FAIR OR DARK, SUNNY OR SULTRY, RUGGED OR delicate, pulchritude has countless faces. So this ninth edition of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World celebrates the delicious counterpoints of comeliness. In ’98, we discovered contrasts everywhere. Two sides of beauty’s coin, young and old, are represented by Titanic‘s golden boy Leonardo DiCaprio, 23, and its silver fox Gloria Stuart, 87. We have two kinds of sluggers too: major leaguer Alex Rodriguez and model/actress Cindy Margolis, whose blonde tresses (and thong bikinis) have launched innumerable Internet hits. And Halle Berry (right), making her fourth appearance among the fairest, shares the limelight with such newcomers as Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ally McBeal‘s Calista Flockhart. Disparities also run through the decades. The venerable Stuart recalls the old days, when “the makeup was much stronger in black-and-white.” Technicolor, of course, has brushed on a softer glow. But whether beauty is tough or tender, outrageous or shy, wild or tame, we say vive la différence!