Rihanna has been named the "Sexiest Woman Alive" by men's magazine Esquire, which features her appearing nearly naked on the cover of its November 2011 issue.
The Grammy-winning R&B singer has long been a sex symbol and is known for taking risks when it comes to her music.
She has released suggestive music videos such as "S&M" and was criticized over her clip for "Man Down," which depicts a victim of a sexual attack gunning down her assailant. She has said the video is empowering. Rihanna also recently caused controversy by being booted off of an Irish farm after going topless while filming a music video for her track "We Found Love."
But Rihanna tells Esquire: "At the end of a concert, I don't feel like I've been this sexy thing. Really, I don't even think about it. Unless it's a song that really calls for it, like 'Skin' or 'S&M,' or when I cover 'Darling Nikki.' There's a section that's called 'Sex' in the show, which is the obvious section for sexuality."
Rihanna made headlines in recent years due to her personal history with fellow R&B singer Chris Brown. He pleaded guilty to felony assault for attacking Rihanna while they were dating in 2009. Brown was sentenced to five years of probation and six months of community service. Brown completed a court-mandated domestic violence course in December 2010.
Rihanna told Esquire that it was "incredible to see how he pulled out of it the way he did."
"I really like the music he's putting out," she added. "I'm a fan of his stuff. I've always been a fan. Obviously, I had some resentment toward him for a while, for obvious reasons. But I've put that behind me. It was taking up too much of my time. It was too much anger. I'm really excited to see the breakthrough he's had in his career. I would never wish anything horrible for him. Never. I never have."
Rihanna said in March that it was her decision to allow a judge to ease a restraining order that was issued against Brown following the attack, adding: "We don't have to talk ever again in my life. I just didn't want to make it more difficult for him professionally."
Esquire also named its female runners-up in its "Sexiest" list.
Among its "Achievers of 2011" are Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who appeared in the recent third "Transformers" film, R&B singer Beyonce, actresses Emma Stone, Mila Kunis, Vera Farmiga and Maria Bello and soccer star and current "Dancing With The Stars" contestant Hope Solo, Last year, Esquire named Minka Kelly the "Sexiest Woman Alive." She is known for her roles on the shows "Friday Night Lights" and the current ABC reboot of "Charlie's Angels."
Esquire said Kelly had some advice for Rihanna "as she passes the Sexiest Woman Alive torch."
"Stop going to the gym," the magazine quoted the actress as saying. "Eat all the pizza you want. You've got the title now for the whole year."