney Love (un)happy medium as her career progresses, but we’re just pleased that it looks like she’s not actually going to die anytime soon. Dying is totally not hot.
A full point for Disney, based on Lohan’s performances in The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, puts the Mouse back in the lead, 4 to 3! This is very exciting!