"Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,noteDistaff Counterpart to World's Strongest Man, because Men Are Strong, Women Are Pretty. She's beyond Hello, Nurse!. This character is notable in her universe for having better looks than any other woman in it. She (and it's always a she) is the World's Most Beautiful Woman. That doesn't mean her life is going to be easy, of course. These women are almost always So Beautiful, It's a Curse. She may be the target of a Vain Sorceress looking to be the Fairest of Them All, has some unwanted attention, is shunned or ignored by other people (women may get jealous, men may feel intimidated) or she may simply be kidnapped. Just the fact of a character's being hot is not enough to qualify her for this trope. Indeed, many of these women fall into Informed Attractiveness. The character must be explicitly stated to be the world's most beautiful woman, hence why this trope is usually limited to fantasy and mythology, two genres that tend to go light on real-world logic (Was there a worldwide Beauty Contest that every woman alive was forced to enter?). Of course, having two (or more) women contending for the title is usually not good, and you really, really, really want to limit it to mortal competitors. Asserting that a woman is more beautiful than a goddess is dangerous. Even...especially if she's another goddess. A common trait of the Princess Classic. If it's not just the fact that she's beautiful, but that he feels like she's above him, she's a Peerless Love Interest. Note that the Real Life examples involve either antiquity, politics, or a direct invocation of this trope. This is no place to simply gush about attractive women, since such a title is so subjective it's meaningless.
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss."
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss."
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Anime and Manga
- Nareesha in the OEL Manga Bizenghast is the three-time champion.
- Word of God states that Retsu Unohana is the most beautiful woman in all of Soul Society. She is also the original Kenpachi and the strongest one to have ever existed until surpassed by Zaraki (a man). In other words, she's both the most beautiful and the strongest woman in Soul Society.
- Unohana's status doesn't stop Charlotte Cuulhorne and Yumichika Ayasegawa engaging in a fight to the death to find out who the most beautiful person in the world is... of course, they're actually both men, but neither of them let that fact get in the way.
- And in the material world, Orihime Inoue is also called the most beautiful student of Karakura High School. At some point she's followed around by a bunch of completely smitten younger boys, which annoys her friend and crush (and ultimately, husband) Ichigo; later, when a young man named Moe Shishigawara was tasked with attacking her, a mere look from her (complete with sparkles) was enough to leave him starstruck and unable to attack.
- The girls in Hime Chen Otogi Chikku Idol Lilpri are said to be the most beautiful girls in the world by a magic mirror. Though they're only the most beautiful in the world after transforming, their normal little girl forms aren't considered.
- Soryu from Ao no Fuuin is said to be a beautiful woman whose appearance will charm any man or woman that lay eyes on her. She is so beautiful that two panicked humans, about to be devoured by her, fall into a trance upon seeing her.
- One Piece:
- Boa Hancock of the Seven Warlords of the Sea. The Risky Brothers claim that her beauty is only rivaled by the Mermaid Princess Shirahoshi.
- Alvida proclaims herself as the most beautiful woman in the world. Well, considering what she looked like before she ate her Devil Fruit... Even before her transformation, she claimed to be the most beautiful woman, and forced her original crew to agree, or be clubbed.
- A fabulously rich Wapol marries a woman referred to as "Miss Universe". Whether she actually won a world-wide beauty pageant or if that's her actual name is not known.
- In the second Sally the Witch series, Sally's very pretty mother is specifically mentioned to be the most beautiful woman in the magical kingdoms. So much that, when she was a young princess, a jealous Hot Witch put her into an enchanted sleep, and Sally's dad had to give her a True Love's Kiss to save her. Hm... Little did the Queen know that the Witch would later return and try her hand at getting revenge, now targeting Sally and many other human girls...
- Ranamon from Digimon Frontier is considered the most beautiful WoMon in the Digital World, having fan clubs across the land.
- In My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, the trope likely applies to Yukino Yukinoshita. In the LN chapter 1, Hachiman describes her as having "unparalleled looks" and "the school's number 1 beauty." Although in the anime episode 2, Yui Yuigahama describes Yukino as "really cool" but Yumiko Miura as "gorgeous." But Yui has a tempting reason to lie in that situation. Well at least to Hachiman it's true - much to his annoyance.
- In High School D×D, Archangel Gabriel is a woman, and has the title "The Most Beautiful Woman in Heaven". It takes a very long time for her to show up in person, but when she does, she turns everybody's heads.
- In Anatolia Story, Yuri's reputation as an exotic beauty (her being a Japanese girl in a Middle Eastern ancient land, coupled with doing enough extraordinary things that people mistaken her for the war goddess Ishtar) cause plenty of people to believe her to be this. Really, while Yuri is very cute (and was seen as very pretty in Japan itself), she isn't actually considered the most beautiful woman ever to people who actually see her. In fact, she's often mistaken for a boy.
- In Fate/Prototype, Gilgamesh falls in Love at First Sight with Ayaka Sajyou, and declares her the most beautiful woman in the world, much more beautiful than all the women in his old kingdom of Uruk.
- Dongfang Xiong ("Heartblade") in the Hong Kong series Weapons Of The Gods.
- Green Lantern:
- In an issue of from the 1970s, Hal Jordan found the most beautiful woman in the universe on another planet. His friend Green Arrow, who was also there, however, refused to look at her face, claiming that it would spoil the sight of every other woman for him. (Note that Jordan wasn't affected that way. Also, the character's face is never shown to the reader.)
- Bleez of the Red Lanterns was considered the most beautiful woman of seven systems. Unfortunately, this led to her getting abducted and raped by members of the Sinestro Corps. She now wears a mask.
- Wonder Woman is canonically supposed to be this in The DCU, having been blessed at birth by the goddess Aphrodite.
- In the Rising Stars comics, there is a character who appears as the most perfect woman to anyone who sees her. The only man who sees her as she really is the man who loves her.
- The Sandman has Nada, who is so beautiful that there isn't a single mortal who is worthy of her. Unfortunately, this attracts Desire's attention, and we all know how he likes to mess with Dream...
- In the last Scott Pilgrim book, Envy is shown to have gained 999 points in bust, hips and waist, making her the perfect woman. Naturally, everyone starts looking at her direction.
- Fables takes a jab at the trope, with Snow White mentioning how many of the women there were 'fairest in the land'.
- The Mighty Thor has Amora The Enchantress, who is sought after by practically every male in Asgard, even Odin and Loki at times, and she sometimes gets kidnapped as her beauty makes her highly prized even to males of other species like the Frost Giants. If she goes shopping on Earth, the employees will often scramble to help her and let her take stuff without paying. She's also a Vain Sorceress who hates the fact that her beauty is not enough to get Thor to fall for her, and she often gets murderously jealous of female superheroes or the girlfriends of male ones, perceiving them as rivals.
- In Dynamite comics Dawn/Vampirella crossover, Vampirella shares this title with the goddess Dawn, the demon Masodik kidnaps the two because they're the two most beautiful women in all the worlds.
- The title character in the Bukovinan fairy tale "The Flower Queen's Daughter".
And she disappeared into her hut, but returned very soon and said, 'You are a mighty Prince, but at the same time you have a kind heart, which deserves to be rewarded. Would you like to have the most beautiful woman in the world for your wife?'
'Most certainly I would,' replied the Prince.
So the old woman continued, 'The most beautiful woman in the whole world is the daughter of the Queen of the Flowers, who has been captured by a dragon.
- Snow White, proclaimed to be "the fairest of them all", deposing her stepmother from the title.
- Princess Toutebelle from The Yellow Dwarf is described as having beauty "extraordinary and divine rather than mortal" and is basically treated like a goddess by not just her court, but by the entire world. To make things worse, she happens to be a Royal Brat who rejects twenty kings for not being good enough for her. And to top it all off, her name means "all-beautiful" in French. Her haughtiness leads her to her doom later in the story.
- Princess Kriemhild from the Nibelungenlied. Her beauty is sufficient that Siegfried is not only willing to fight in battles for her favor, but willing to deceive a queen and involve himself in plots that he likely would never take part in otherwise. This is the basis of his tragic flaw, and of her upcoming revenge.
- Kaguya of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, who every man in Japan wanted to marry even without knowing she was princess of the Moon.
- Yeh-Shen: In this ancient Chinese tale, part of the same body of Rags to Royalty stories that includes Cinderella, the title character goes to a festival (the Spring Festival) and is courted by the King, who is enchanted by her ravishing beauty, so much so that he tells her, "You are the most beautiful creature on earth." He later marries her (at the end of the story) and they live happily ever after.
- Xanna's (aka the Kyuubi) human form in the Reaching for a Dream series is regarded by multiple characters to be the most beautiful woman they've ever seen, especially after she attains godhood. Of course, it helps that she designed her body to be so stunning.
- God Slaying Blade Works: In Shirou Emiya's personal opinion, Rider is the most beautiful woman in Fate/Stay Night while Tiamat is the most beautiful woman in Campione. Godou later comments that Tiamat is even more beautiful than Venus, because Venus is a girl, while Tiamat is a woman.
- Fates Collide:
- Cinder Fall comments she heard stories of how Rin Tohsaka and Sakura Matou were considered the most beautiful girls in the kingdom of Apocrypha, once upon a time.
- In the present, Nero Claudius, Tamamo no Mae, and Elizabeth Bathory bicker about which of them deserve the title.
- In The Bucket List, Jack Nicholson's character wants to kiss the world's most beautiful woman before he dies, which he plans to do by kissing a lot of women. It's sweetly subverted when he reunites with his estranged daughter and discovers that he has a granddaughter, whom he kisses on the cheek, and crosses that part off the list.
- Princess Tamina in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time . Her looks are widely known and when the Persian army first sees her all the men rather hilariously go "OOOOOOOOOOHH!!!!" as if they have never seen a woman before. Ironically once she is out and about outside her palace no one else reacts like this throughout the rest of the film.
- In Red Cliff, Xiao Qiao is claimed to be the most beautiful woman in the world. It's even suggested that Cao Cao is only fighting the war because he's obsessed with her. Which she manages to use to her advantage by making tea for him at a crucial moment, thus delaying his attack and allowing her husband to win the upcoming battle.
- The Princess Bride said that at age 18 Buttercup was the most beautiful woman in the world for the last 100 years. It had earlier listed who was the most beautiful woman in the world when Buttercup was born and when she was 10 and 15 years old. The book details what caused Buttercup's predecessors to lose the "Most Beautiful" title (the culprits included an abundance of chocolate, a skin disease, and, best of all, worrying too much about losing said beauty).
- The final Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce has Kalasin, before she committed suicide. Her daughter Thayet "the Peerless" inherited the beauty, and is considered to be the most beautiful woman in Tortall.
- Orson Scott Card's Hart's Hope. The Flower Princess, because she will never lie.
- Dejah Thoris was the most beautiful woman on two worlds.
- Discworld, with its enthusiasm at skewering myth, legend, and fantasy tropes, naturally had a go at this one.
- Juliet Stollop/Jewels in Unseen Academicals is a straight example, as well as a textbook case of a Brainless Beauty.
- Sacharissa Cripslock of The Truth had a face that combined features that would have considered astonishingly beautiful by roughly a dozen different, mutually-incompatible time periods and cultures, meaning that she tended to just average out as 'quite attractive' by modern standards.
- Myria LeJean/Unity from Thief of Time was a deliberate attempt at this by creatures who didn't get the Uncanny Valley as a concept, and didn't understand that making a living painting with the imperfections erased would be more creepy than beautiful.
- J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth: Lúthien Tinúviel is "the fairest of all the Children of Ilúvatar" to ever live (The Silmarillion). At the time of The Lord of the Rings, her similar-looking great-great-granddaughter Arwen Undómiel is considered to be the fairest by many, although Gimli favored her grandmother the Lady Galadriel, who Tolkien confusingly also described as being "the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle-earth".
- Angelica, daughter of the king of Cathay, in Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, and other works by based on the Carolingian cycle by various authors.
- In the Dragonlance novels, the elven princess Laurana is repeatedly described as being the most beautiful woman on all the world of Krynn.
- Somehow manages to be gender-inverted in The Three Musketeers, in which the Duke of Buckingham is apparently rightly considered the most handsome man in either France or England.
- The Chronicles of Narnia:
- Lucy comes across a magic spell in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader that could make her this trope. She doesn't go through with it - not because she didn't want to, but because Aslan's face appeared in the book and stopped her. Her sister, Queen Susan, was said to be the most beautiful woman in Narnia, possibly ever. (This was in fact the reason that Lucy wanted to do the spell in the first place; the comparisons were getting to her.)
- Queen Swanwhite, who governed Narnia before the White Witch appeared, was said to have been so pretty that whenever she looked into a pond, said pond would reflect her face for a year and a day.
- Speaking of the White Witch, she was said to be the most gorgeous woman that Diggory (young Professor Kirke) and Uncle Andrew had seen. (And of course, Polly thought she was nothing special). That is, until she ate a certain forbidden fruit and her eerie paleness made her still very beautiful, but terribly creepy.)
- Ramandu's daughter in Dawn Treader note is a half-Star young woman said to be really gorgeous; Caspian, the Pevensies and Eustace thought that they had not "truly seen beauty" until they met her. And the epilogue mentions that she ultimately married Caspian.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Cersei Lannister has been called spectacularly beautiful since her youth, but age, motherhood, and alcohol are beginning to take their toll on her beauty by the fourth book. When she was young, she received a prophecy that a more beautiful queen would overthrow her. The books have dropped hints towards three contenders: Sansa Stark, whose gorgeous mom says that she will grow even more beautiful than her, Margaery Tyrell, who is described as pretty by every POV that interacts with her, and Daenerys Targaryen, whose reputed beauty is remarked upon even half a world away.
- Several of Daenerys followers consider her to qualify as this. In the fifth book one character explicitly calls her the most beautiful woman in the world
- Historically, Queen Sharra Arryn, Shiera Seastar and Ashara Dayne have been called this.
- Played with in regards to Lyanna Stark. While it's generally accepted that Lyanna was really beautiful, the ones to believe her beauty extraordinary are Robert (her fiancé) and Eddard (her brother). Some characters, including Kevan and Cersei Lannister, believe that if Rhaegar had married Cersei instead, he wouldn't have looked twice at Lyanna - although admittedly, they're pretty biased and resentful about the whole affair since Rhaegar did not deign to look twice at Cersei and chose another woman over her twice. (Particularly Cersei.)
- Lanfear from The Wheel of Time is often called this. It really says something about her personality that she can canonically be The World's Most Beautiful Woman and still can't get the man she wants. On the bright side, she doesn't have to worry about being kidnapped or the like, as she's also the world's most powerful woman....
- Kaede from the Tales of the Otori series.
- Kahlan Amnell of the Sword of Truth series, particularly according to Richard Rahl. The second book in the series introduces Merissa and Nicci, whom are stated by some characters (including Kahlan herself!) to be even more beautiful.
- The title of "most beautiful woman of her generation" runs in the Kaftan family in Incarnations of Immortality for three generations: Niobe, Orb, and Orlene.
- Niobe is the only one described this way, the others only come close, Blanche on the other hand is called this.
- Melisande Shahrizai in the Kushiel's Legacy series is lauded to be the world's most beautiful woman. Even by her compatriots, who are descendants of angels and universally beautiful. Phedre waxes a lot of poetic about Melisande's beauty, even more than usually.
- In Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, Hélène Vasilyevna Kuragina is the most beautiful woman in the world. In a subversion of the Beauty Equals Goodness trope, she is notably depraved and evil.
- Subverted by Neil Gaiman in "Keepsakes And Treasures" with the Shahinai, a tribe of crones whose legendary "treasure" is not an item, but the world's most beautiful person... Who also happens to be a young man. Unfortunately, he is extremely fragile, and dies within months of leaving the Gilded Cage his tribe made for him.
- In the Chinese retelling of "Cinderella" Bound by Donna Jo Napoli, where main character Xing Xing went to the annual festival. After leaving behind a golden shoe, the shoe was sold to rich man to rich man, until finally only the prince was able to buy it. As the price of the shoe went up, so did reports of the owner's beauty. It wasn't before long she was claimed the most beautiful woman in the empire.
- The Riddle Master Trilogy has both Raederle of An, categorised with amusing specificity as 'the second most beautiful woman in the Three Portions of An', and her (never-seen) friend Mara Croeg, who is more beautiful than Raederle.
- Nikki Howard in the Airhead Series novels. In addition to her natural beauty, a lot is also chalked up to her taking great care of her body and features along with having great charisma to carry herself with.
- In Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series, Attolia is said to be extremely beautiful. Interestingly enough, she is not known for her beauty so much as her intellect and ruthlessness (bordering on cruelty) but she rarely seems to use this to her advantage.
- Joelle van Dyne is called this by at least two characters in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest (one calls her the Prettiest Girl Of All Time), at least until the accident that leads her to cover her face with a veil. Or perhaps not. In any case, her beauty is key to why the titular Entertainment literally makes the viewer lose the will to live.
- In the Skulduggery Pleasant series, China Sorrows is described as the most beautiful woman in the world. Not just because she's beautiful, but also because magic makes people fall in love with her on sight.
- In a subversion, Bunny enters a cross-dimensional beauty contest in the Myth Adventures story "Myth Congeniality". As the dimensions are home to a lot of non-humanoid races, most of the finalists for Multiverse's Most Beautiful Female aren't even bipedal, let alone attractive by human standards.
- This is a transferable power in The Annals of the Chosen, linked to a magical talisman, and intended to be used to fight evil. Unfortunately, the talisman in question is quite clingy. The current owner constantly wears a burqa, and it only partly helps, since her voice is incredibly beautiful too. (Interestingly, the talisman also gives her Healing Hands.)
- Played with in Snow White retelling White as Snow. Arpazia is more interested in her lost youth, which she believes Coira represents. But she does want to be beautiful i.e. find the girlhood that was stolen from her.
- Remedios "the Beauty" Buendia in One Hundred Years of Solitude. She also goes everywhere naked because she sees no reason not to. It doesn't end well.
- Gender flipped in A Brother's Price. Jerin's among the most beautiful men alive, and whenever he's not in a fortified structure he's aware of the constant threat posed by women who might abduct and rape him. When he actually is abducted, it's largely political due to his Royal Blood.
- In Bridge of Birds, one of the myths relevant to the plot is that of Jade Pearl, a girl who was described as being so beautiful that the Star Shepherd fell in love with her and was made a goddess later on. Beautifully subverted later on when it's revealed that Jade Pearl has been Hidden in Plain Sight as Lotus Cloud who's explicitly described as homely in appearance with her major attractions being a dazzling smile and an effervescent personality.
- In Eva Luna, Eva's roommate and Cool Big Sis is an actress and show-woman named Mimi. She's so gorgeous, talented and charismatic that she's regarded to as the prettiest woman in the whole country. Played With very interestingly: Mimi is actually a Transgender woman named Melecio, and she and Eva were friends several years ago.
- Similarly, in The House of the Spirits a rich young woman named Rosa del Valle is considered to be unnaturally and incredibly beautiful, if kinda off and feared by men due to her beauty. For worse, she dies before hitting her twenties.
- In The Chronicles of Amber, the Royal Family of Amber are generally so much better than anyone else in the universe. Because Florimel is the most beautiful woman in the Royal family, she is the most beautiful woman in the universe.
- Vida in Richard Brautigan's The Abortion is the perfect American piece of ass. "She was developed in the most extreme of Western men's desire in this century for women to look: the large breasts, the tiny waist, the large hips, the long Playboy-furniture legs." Aside from the fact that it has caused several deaths, she hates it and feels it is not her. She wanted to be a ballerina.
- Schooled in Magic: Princess Alassa is said to be the vision of physical perfection. In fact it is later revealed that she has been magically/genetically modified to ensure that she would be born perfect and this has had unexpected complications on her reproductive system, possibly leaving her barren.
- Lady Hish Tulla in the Kharkanas Trilogy. She is so beautiful and ephemeral that even Warrior Prince Anomander Rake considers himself not good enough, and even those at court don't have the guts to denounce her in any way.
- The Last Unicorn: Not explicitly stated, but when the unicorn, the most beautiful creature in the world becomes human this seems to be the result. It's worth noting however, that as she becomes more human she stays beautiful, but the mystical quality of her beauty fades away.
- The Traitor Son Cycle:
- Irene of Morea is a scion of an imperial family that for generations picked and married most beautiful people as their consorts, and as a result is one of the most beautiful people in the story, to the point that even when he knows she'll try to double-cross him, the Red Knight is still attracted to her.
- Irene's father is a Rare Male Example, for pretty much the same reason she is.
- Queen Desiderata is outright stated, both by characters and in narration, to be the most beautiful woman in Alba, and pretty much everybody in the court is smitten with her.
- In Something Wicked This Way Comes, one of the Circus of Fear's advertised attractions is "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World!" displayed inside an ice block. It's implied that the woman's appearance actually changes based on what the viewer finds the most attractive as a salesman who sees her thinks that she resembles all the women who captivated him in his youth and feels that he somehow knows the exact color of her eyes, but never confirmed.
- The Mirror Of Helen has Helen of Troy herself, the Ur-example of this trope.
- Game of Thrones:
Euron: Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to grow up and marry the most beautiful woman in the world.
- Tyene Sand poisons Bronn and won't give him the antidote unless he declares her the most beautiful girl in the world. Since he doesn't want to die, he obliges, and gets the antidote. Later, while saying their goodbyes and flirting, he calls her this again.
- Cersei Lannister, which is lampshaded by Euron Greyjoy, though he's laying it on thick and she is not his first choice.
- Daenerys Targaryen. Out of the thousands of brides the mighty Khal Drogo could have selected as a tribute from the Nine Free Cities; he chooses the Targaryen Princess to be his Khaleesi. Doreah even makes an oblique comparison to Dany and and a famous Lysene sex goddess, Irogenia and the lengths that men might go to obtain her. It's not helped by the fact that it's heavily implied that Ser Jorah Mormont switches to her side primarily because of his attraction to her and later, Daario Naharis does much the same; willing to kill his own fellow captains to serve her because he was entranced by her pulchritude. Xaro offers her marriage at his reception, their second meeting mind you and Euron Greyjoy would build "the greatest armada the world has ever seen" to offer her as a wedding gift. He even implies that his goal is still to marry the "most beautiful woman in the world" when he's trying to schmooze up to Cersei.
- Pee-wee's Playhouse: Miss Yvonne, who (as we were told Once per Episode) was The Most Beautiful Woman In All Of Puppetland. The slightly more adult-oriented Pee Wee Herman stage shows played with this trope, where her persona had much darker undertones.
- MythQuest depicts the story of Blodeuwedd, crafted by the wizards Gwydion and Math to be the most beautiful woman in the world. After Cleo takes her place, she learns a valuable lesson about why this is not a desirable attribute.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus - Mister Neutron (Graham Chapman), the most powerful being in the universe, while taking over the world and falling in love with Mrs. S-C-U-M (Terry Jones as a drab housewife), transforms her into 'the most beautiful woman in the world' - Terry Jones as a somewhat better-dressed housewife.
- That Mitchell and Webb Look parodies this trope at a wedding reception. After Robert Webb says his new bride is the most beautiful woman in the world, David Mitchell (as the best man) points out in his toast that she is obviously not the most beautiful woman in the world. True as that may be, it doesn't go over very well with the guests.
Best man: Look, if the most beautiful woman in the world was getting married, that would be big news. The papers would be here. There would have been champagne, not Prosecco.
- In Turn, Peggy Shippen is talked about in these terms multiple times. Major Andre calls her "the most beautiful woman in America," her older sister Betsy calls her "the most beautiful woman in the colonies", and after a lovemaking session, Benedict Arnold (her future husband) tells her, "You really are the most beautiful woman in England and the colonies."
- Wonder Woman: Unlike the Comic Books this version of Wonder Woman isn't gifted by Aphrodite to specifically make her the most beautiful woman in the world, but she is portrayed by Lynda Carter who represented the United States in the Miss World pageant and can make a serious claim to that title.
Mythology and Religion
- In The Bible:
- An empire-wide beauty contest found Esther to be the most beautiful woman in the Persian Empire, which was a pretty good chunk of the known world at the time. Her prize was marrying the king and using said marriage and her smarts to save the Jewish people singlehandedly.
- Esther, interestingly, was the king's replacement for his previous queen, Vashti; Vashti, a beautiful woman herself, found herself banished by her own husband because she had refused his drunken request that she appear before him and his friends, wearing only her crown, at a feast. Unlike Esther, who was more subtle, Vashti openly refused to denigrate her own dignity.
- In the Book of Job, Job's fourth, fifth and sixth daughters (Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren-Happuch) are said to be the most beautiful women in all the land. How gorgeous were they? First, they're three of maybe a dozen people whose looks the Bible even mentions. Second, their names were recorded. Their brothers' weren't.
- The Blessed Virgin Mary is a more innocent example of this to Catholics, being the personification of Incorruptible Pure Pureness and the highest model of virtue (after Jesus). Notably, her looks are not even mentioned casually in the actual Biblical text.
- In Jewish tradition Sarah was the most beautiful woman ever, to the point where the midrash says others are like monkeys compared to her; she is also said to have retained her beauty even until old age. The three next contenders were Abigail (one of David's wives), Rahab (the prostitute who helped the Israelites) and Esther (see above).
- In Islamic tradition, Rachel wife of Jacob was the most beautiful woman and her son Joseph was the most handsome man. It's even said that both of them had half the beauty that God gave to mankind.
- Adam and Eve are sometimes said to have been the most physically-attractive humans, having been created directly by God, in a state of total and absolute grace (until their fall from it).
- In Irish Mythology, Deirdre was prophesied to be the most beautiful woman in the world, though Grainne has also been given the title by virtue of Deirdre being long dead by then. Irish mythology is also something of an outlier in that it also insists on naming the most beautiful man with a surprising frequency (Ciabhan, Cu Chulainn, Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, and Fionn mac Cumhaill all being named such at one point or another).
- In Welsh Mythology, Blodeuwedd is described as the most beautiful woman in the world, and was made by magicians from flowers so that the hero Lleu Llaw Gyffes could have a wife, since he was cursed never to have a human one. Her name means "flower-face".
- In Classical Mythology, this title tends to get handed out a lot with the heroine of just about any given myth being described as "more beautiful than Aphrodite". This tends to be an easy way to get in trouble, because beauty is Aphrodite's domain and Blasphemous Boast as such will incur her wrath, but she's also been known to not get angry at some more beautiful women, because there's no boast.
- Helen of Troy, specifically described by Aphrodite as "the most beautiful of mortal women". "The face that launched a thousand warships" is how she's remembered. This one was in fact endorsed by Aphrodite as she used her to win Paris' favor.
- Beauty is, in fact, measured in "helens". One millihelen is "the amount of beauty needed to launch one ship".
- Before Helen, there was Alcmene, mother of Herakles, said to be a match for Aphrodite herself in beauty. Fortunately no one boasted Alcmene's features, so Aphrodite let her be (or she thought that Hera's wrath would be enough).
- Psyche, who was so beautiful people began to worship her instead of the goddess of beauty. Naturally, this made Aphrodite very angry, seeing that it's a hubris against her domain, and she sent her son Eros, the god of love, to make Psyche fall in love with something horrible. Upon seeing her, Eros fell head over heels and married her. That's right. Psyche was so beautiful the god of love himself fell for her.
- Not exactly to Aphrodite, but Cassiopeia boasted that her daughter Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids, themselves were high class beauties. Their father's superior/friend, Poseidon, took it way too seriously (or being persuaded by the Nereids themselves) and demanded that Andromeda be sacrificed to his sea serpent, or else their city drowns. Good thing that Athena's very badass protegé Perseus saw this and decided to step in, saving Andromeda and gaining her affection as well.
- The start of The Trojan War traces back to a competition over who was the most beautiful goddess on Olympus - Hera, Athena, or Aphrodite. Of course, all three of them tried to cheat, so the contest was really about who could offer Paris the most tempting bribe.
- A variation of the Medusa's mythology was that Medusa slept with Hephaestus (not Poseidon) and made a boast that she's more beautiful than Aphrodite. You can just guess what happens.
- Surprisingly and ironically, it turned out that Aphrodite wasn't considered to be the most beautiful goddess to the Ancient Greeks. If anything according to the hymns, that honor goes to Hera as she was often refereed as the "greatest beauty among immortals/goddesses/deathless beings/etc".
- Helen of Troy, specifically described by Aphrodite as "the most beautiful of mortal women". "The face that launched a thousand warships" is how she's remembered. This one was in fact endorsed by Aphrodite as she used her to win Paris' favor.
- This title is frequently given to Guinevere in the King Arthur legends. The Tabletop RPG Pendragon gives her an Appearance score of 30 on a nominally 3-18 scale.
- In Erec and Enide by Chrétien de Troyes, Enide is described in this fashion. And unlike Guinevere, she isn't just beautiful, but is also described as impeccably virtuous.
- The Caucasian Nart Sagas have Setenaya, who is said to have unparalleled beauty; naturally, she is the object of many men's desires.
- Hindu Theology and literature names numerous women as exceptionally beautiful.
- Mohini, the only female avatar of Vishnu, is a wily trickster and she once defeated an Asura (ash-demon) who could turn anybody into ash with the touch of his hand; she tricked him into touching his own head while he mimicked her dancing, thus burning him to ash.
- Tilottama was created from the best of everything by Visgwakarma to put a stop to a pair of demon brothers who sought conquest; the brothers loved each other very much, and when faced with her they fought to the death over her.
- In The Mahabharata, Princess Damayanti of Vidarbha is named as such. Because Kali missed her Svayamvara (in which a woman gets to pick the suitor of her choice) and found her already married to King Nala, a very handsome man himself, Kali spitefully separated the couple and changed Nala's appearance to prevent a reunion, but Damayanti asked her father to hold her Svayamvara again; she recognized the training of a chariot's horses and the cooking of her husband and they were reunited.
- In a patriarchal society, lovely Draupadi participated in polyandry and in the politics of her husbands, and she was always ready to question the prerogatives of men and protest against sexual injustice.
- Unwillingly betrothed by her greedy brother, Rukmini secretly sent messages to her beloved Krishna to abduct her and marry her to avoid a family war. Her brother defeated and shamed, Rukmini became Krishna's primary wife and queen.
- [[Sita]], a human avatar of Lakshmi, is depicted as the "perfect" woman alongside her husband, [[Rama]], the "perfect" man.
- Although Ravana kidnapped Sita, his wife Mandodari, a beauty herself, remained in love with him and still advised him to return Sita to her husband, although he wouldn't listen.
- The Philippines has its own tales of legendary beauties:
- Mt Mayon volcano in the Philippines was once the beautiful heroine in a tragic love triangle; Magayon was the only daughter a Rawis chieftain, many young men fought over her, but she only had affection for Peganoron, who saved her from a river. A rival suitor was less than pleased with this and began a war over her.
- Mt. St. Helens is often the heroine (or at least one of the heroines) among the Puyallup, Cowlitz, Klickitat, and Yakima nations: according to the Puyallup, elderly Loowitlakla, or “Loowit”, was rewarded with eternal youth by the Chief of the Gods since she had preserved fire in her lodge for two nations, but the chieftains of each tribe, who were brothers and very handsome young men but notoriously hotheaded, began warring because she could not choose clearly between them.
- Deer Woman appears in many traditions, including the Sioux, Ojibwe, Ponca, the Omaha people, Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Choctaw, the Otoe tribe, Osage, the Pawnee people, and the Iroquois; the basic story is that she teaches men to avoid sexual promiscuity and she warns women against sexual promiscuity; the men suffer punishment for betrayal of their wives.
- The Ongiaras, in the vicinity of Niagara Falls, tell of Lelawala, a beautiful young widow, who threw herself over the Great Falls in grief; the god of thunder, Hinon, and his sons saved and healed her and she happily married his son, but she missed her people. Still, she warned her people of a monstrous serpent who threatened them.
- In a famine, White Buffalo Calf Woman saved the Lakota People. Two young men saw her in the form of a strikingly beautiful young woman and one boldly tried to make her his wife, despite the protests of the other to leave her alone. After she vanquished the youth who tried to take her by force, she taught the people the sacred rites that they would have to perform to survive the famine.
- The Mayans have quite a few tales of beautiful heroines and villains:
- As Mayan Goddess of the Moon, Ixchel is as complicated as her marriage with the Sun God Itzamná himself; a triple goddess of the Maiden/Mother/Crone aspects, she brings catastrophe but she will not become a victim of oppression.
- The Maya also tell a story about the Xtabay that inverts the Madonna/Whore Complex: Two women from the same Yucatán village, Xkeban and Utz-Colel, are both exceptionally beautiful but Xkeban is very promiscuous while Utz-Colel (who becomes Xtabay in death) is chaste and virtuous. But it's not that simple; Xkeban is genuinely kind, humble, and compassionate to the unfortunate (despite that the rest of the village looks down on her for her many romances) and even sells the expensive gifts of her lovers to help the needy while her Utz-Colel is admired for her chastity, but she is cold, haughty and looks down her nose at the unfortunate and poor.
- Nicté Há is the daughter of the guardian of a cenote and she is in love with the prince Chak Tzitzib, but because she is not royal their union cannot be; the nobles plot to sacrifice her, but she and her prince die together.
- Princess Sac-Nicté of Mayapán was engaged to the prince Ulil, but she and King Canek of Chichen-Itza were in love; she fled with him and his whole city, leaving it empty when Ulil tried to retrieve her.
- The Aztecs mention at least one beautiful heroine:
- When she heard of the death in battle of her beloved Popocatépetl, the Princess Iztaccíhuatl died from grief, but the news was wrong and he carried her body to a spot outside Tenochtitlan and the gods turned them into snowy mountains.
- The Inca likewise have at least two legendary beauties:
- As the Goddess of the Moon, Mama Killa is the ethereally beautiful guardian of women and their young children and of women ‘s fertility and of the healing power of birth and new life. She regulates time itself.
- The vicuña has its origins in a forbidden romance between an errant god and a beautiful human maiden and an errant auki (immortal being). But when the Creator God Wiracocha came to punish the couple for disrupting the mission on which he sent the auki, he saw their enchanting children and he did not punish them; the parents became mountains and their children became the vicuña.
- After posing nude for a phone company in South Korea, Gail Kim went into United Wrestling Federation and TNA events demanding to be announced as "The most beautiful woman in professional wrestling."
- Though never outright stated, WWE was clearly billing Kelly Kelly as this due to her being the company's number one Ms. Fanservice and having the commentators (particularly Jerry Lawler) constantly talk about how hot she was night after night.
- In Changeling: The Lost, female Fairest are very often contenders for this title. There's a reason their Seeming is so named. That said, while all of the Fairest are incredibly beautiful, it's not uncommon for them to be unconventionally beautiful or have looks that are physically impossible for mortal women to have. While beautiful, seeing a woman who is, for example, a living embodiment of a rainbow or of the beauty of a wild beast may not appeal so much to humans.
- Sand Gambler in Yu-Gi-Oh! is a gender swap; a poll in Master Guide 2 named him the hunkiest male monster in the game. (Of course, the poll was a fictitious one where female monsters were surveyed.)
- In the Ravenloft game, Tatyana is this to Strahd, to the point that he wants nobody else, despite attempts at trying to find a substitute. His desire to have her caused him to make a Deal with the Devil, resulting in him becoming a vampire and the Darklord of Barovia, in effect, creating the whole setting.
- Word of God claims that Chun-Li is the most beautiful woman in the Street Fighter series.
- Daniella from Haunting Ground can be seen as an example of this trope, especially once it is revealed that she was created to be "the perfect woman."
- Several of Emelone's victory titles in Yggdra Unison claim that she's the most beautiful woman in the world.
- Milotic of Pokémon, as described in the Pokédex. The Pokémon Diancie is also described as the loveliest sight in the world.
- In the Warriors series:
- Dynasty Warriors has Diao Chan, who is noted as being one of the "Four Great Beauties of China". In the 7th installment, she even has a stage facing off against other female characters (and Zhang He) in a battle royale for said title.
- Samurai Warriors follows suit by giving a few of the female characters dream stages revolved around this concept.
- Fire Emblem:
Roy: "She must be beautiful beyond words. Even when I first saw her, I couldn't believe that such a beautiful woman could exist."
- Fire Emblem: Sword of Seals, Roy refers to Princess Guinevere (aka the newly crowned Queen Guinevere of Bern) as this, and sounds almost like a starstruck schoolboy while at it.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, Tharja's roster bio in the Japanese version identifies her as the woman with the nicest body in Chrom's army (the North American version instead says she's the one with the darkest thoughts). Her Raven Hair, Ivory Skin-like attractiveness is mentioned in talks with people of both genders, sometimes to her annoyance; i.e. Nowi points out how she has either huge "boingy bits" (Japanese and NA version) or "gorgeous silky hair" (in the bowdlerized European version), Cordelia is kiiiiiinda fixated in her figure and her own lack of boobage, Gaius straight-up says that her "bad girl" appeal is pretty attractive for a guy like him...
- Tharja's Expy and possibly her reincarnation or past life (it's not clear which) Rhajat in Fire Emblem Fates is much the same as her physically speaking, being described as having the nicest thighs in the army (and also has the darkest thoughts in North America). Many of her supports have comments on her beauty, also much to her annoyance (she once threatened to curse a shopkeeper that kept saying flattering things about her and did curse her prospect Love Interest Shiro when he made one too many insensitive comments over her looks). And, much like Tharja, people of both genders can be attracted to her. In fact, she's the Bi Option for the Female Avatar.
- In the backstory of Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, the Mila priestess Lady Liprica was considered the most beautiful woman in the kingdom of Zofia. Sadly, the Jerk Ass King Lima IV took note of it and forced Liprica to become his Hot Consort. She was the Missing Mom of Princess Anthiese... aka Celica.
- Princess Medea of Dragon Quest VIII is mentioned to be the fairest princess in the world. A tourist guide even says getting to see Medea is worth the trip to Trodain. Unfortunately, for most of the game she has a face like a horse. Literally.
- In combination of World's Most Beautiful Woman and Really Gets Around, you've got Shena The Draw, who the townspeople in Vernis frequently comment 'Everyone loves Shena's ass.'
- In a bit of Gameplay and Story Segregation, Shena's Charisma is 44, which is decently high, but there are other NPCs with higher, including ironically, the creepy gravedigger, who also lives in Vernis, 'Whom Dwell In Vanity' whose Charisma is 146.
- Rosa of Final Fantasy IV is referred to as the most beautiful woman in the kingdom of Baron.
- Banjo's sister Tooty is referred to as the fairest in the land, which causes the entire plot of the game; the hideous and jealous witch Gruntilda kidnaps her, planning to use a machine to steal Tooty's beauty.
- In the bad ending of the game, Grunty succeeds in stealing her beauty and becomes the new fairest in the land, and Tooty left as the hideous one.
- Francesca Findabair is widely considered to be the worlds most beautiful woman in The Witcher universe. Triss Merigold, Geralt's Lancer and Love Interest, is also a strong contender. In the first game she's openly called this by an admiring party guest, and through the second game she catches the eye of Zoltan, Cedric, Phillipa Eilhart, and a troll.
- Camille was Oglaf's world's most beautiful woman, until she was eaten by a crocodile. (Technically then, that crocodile is the world's most beautiful woman. Until they hold the competition again next year.) Link is SFW, by the way.
- It's noted in Dragon Ball Z Abridged that Dodoria was once considered the most beautiful-and fertile-woman on her planet. Before Frieza blew it up.
- Fey of the Whateley Universe is not only this, but has a faerie Glamour that makes her seem even sexier. Even gay guys and straight women often feel attraction for her. As a queen of Faerie, she has even more going for her than that.
- In Welcome to Night Vale, the radio host cannot mention Carlos without breathlessly describing how incredibly handsome he is. We know that it's not just the host that Carlos effects this way, as the barber who dared to cut Carlos' "beautiful, perfect hair" "so very, very short" is later found wandering the desert wastes, gibbering, clutching Carlos' shorn locks, and attempting to shave cacti.
- Speaking of cacti, Night Vale's third most beautiful woman lived up one until a mysterious traveler convinced her to come down and marry him.
- According to the song "Topsy-Turvy" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Esmeralda is "The finest girl in France."
- In Futurama, Leela is the most beautiful mutant, ever. Of course, mutants being mutants, it means she is simply mildly attractive rather than hideous.
- The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack features a salesman who wears a bag on his head, as does the rest of his family. When the bag is removed people stand in awe at his face, with an Ethereal Choir even chiming in to describe him as "the most beautiful man in the world." People instantly will do anything to please him, including buying his wares, but he puts his bag on and sadly moves away, wanting people to do so without knowing what he looks like.
- Lana from Archer is basically this. Not only are women and gay men are willing to have sex with her, she was chosen specifically, out of all the women on Earth, to be the "brood sow" for colonizing Mars in the "Space Race" two-parter. Commander Drake chose Lana because he considers her the perfect female specimen based on her morphology, I.Q. and medical history. That's flattering... ish. This is also somewhat subverted as Lana's supposedly huge, mannish hands as well as her other not so feminine qualities are frequently pointed out.
- Lampshaded, naturally, in Rocky and Bullwinkle in their "Fractured Fairy Tale" spots. In one, "Snow White Inc", the magic mirror informs the wicked queen several times that "Snow White is the fairest", but ultimately announces that the queen is the most beautiful. When the queen asks why he called Snow White the fairest, the mirror answers, "She never lies, cheats or steals. What could be fairer than that?"
- Rowena is referred to as the "Most beautiful woman in England" by Abhorrent Admirer and fiancé by Arranged Marriage Prince John in Ivanhoe: The King's Knight.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Spike sometimes proclaims Rarity as the most beautiful mare in the world. Of course, he's biased because he has a crush on her.
- In "Campfire Tales", Rarity tells a story about Mistmane, who was considered the most beautiful Unicorn in the land. She eventually used her magic to sacrifice her beauty to restore the land and her friend Sable Spirit to health, turning into a crone, but she was well respected for the deed.
- A number of women in ancient times, including Nefertiti of Egypt and Roxana, the first wife of Alexander the Great. Two inspirations for Aphrodite/Venus are Phryne, a famous courtesan, and Campaspe, reportedly a mistress of the aforementioned Alexander the Great.
- Subsaharan Africa is just as abundant with tales of famous beauties:
- 12th century warrior Princess Yennenga, who is the founding mother of the Mossi kingdom of Burkina Faso through her son Ouedraogo, was an accomplished warrior from puberty and strikingly beautiful, but her father would not allow her to marry and become a mother because she was too important of a warrior; after her attempts to soften his stance failed, she disguised herself as a man and she fled with the help of a servant, riding her stallion until they could go no further. And she met Riale, an elephant hunter and a handsome young man in his own right. They befriended each other but Riale quickly saw through her disguise and romance blossomed between them, resulting in their marriage and the birth of their son, Ouedraogo.
- Moremi Ajasoro, 12th century Queen of the Yoruba, was married to the king of Ife Ife, and their kingdom was at war with a mysterious rival tribe, who kept raiding their realm and enslaving their people. Moremi sacrificed all she had to the river god in her effort to understand who these people were and how they fought. She allowed herself to be captured by the enemies and, being a very beautiful woman, she soon caught the attention of their king, who married her. Biding her time, Moremi the spy queen studied the secrets of her captors, including those of their army, and when the time was right she fled home to Ife Ife (an adventure in itself) and informed the Yoruba of these secrets; the Yoruba soon crushed them in battle.
- Various women in modern times are proclaimed this by one person, group or magazine poll or another. The yearly contests for Miss World/Miss Universe and so on are somewhat based on this principle, but the girls are not only chosen for their good looks, but also for their personalities. The one who wins is not necessarily the most beautiful one there, or even any more beautiful than the previous winner.
- Subverted in modern times for beauty has become much more widespread even compared to an age just 2 generations back, not just in the upper class, but even in people who practice dirty jobs. Not only due to cosmetics or surgery, but rather due to better nutrition, better education (which allows people to choose what is best for their health) and progressive elimination of chronic disease from society. Nowadays one has much more chances to die suddenly in an accident than wither under an inoperable cancer, MDR tuberculosis or liver cirrhosis.
- Cleopatra, depending on who says it. She's constantly depicted as the World's Most Beautiful Woman, but in real life, she has been described as rather less so. Cicero himself, upon meeting her, said that "she is not as beautiful as many men have said." However, it should also be noted that Cicero disliked Cleopatra, and he would have gladly called her ugly if she actually was.
"She certainly never scared anybody when she was fixed up a bit." - Will Cuppy, The Decline & Fall of Practically Everybody
- In societies with a tradition of a polygamous monarchy, it was common for the King to send recruiting parties composed of trained connoisseurs to find the most beautiful women in his Kingdom for wives. In a large Empire like Persia or China, the selection was so great that the one that was finally picked as the King's favorite was likely to be almost literally the World's Most Beautiful Woman.
- The already beautiful Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary aka Sisi was widely considered as this in her time. Rather darkly, she kept herself youthful and thin by, among other things, basically starving herself to anorexic levels so she could maintain her tiny waist, and letting her Rapunzel Hair grow to the point that it took hours to wash and dry it.
- The Four Great Beauties of China are claimed to be the most beautiful women in the world during their time. Considering China's extremely long history, the fact that they are the chosen four is saying a lot. Also, one of them, Diaochan from Romance of the Three Kingdoms, is speculated to be most likely fictitious (though possibly based on a real person). Their beauty was so great that some of them changed history; as most know, Diaochan played a big part in causing Lu Bu to rebel against Dong Zhou, at least according to the novel.
- Aside from Diaochan, the other three were Xi Shi, Wang Zhaojun and Yang Guifei. A famous poem describes how beautiful each of them were: Xi Shi made fish forget how to swim, Wang Zhaojun made birds drop from the sky, Diaochan eclipsed the moon, and Yang Guifei put all flowers to shame.
- Of the four Great Beauties, Xi Shi was said to have been the most beautiful. On a related note, there is a common joke in the greater Chinese sphere about the inversion of this trope that uses Xi Shi's name in a pun: the world's ugliest woman is said to be Dong Shinote .
- Gender-inverted with the writer Pan An (潘安), the prospect poet Song Yu (宋玉), the Warrior Prince Lanling (兰陵王) and the Ill Boy Wei Jie (卫玠), known as "China's Four Most Handsome Men".
- Up until the Muscovite era, the tsars of Russia used to choose their wives via a nationwide beauty contest. The tsar would give a ring and a handkerchief to the winner. Since XVIII century, they switched to the standard operating procedure of marrying with other royal families.
- Oda Nobunaga's younger sister Oichi had the term zessei no bijin ("peerless beauty") coined for her, and most influential men of the time apparently sought her hand in marriage. Ironically, Nobunaga thought she was too tall. But to be fair, brothers that appreciate their sisters' beauty are usually quite depraved and prone to Brother–Sister Incest.
- People Magazine voted Julia Roberts "the most beautiful person in the world" a record 4 times, though Michelle Pfeiffer has been listed six times, winning once. The cover of their annual "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" has usually been a woman, and for nearly the past decade, said woman—Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston, etc.— has in fact been designated, "World's Most Beautiful Woman".
- Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII, was described as "the most beautiful creature in the world," and was probably the best-looking of all Henry's wives. That did not stop her husband from divorcing her, however.
- Henry's younger sister Mary, meanwhile, has been regarded by some historians as having probably been the most attractive princess in all of Europe during her teenage years.
- Henry's mother and grandmother, Elizabeth of York and Elizabeth Woodville (where she was said to have heavy-lidded eyes of a dragon, were considered the most beautiful woman in England during their prime.
- British silent film actress, Ivy Close, was named this by the Daily Mirror in 1908, prior to her launching her film career.
- Gayatri Devi (1919–2009), the Maharani of Jaipur and a renowned politician who won her parliamentary election by a record-breaking number of votes, was hailed by Vogue as the world's most beautiful woman.
- Aishwarya Rai, Bollywood actress (and former Miss World) has been called this (and the most attractive woman of 2003, too).
- The actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr was often called the most beautiful woman in the world. Particularly in her youth.
- Gender-inverted with Omar Borkan Al Gala, a Saudi Arabian man who came to the world's attention in 2013 when he was asked to leave the country because he's too handsome—the Saudi government thought his looks would tempt women into leaving their husbands.