In November 2008, Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive, Halle Berry, recreated a classic Esquire cover from December 2000, featuring Bill Clinton. An inside breakdown of how this image came together.
So here it is, our final re-creation of a classic Esquire cover in celebration of our seventy-fifth anniversary. After the first three -- Victoria's Secret models in Angie Dickinson sweaters (February), Jessica Simpson in shaving cream (May), and Stephen Colbert in martyrdom (August) -- we knew we needed a worthy finale. So we turned to one of our most iconic covers, the valedictory December 2000 image of President Bill Clinton taken by the photographer Platon. We wanted to recapture the confidence, charm, and power of that image, but with an even handsomer subject: 2008's Sexiest Woman Alive, Halle Berry.
Having already shot one of Esquire's Sexiest Women Alive, Jessica Biel, photographer Cliff Watts was familiar with the concept. He was also familiar with Halle Berry -- not only did he photograph her for us in May 2007, the two have been friends for ten years. Acknowledging his bias (Watts is the godfather of Berry's first child), we asked his opinion on this year's winner.
On the Shot: "When I first looked at the image, I thought, Are we really gonna do this with Halle? But after I talked to her about it, it just seemed right. She's a powerful woman; he's a powerful man. It's basically the female equivalent of the Clinton cover. There's a sensitivity and a sexuality there, but also the strength."
On Berry's New Title: "I've been around a lot of beautiful women, and Halle is truly a sexy, beautiful woman. I've seen guys who aren't really attracted to many women be attracted to her. I've seen women be attracted to her. She's so likable. Her sexiness goes beyond her good body and beautiful skin. There's some warmth about her. It's contagious."
On Who Looks Better in That Tie: "Bill Clinton, he's a cool cat. I was always a fan of his, but Halle, she's ruling that tie. I think Bill's going to be a little sorry when he sees that."