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'Maxim' raises the Bar with Hot 100 list
Updated 5/21/2012 1:14 PM ET
Maxim is hot for Bar Refaeli.

The sexy supermodel is No. 1 on the Maxim Hot 100 list.

And how does the beauty feel about the new title?

PHOTOS: Check out the top 10 - and the list's first man MORE: See the full list of hotties

"Every year, it's a different girl that I look up to. For me to be among them, it's an honor," Refaeli says in a phone call from Israel.

For the first time in the magazine's history, readers were part of the process of selecting who made the list. As a result, there were some surprises. For example, this is the first year that a man has landed on the list. Yes, that's right. TV's Stephen Colbert ranks at No. 69.

Editor Dan Bova says Maxim put a list of suggestions online but then write-ins were allowed. "The Colbert Nation turned out in force," Bova says. "As we say: Democracy isn't pretty, but this time, it was downright handsome."

Why did Maxim decide to get readers involved? After years of backlash and negative reaction about omissions once the list was out, Bova explains, "We decided: Why don't you help us along in this process?" The other women who rounded out the Top 10 are: Olivia Munn, Mila Kunis, Katy Perry, Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, Megan Fox, Malin Akerman and Adrianne Palicki.

That Refaeli ranked No. 1 does show that Maxim has a global reach, says Bova, who has been with the magazine since 2008. Sure, she's famous for modeling spreads including the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues, but she's not someone with a big blockbuster movie coming up this summer either, Bova explains. "She is a familiar face, but she is a little bit unexpected," he says. "She's at this incredible level right now where she's about to become even bigger."

The list reveals a lot about voters' preferences, he adds. "Maxim readers not only appreciate a beautiful-looking woman," Bova says. "They like women who have a great sense of fun, who are kind of like guy's guys. A lot of these women are in comedies or are just big personalities. They're not above it all. They like to do silly things. And I think our guys respond to a woman who is not only beautiful, she's also approachable. She would probably be the coolest person on Earth to hang out with."

As for Refaeli, she's taking the attention all in stride and will be heading to celebrations for the honor in the USA soon. She has been busy working on a big-screen dark comedy in Israel that is in Hebrew and French. This summer, she is going to Germany to work on a television show with models doing what she describes as extreme photo shoots.

But she says she is not traveling as much these days as she did early in her career. With a birthday in a few weeks (she's turning 27), Refaeli explains that her perspective on things have changed. For example, when it comes to staying fit, "I don't have a different approach, but I'm starting to want to be home more," she says. "Since I want to be home more, it balances my health."

She adds that as she gets older, she finds that "I want to be more stable."

Modeling has been a big part of her life, but she says eventually, that will change.

"I've always wanted to have a family more than anything. If that will happen, that would be my first priority," she explains.

And does she have someone in mind to start a family with? No, she says. But she does have criteria for her future partner, she reveals. "I'm looking for a friend that will make me laugh, that will teach me every day — that I can learn from, and that has the same values as me. It sounds very simple but it's very hard to find," she says with a chuckle.

The Maxim Hot 100 issue is on newsstands May 29.

Posted 5/21/2012 1:03 PM ET
Updated 5/21/2012 1:14 PM ET
Israeli model Bar Refaeli tops Maxim's Hot 100 2012 list.
Eyal Nevo
Israeli model Bar Refaeli tops Maxim's Hot 100 2012 list.