Sneak Peek: 2014's World's Most Beautiful List
Though she grew up thinking that "light skin and flowing, straight hair" made women desirable, World's Most Beautiful Woman Nyong'o, 31, tells PEOPLE that her mother "always said I was beautiful. And I finally believed her at some point." The Oscar winner, who's now a face of Lancôme Paris, is excited for this honor in part because of "all the girls who would see me … and feel a little more seen."
Age – 38, in this case – is just a number for Russell, who doesn't let the passing years hold her back. "I feel that my girlfriends look better now than they ever did," she told T Magazine. "Everything just works. I do secretly want my 21-year-old butt back. But other than that, I like being here, this age."
Since welcoming daughter Everly last May, Dewan-Tatum, 33, has had even more of a glow. She gives some of the credit to cruelty-free products like Josie Maran's Argan Oil, and the support she gets from husband Channing. "He loves me when I wake up … with no makeup on and my hair's a mess," she told BeautyHigh.com. "If he loves me like that then you can only go up from there."
This beauty has brains, too, in the form of a Dartmouth degree, a writing credit on her hit show The Mindy Project and a New York Times best-selling book. So how does she juggle it all and still look great? By catching plenty of Zs. "I have the sleep patterns of a 12-year-old boy, so I could sleep until 2 in the afternoon," the 34-year-old recently told PEOPLE. "Pampering for me is sleeping."
This CoverGirl, 34, has never been one to follow conventional beauty "rules" – and that's just fine. "Beautiful has never been my goal," she told Redbook. "Joy is my goal – to feel healthy and strong and powerful and useful and engaged and intelligent and in love. It's about joy. And there's such joy now."
Mix Old Hollywood glamour with modern hair, makeup and style, and you get the future Mrs. Johnny Depp, 28, a siren both on and off screen. She happily admits to a strict workout routine – it is part of the job – but believes individuality is a key to beauty, too. "I think the secret to great style is to have your own style, and not depend on a set of rules or steps or someone else's guidelines," she told Women's Health. "I think the people with the best style do just that."
This 41-year-old stunner – who drinks one gallon of water every day to keep her skin hydrated – doesn't just have beauty idols like Janet Jackson and fellow honoree Kerry Washington; she actually knows them. "I'm more about inner beauty," she told Essence, "so most of my beauty icons are people … I can confirm are nice, and also happen to be beautiful."
It's easy for Sims, 40, to always feel beautiful – she is a tall, slim, blonde-to-redhead model, after all! But even she knows that some of the most gorgeous photographs of her out there aren't completely true to life, thanks to Photoshop. "It isn't real," she told Cosmopolitan. "It gives people a false sense of what is attainable. Have I been Photoshopped enough? For sure. Have I not been Photoshopped enough? For sure. But you're never going to be able to get the way you look Photoshopped – people just don't look like that in real life."
Not only gorgeous, Washington, 37, is also ageless (seriously, she doesn't look a day over Save the Last Dance). But she demurs such compliments. "The 'imperfections' are actually the gift," she told Doobop.com. "The reality is we all have nerves and moments of insecurity … But if I said to myself that I'm only going to show up, or speak or be visible when I'm perfect, I would never get out of bed."