05.19.09

She's Number One

The sizzling-yet-mysterious—and newly crowned Maxim hottie—Olivia Wilde on beating Angelina, how she stays so damn hot (think spice rack), and who should’ve been No. 1 instead of her.

Until recently, dual Irish-American citizen Olivia Wilde had been known mainly for her sultry roles on screens big and small—such seductively mixed-up characters as Alex Kelly, Mischa Barton's lesbian love interest on The O.C., doomed femme fatale Thirteen (aka Dr. Remy Hadley) on House, and the haughty Princess Inanna, opposite Jack Black in next month’s zany hunter-gatherer comedy, Year One.

But now the 25-year-old Wilde has gone from sultry to flat-out hot: She’s Numero Uno—in other words the absolute most smokin’, stunning, sizzling—on Maxim’s brand new Hot 100 List (and that’s up from her No. 61 ranking just a few years ago). Wilde took a break from filming Disney sci-fi thriller TRON 2.0—she stars alongside Garrett Hedlund and Jeff Bridges—to talk to The Daily Beast.

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What is your definition of "hotness,” and just how hot are you?

"Hot" has become a euphemism for all things positive, making it generally acceptable to use to describe everything from a jalapeño to a drum solo. It's sort of a useful word. We don’t have to think of appropriate adjectives for people, places, performances, tacos, or objects anymore as they all fit snugly under the glorious umbrella of "hotness." So I don’t know how hot I am but I'm honored to be considered as warmer than the average taco.

What do you make of the modifier "drool-worthy"?

My bulldog drools constantly so I'm not sure that term is too exciting.

What’s your hotness regimen?

Fourteen tablespoons cayenne pepper in my VERY HOT coffee each morning.

How did you manage to beat out Angelina Jolie (26), Beyoncé (14), Jessica Alba (34) and Michelle Obama (93)? No false modesty, please.

Michelle will always be No. 1 on MY list. And as for those other goddesses of hotness, I think they have their own list, up on the next level, called Hotter-Than-The-Earth's-Core.

This was quite a come-from-behind upset. Was there a behind-the-scenes campaign? Do you feel like the Barack Obama of Maxim's Hot 100 list?

No campaigning on my part, but who knows, maybe there was an unprecedented, enormous grassroots movement involving millions of brilliant and motivated students across the country—and globe for that matter—that I just didn’t hear about.

How did you learn of this signal honor, and how have your friends, family, fellow TRON 2.0 cast members and craft-services providers reacted? What does your husband, Tao Ruspoli, think?

My publicist emailed me, and then I re-read the email thrice, as I assumed she had forgotten the last two zeros when typing my ranking. Everyone has been tremendously kind and congratulatory. I feel as though I've accomplished something really important, like winning the Nobel Peace Prize or saving a woman from a polar-bear attack at a zoo.

How’s TRON 2.0 filming going—are you getting any sleep?

I'll sleep at Christmas. Filming is going well. We are shrouded in secrecy so the only scoop I can give you is that the blank really did that amazing blank stunt in the blank blank with other blank.

Extra credit: Assuming you've retained some medical knowledge from House, what is the best way to avoid contracting swine flu?

Wash your hands!

Plus: Plus: Check out Fashion Beast, updated every Wednesday, for more news on the latest runway shows, hot designers, and emerging trends.

Lloyd Grove is a frequent contributor to New York magazine and was a contributing editor for Condé Nast Portfolio. He wrote a gossip column for the New York Daily News from 2003 to 2006. Prior to that, he wrote the Reliable Source column for the Washington Post, where he spent 23 years covering politics, the media, and other subjects.