June 01, 2004


An Evian-sponsored panel has named history’s most naturally beautiful women. And coming in at number one:

Film legend Audrey Hepburn was yesterday named the most naturally beautiful woman of all time by a panel of experts.

The women were chosen for their "embodiment of natural beauty, healthy living, beautiful on the inside and out, with great skin and a natural glow to their personality, as well as their complexion", Evian said.

Hepburn certainly was beautiful. But as for “healthy living”, well, Hepburn herself might disagree. As is widely known, that eternally elfin frame was at least partly due to the actress’s Netherlands childhood under Nazi occupation:

During the German occupation, Hepburn suffered from malnutrition (which would permanently affect her weight), witnessed various acts of Nazi brutality, and at one point was forced into hiding with her family.

By 1945, Hepburn’s “healthy living” had left her skeletal and racked with illness:

Audrey is now five-foot-six and weighs ninety pounds, suffering from asthma, jaundice and other diseases due to malnutrition, including anemia and severe edema. Also, her metabolism is permanently affected, leading in future to difficulty gaining weight ...

And an Evian award.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 1, 2004 03:22 AM

Who would have guessed that Nazi Germany's intention was not the domination of the earth but rather the beautification of a generation of women?

Perhaps there is a business opportunity hidden here:

Nazi Beauty Spas...Survival is the first step to a beautiful you.

Posted by: bleedingbrain at June 1, 2004 at 04:18 AM

Look, I know that Evian didn't plan it this way, but a foot in the mouth is a foot in the mouth, no matter how it got there, including ignorance. So I'll go ahead and say it.....

Evian apparently supports foreign occupations by fascist regimes for the "...embodiment of natural beauty, [and] healthy living...", as some sort of beauty aid.

It's true. "Evian" is "naive" spelled backwards.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 1, 2004 at 04:18 AM

Yes, I'm under 40 but yes, I still think my Ilsa is No.1.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 1, 2004 at 04:24 AM

Audrey Hepburn was well loved in the Caribbean. Her movies were sold out.

Evian put their foot in their mouth, but I'm reminded of the life of a much admired actress.

Posted by: Helen at June 1, 2004 at 05:12 AM


I think ya'll are missing the point.

Hepburn was beautiful even with all of the alledged maladies. If someone who is apparently that ill can still look that incredible...there is something to be said for natural beauty.

I will concede though that the "healthy living" thing is monumentally stupid..LOL

Posted by: carla at June 1, 2004 at 05:27 AM

Careful, Blair. I don't want to hear anything about Audrey Hepburn that's even slightly disparaging. Don't make me put a fatwa on you. Personally, I think they made a very good choice.

Posted by: dorkafork at June 1, 2004 at 06:53 AM

He isn't disparaging Hepburn. He's disparaging Evian, whose contest board doesn't seem to know what they are doing. Ms. Hepburn would be the first to tell them that her weight and looks weren't all the result of "healthy living."

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 1, 2004 at 07:00 AM

I have a problem with the premis. Naiv... oops.
Evian knows diddly about the most beautiful women in history. Beautiful is too indefinite.

Not at all like tracking declining import sales.

Posted by: Papertiger at June 1, 2004 at 07:09 AM

Y'all are missing the point. The issue is "natural".
What's unnatural--for Europe--in Hepburn's early life?

Posted by: Richard Aubrey at June 1, 2004 at 08:01 AM

How is Beyonce Knowles both 18th and 29th?

I looked for Nastasia Kinski, Bo Derek, and Louise Brooks then closed the page in disgust.

And Princess Diana?


Posted by: John Davies at June 1, 2004 at 08:20 AM

Kate Moss, but no Ida Lupino?

Jennifer Lopez, but no Ava Gardner?

Gwyneth Paltrow, but no Susan Hayward?

MADONNA???? A 'naturally beautiful woman'??

This list is a laughable farce. For an idea of how loopy the committee responsible are, check Cameron Diaz (their #11) without makeup.

Posted by: Byron_the_Aussie at June 1, 2004 at 09:30 AM

Starved to perfection

Posted by: Wil at June 1, 2004 at 09:38 AM

I always thought she looked like she caught her head on a tree branch or something- her neck was like a giraffe.

Posted by: Habib at June 1, 2004 at 11:40 AM

Nice to see Cate Blanchett at No. 3 I think she's got way more talent than our other wanna bes. Beauty & Brains.

Good to see that wishy washy Naomi Watts didn't cut it but I can't believe that other wishy washy Gweneth Paltrow made it.

Have to say, there are some pretty fugly woman on that list. IMHO I mean Iman (beautiful yes) & Grace Jones look like transsexuals! I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say.

Posted by: tricia01 at June 1, 2004 at 12:09 PM

Are they trying to suggest a link between beauty and mineral water? If so, perhaps we could have the 100 best looking men, sponsored by Fosters.

Posted by: narkynark at June 1, 2004 at 12:28 PM

How can I take seriously any such list in which one-hit wonder popstars (however beguiling) come in in the 'teens, while a goddess like Sophia Loren has to make do with 81st spot?

Posted by: cuckoo at June 1, 2004 at 02:27 PM

Can I smell the start of a new fad diet?

Posted by: Yasonas at June 1, 2004 at 03:11 PM