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2013’s Hottest Sex Symbols

From the queen of “Blurred Lines” to ‘Hunger Games’ hunks, the men and women who turned up the heat

Miley Cyrus

Anyone hoping to attain sex symbol status has to satisfy a checklist of musts: a degree of mainstream visibility, a healthy amount of buzz, and, of course, a whole lot of hotness.

From familiar faces that finally piqued America’s interest to young studs and ingénues just beginning to toy with our hormonal balance, here are our choices for the 20 most titillating stars of 2013. By Kenny Herzog

Margot Robbie

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Margot Robbie

For Australian stars like Kylie Minogue and Natalie Imbruglia, passing through Down Under soap Neighbours on the way to Hollywood has been an antipodean rite of passage. Fellow Ramsay Street alum Margot Robbie, however, could be primed for even bigger stages than her countrywomen. The 23-year-old ex-Pan Am actress got a nice supporting feature in the time-travel romance About Time, but that was just an appetizer for her role opposite Leo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming The Wolf of Wall Street (she'll also be seen with Will Smith in 2014’s Focused). There’s something subtly coquettish behind Robbie's blue eyes, which, among her other charms, are all but assured to be red carpet staples in the coming year.

Amanda Marcum

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Amanda Marcum

When Florida Gulf Coast University made a surprise run during the 2013 NCAA Basketball tournament, viewers were gifted with a two-part Cinderella story. There was the high-flying Eagles' success, sure, but there was also the re-emergence of former Maxim cover girl Amanda Marcum, wife of the team's coach, Andy Enfield. Nearly every pivotal FGCU score was accompanied by a televised reaction shot of the blonde bombshell, thus inspiring clipboard carriers everywhere to pursue their livelihood with a renewed sense of optimism. 

Lizzy Caplan

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Lizzy Caplan

Caplan has been a massive nerd crush since Freaks and Geeks, and on through her turns in Cloverfield, Party Down and True Blood. She can play funny, paranoid-dramatic or understated and has a tomboy-next-door likeability. But it's her part as real-life sexologist Virginia Johnson on Showtime's acclaimed new Masters of Sex that's beguiled millions of new viewers. Turns out that all it took to make Caplan a sex symbol was for her to portray a sex legend. 

T.O.P.

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T.O.P.

While his South Korean counterpart Psy grabbed worldwide attention with his novelty hit "Gangnam Style," rapper/actor/model T.O.P. merely went about the business of becoming K-Pop's answer to Justin Timberlake: a handsome, stylish, talented multi-threat. The standout member of the boyband Bigbang made serious inroads of late by popping up on tracks by Major Lazer and Pixie Lott, and seems destined to be endorsed by much bigger Western names.

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Taylor Schilling

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Taylor Schilling

Shortly after Orange is the New Black took Netflix queues by storm, most viewers had two prevailing questions about Taylor Schilling's alter ego, imprisoned yuppie Piper Chapman: Is she really going out with Jason Biggs' character, and how about that little bit of shower erotica between her and Laura Prepon's Alex Vause?!

Adele Exarchopoulos

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Adele Exarchopoulos

It remains to be seen whether French drama Blue is the Warmest Color's Cannes buzz will translate to Oscar hosannas, but 20-year-old star Adele Exarchopolous has cemented a place in cinematic erotica lore to her graphic, emotionally charged sex scenes with co-star Lea Seydoux.

Gabriel Mann

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Gabriel Mann

As Nolan Ross, every Revenge fan's favorite Snagglepuss soundalike, Gabriel Mann has delivered a deliciously soapy spin on sexual ambiguity. At first, Nolan was mere guy-pal corroborator alongside scheming Emily Thorne (a notably smoldering Emily VanCamp). As we lurch toward the end of Season 3, Nolan has grown in confidence and dangerous liaisons, toying with boys and girls alike, all while rocking looks out of some drag revival of Great Gatsby. He's a truly unlikely lothario, and sexier because of it. 

Cassadee Pope

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Cassadee Pope

The former teen singer for emo-light popsters Hey Monday took a U-turn during her appearance on The Voice. Suddenly more grown up and elegant, but maintaining traces of a punkier, tattoos-and-hair-dye look, Pope teamed with coach Blake Shelton and honed her country-crooner chops. The result was a Season 3 title, an ensuing tour with Rascal Flatts and the October release of her solo debut, Frame by Frame

Lake Bell

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Lake Bell

All might have seemed lost for Lake Bell when HBO canceled How to Make it in America. Not really. The funny lady still had Children's Hospital to check into, along with a couple other tricks lined up for 2013. One was demonstrating her considerable filmmaking skills as director and star of the voice-over comedy In a World… The other, perhaps more widely remembered, was posing naked in bodypaint on the cover of New York magazine in August. 

Kerry Washington

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Kerry Washington

It's not as if Kerry Washington's a celebrity stranger, but with the constantly growing water-cooler momentum of Scandal, the 36-year-old Emmy nominee has solidified herself as a badass possessed of both beauty and class.

Adam Driver

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Adam Driver

He's not the quintessential stud. Nor is his character on Girls a model of the doting boyfriend. But there's something totally compelling about Adam Driver, who plays Lena Dunham's romantic foil, Adam Sackler. His rugged facial features and gangly presence cut a singular image, but what makes Driver sexiest is his commitment to playing Sackler as he is: prone to violent mood swings punctuated by periods of isolation, recreationally engaged in degrading sex-play and, occasionally, a very sweet guy. 

Cecily Strong

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Cecily Strong

As the funny, attractive, and razor-sharp brunette host of "Weekend Update," Cecily Strong has more than capably lived up to the legacy of Tina Fey. Nothing's sexier than a sense of humor, and with all due respect to Taran Killam, Kate McKinnon and Jay Pharoah, the tall, chestnut-eyed Strong is the Saturday Night Live regular keeping us weak in the knees.

Katherine Webb

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Katherine Webb

Brent Musburger did not act alone. During the 2013 BCS National Championship Game, an admiring cameraman found 2012 Miss Alabama (and girlfriend of University of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron) Katherine Webb in the stands. Musburger responded with some unintentionally leering comments, and made a media sensation out of Webb. The attention wasn't all bad for the 24-year-old, though. Her Twitter following boomed, followed by appearances on celebrity-diving show Splash and in the Sports Illustrated Swimisuit Issue

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