Playboy's not running nude photos anymore, but today that doesn't really matter because here's Emilia Clarke wearing nothing but a few inches of bedsheet across her bare bottom to restore the balance. It's all for the latest cover of Esquire, which has anointed the Game of Thrones actress the "sexiest woman alive." In case you were wondering, last year's sexiest woman alive, Penélope Cruz, is still breathing. The accompanying article praises Clarke for being an "anonymous, funny beauty," who can still look stunning in tortoiseshell sunglasses and an Oklahoma City Thunder cap. And, yet, she's predictably posing nude on the cover.
Granted, Clarke is no stranger to nudity, thanks to Game of Thrones. Oftentimes nudity can be empowering, depending on context and control. Here, though, it feels rote. Year after year we're told that being sexy is synonymous with posing seductively in next to nothing. Pants are not allowed, nor is a top, if you're past SWA Mila Kunis. This year's tag line, "Food, Sex & Cars" just adds insult to injury, treating Clarke like a hamburger or the latest Ford. Clarke is sexy. She plays strong women with a warrior-like intensity. In Terminator Genisys she only needed a leather jacket, a tank top, and a ponytail. That was far, far sexier than this stereotypical pinup. Go on, Esquire. Surprise us. Maybe next year you'll wise up to the fact that a woman this sexy could rock a pantsuit or flannel just as well as some Egyptian cotton.
OPENER IMAGE: WWD/Rex USA.