Cruz, who was born in Spain, sat down with the magazine recently for an interview in her native Madrid. She declined to talk about either her personal life or her plans for a new movie with director Pedro Almodovar, but she captivated writer Chris Jones nonetheless.
"She is impossibly beautiful," he writes in the November issue. "When she walks into a room, men start walking into furniture."
Later he adds, "Over the course of a long lunch, Cruz looks like a thousand different women. She flips her hair, or she shifts in her chair, or she creases her forehead or widens her eyes, and these alone are enough to transform her. It feels like watching close-up magic, an actress playing every possible part and well enough to be confounding."
Cruz's ability to slip into different characters is indeed something to behold, but make no mistake — she knows exactly who she is offscreen. That wasn't always the case, though.
"I've played a lot of tricks on myself. I've made it hard for me sometimes, especially in my teens and twenties," the Oscar winner told the mag. "I had an attraction to drama. Most of us have that, especially if you are an artist — you feel like you are tempted to explore the darkness. I could not be less interested now. For me, the most attractive, charming, cool, fun, interesting thing — how could I call it? A plan."
Her plan now revolves around life with her family: husband Javier Bardem and kids Leo, 3, and Luna, 14 months. Asked about them during her chat with Esquire, she said, "That is for us."
Cruz is the 10th woman in 11 years to be given the mag's Sexiest Woman Alive honor. Past winners have included Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis, Halle Berry, and Scarlett Johansson, who topped the list twice, in 2006 and 2013.