What Mila Kunis Can Teach Us about Sexy

Here is my radio interview with Susan Knight of Calgary’s up!97.7 FM today:

Esquire Magazine just came out with their proclamation of the Sexiest Woman Alive for 2012. (And by “Sexiest Woman Alive” what they actually mean is “Sexiest Woman in the American Media.”) This year’s winner, Mila Kunis, follows in the footsteps of other women who most men would readily take to bed if they were given the opportunity. Those of us who think our culture has gone insane with its obsession with the perfect body just ignore the press releases and move on with our lives. Those of us who watch celebrities from a distance inwardly sigh in resignation that we will never be sexy.

But Hollywood has no shortage of women who are half-starved, surgically altered, primped and then airbrushed so that very little of the human remains. If sexy only means a certain clothing size, or cup size, and long, luscious hair, then the decision makers at Esquire would have a very difficult time narrowing down the candidates for their yearly title. So I did a bit of research to find out what is so catching about Mila. Here are some qualities that make her stand out from the crowd.

1)     Sexy is being comfortable in your own skin. Mila moves like she knows what she is doing. That is difficult for most of us. Moving easily, feeling good about ourselves was always derided as pride or vanity. However, it is at the heart of being sexy. One of my favourite definitions of the word comes from the book Sex God, wherein the author’s wife explained the term to their five-year-old son. “Sexy is when it feels good to be in your own skin. Your own body feels right, it feels comfortable. Sexy is when you love being you.”[1] When you know who you are and like yourself, you have one of the key ingredients to sexy.

2)     Sexy is passionate. When they announced the winner of this year’s title, Esquire also released a racy video of Mila prancing around, scantily-clad, giving sultry looks. (Here is the video.) But at the end of the video, she writes on the wall, “I’d rather be scuba diving.” It is completely disarming because we often assume that sexy is all about the sex appeal. But authenticity plays a role as well. Substance is important. What you are passionate about, the core of your being, comes out when you are being sexy.

3)     Sexy is warm and expressive. During the interview for the article, the reporter noted that Mila laughs and speaks loudly. “Loud enough that any of the ten or so people in the immediate vicinity can hear every word she’s saying. Loud enough that you start whispering just to counteract it.”[2] From the context of the article, I got the distinct impression that this was not so she could draw attention to herself, but because it is intrinsically part of her being. So many times, we minimize ourselves so we will fit in with the world around us. Unfortunately, this only serves to cut us off from others rather than deepen our connection. Sexy connects.

4)     Sexy is slightly mysterious. There are certain things about Mila’s life that are simply off-limits. She does not talk about the men that she is dating. When she needs privacy, she intentionally tries to dodge the paparazzi. A little bit of mystery is good for your sexy self as well. Not the “I’m not going to tell you where I was all night” type, but the “I’ll close the door when I go to the bathroom” variety. Understanding the difference and giving mystery room to breathe cultivates sexy.

We can’t all look like Mila. We can’t have the life experience, the visibility in the media or the roles in movies that she has had. But we can all be sexy.

[1] Bell, R. (2007). Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 46.

[2] For the complete article, see McCammon, R. (2012). “Mila Kunis Is the Sexiest Woman Alive 2012.” Esquire, October 6. http://www.esquire.com/women/women-we-love/mila-kunis-video#ixzz28pFzIVFX.