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World's Most Beautiful Woman
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.
— Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
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
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
. 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 are subjective and often political in nature; this is no place to gush about attractive women, since such a title is so subjective that it's meaningless in the real world.
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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.
- 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.
- One Piece's Boa Hancock of the Seven Warlords of the Sea. The Risky Brothers claim that her beauty is only rivaled by the Mermaid Princess Shirahoshi.
- And there is Alvida, who 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 mom is specifically mentioned to be the most beautiful woman in the magical kingdoms. So much that, when she was a young princess, a Vain Sorceress put her into sleep, and Sally's dad had to give her a True Love's Kiss to save her. Hm, where have we seen this, huh? 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 Oregairu, 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". Her face is never shown to the reader.
- Dongfang Xiong ("Heartblade") in the Hong Kong series Weapons Of The Gods.
- In an issue of Green Lantern 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Juliet Stollop/Jewels in Unseen Academicals.
- Assuming she qualified as a woman at all, Myria LeJean/Unity from Thief of Time probably qualified as this also, as she was designed to be gorgeous by the Auditors. As they copied her features from what was considered the most beautiful painting of a woman in the world, then improved upon them by erasing imperfections, it's likely that they created this trope without actually comprehending what "beauty" is!
- 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, Galadriel).
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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. (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 Kushiels Legacy series is lauded to be the world's most beautiful womam. Even by her compatiots, 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, Hélčne 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 male-to-female Trans sexual named Melecio, and she and Eva were friends several years ago.
- Similarly, in The Houseof 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 Book 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.
Live Action TV
- Pee-Wee's Playhouse, of course, had Miss Yvonne, who (as we were told Once an 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.
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 unwillingly marrying the king and using said marriage and her smarts to save the Jewish people singlehandedly.
- 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).
- 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.
- In IrishMythology, Deirdre was prophesied to be the most beautiful woman in the world.
- In WelshMythology, 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 pretty much thought Hera's wrath would be pretty much 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 feel 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Changeling: The Lost, female Fairest are very often contenders for this title. There's a reason their Seeming is so named.
- While all of the Fairest are incredibly beautiful, it's not uncommon for them to be unconventionally beautiful, or having 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 may not appeal so much to humans.
- 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.
- Inverted with Lena Hyena, the ugliest woman in the world.
- 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.
- 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?"