Who are Des Moines’ sexiest people?
Our take on the hottest in the metro
By Cityview Staff
Defining sexiness is kind of like defining art. Some people can look at a piece and find great beauty; others see nothing attractive at all. But most everyone can appreciate the work that goes into it.
Being sexy doesn’t come natural for most. It’s a combination of things -— the way they dress, their smile, their curves, their scent. It’s their confidence, their hair, their eyes, and, yes, their personality.
Despite popular belief, Iowa isn’t all cornfields and market hogs. Laced in between the Missouri and the Mississippi, you will find beautiful people here. OK, maybe not so much in the southern counties, but there are some sexy people in central Iowa. Really. So many, in fact, that we decided to highlight 12 of them in this week’s cover story — Des Moines’ Sexiest People. Are there more than 12? Sure, but we didn’t’ want to run the well dry with our first effort.
Now let us be clear. This is not a poll of our readers or a scientific survey. It is our 100 percent unabashed, unapologetic opinions. You will wholeheartedly agree with some of our choices, spit out your beverage while laughing at others and scratch your head in disbelief on a few while wondering what we must be smoking. And that’s just the way we like it.
So without further delay, allow us to introduce Des Moines’ Sexiest People…
She may be small in stature, but Laura Hollingsworth is by no means a little woman. Her bold decisions have propelled her to the top of Iowa’s largest daily newspaper. But under her leadership, The Des Moines Register has fallen in nearly every key category, most recently losing an additional 13 percent of its paid circulation. Only Gannett’s sexiest publisher could turn this into a positive, which she did with a recent note to staff calling the loss part of “strategic changes we’ve made in our business as we’ve moved focus to circulation that is most important to our customers and to us.” Uhh, yeah. Even so, this married, 42-year-old mother of twins tops the list of hot moms in the metro with her shapely figure, her beautiful smile and her effervescent personality. A 1985 graduate of Sturgeon Bay High School in Wisconsin, this blonde bombshell must have developed her charisma during her days entertaining visitors at Thumb Fun Amusement Park.
“She’s absolutely hot,” says one of her numerous former employees, “in an I’ll-cut-your-job kind of way.” So be it, but we love to hear this cougar growl.
ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue” had it right. Lolo Jones defines “sexy.” At 5’9” and 130 lbs., Jones is one of Iowa’s greatest athletes. She is a natural beauty, born of French, Native American, African American and Norwegian decent. At 27 years old, Jones turns heads with her sexy eyes and amazing smile. But this sexy woman is also a physical specimen with her toned arms, muscular legs and those washboard abs. This Olympian’s rock ’em, sock ’em six pack amazes.
Jones is etched into Drake Relays record books as the only athlete to win four straight titles in the women’s 100-meter hurdles.
“Lolo Jones is like the peoples’ champion of Iowa,” said Keith Murphy, sports director for WHO-TV Channel 13. “Life hasn’t always been easy for Lolo, but even when she’s knocked down, she gets back up and tries again.”
And Jones has overcome a number of obstacles on her way to success. During her youth, she bounced from school to school, apartment to apartment, as one of five children being raised by a single mother. Jones parted ways with her family to pursue a track and field career and ultimately enrolled at Roosevelt High School, where she excelled in the classroom and played the cello in the school orchestra. On the track, Jones was named the Gatorade Iowa Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
While we know Jones looks sexy in her track uniform, what catches our attention is her off-the-track charisma. As a professional athlete, Jones purchased new track shoes for members of the Roosevelt track team while making monetary donations to improve the track’s surface. She also reached out to a single mother financially after the 2008 Iowa floods.
“Anyone can see Lolo is strikingly pretty and fit beyond reason, but I think what makes her sexy is her personality,” Murphy said. “She improves any room she walks into. Lolo turns heads with her looks and keeps the attention with her personality. She’s strong, resilient and confident. That’s sexy.”
What makes a man sexy? Some say it’s a rough, tough demeanor on manly locations like the gridiron. Others say it is a gentleness in places like the kitchen. If you agree with both, Tony Lemmo is your man. A 1997 Dowling Catholic graduate, this sexy Italian earned numerous state football honors by pancaking opponents from the offensive line. Following high school, Lemmo played one year of football at the University of Northern Iowa before returning to his roots of family and food. Today, the 31 year old is owner and chef of Café Di Scala and can be found in the kitchen whipping up mouth-watering dishes that make this Historic Sherman Hill restaurant a Des Moines icon.
In his free time, Lemmo enjoys running, biking, carpentry, the Chicago Cubs, Italian wine and building his business.
“Tony was a heck of a football player that took his job very seriously,” said Matt Dillon, who coached Lemmo his senior year. “Tony was a good student, too, and he had whatever women he wanted in high school. He was a ladies’ man, and you could see the swagger on his face. One look at those big Italian eyes, and he’d have them.”
And did we mention he can cook, too. Mama mia!
When Iowa’s largest real estate company chooses a spokesperson for 18 years, that person must be one sexy dude. Mike Pace is that guy. When not telling us where to look for homes, what lottery numbers we should have chosen or where to buy our Chevy, Pace has been acting, speaking, singing, teaching, writing and producing a number of projects. He even received the honor of Best Actor at the Iowa Film Awards. And at 64 years old and as a grandfather of two, he is the manther who still drives women crazy. Too bad for them he married his high school sweetheart.
Brennan Buckley, vice president of marketing at Iowa Realty, says Pace “has limitless knowledge and talent talking about real estate — he understands it very well. But to be honest, we keep him around to score well with the ladies. He’s a ladies’ man. The female demographic really seem to like him. They are so smitten by him. And he might know a thing about realty, too.”
At 6’0” and 200 lbs., and with flowing dark hair, a chiseled jaw and a voice that melts many a mothers’ heart, Pace truly defines sexy for his generation and gives new meaning to the term powerballs.
With more curves than a roller coaster, it doesn’t take a genius to see why we chose Meg Fitz as one of Des Moines’ sexiest. Her contributions and dedication to economic and community development while working for the Greater Des Moines Partnership are also reasons why this buxom blonde lands on our list. After all, who wouldn’t want to do business in Des Moines after seeing Fitz?
She truly proves that not everything in Iowa is flat. Only a select few can wear a turtleneck like this woman, which must make her husband, Dash, a happy man. Fitz has been employed by the Greater Des Moines Partnership since March 2000 and currently serves as vice president of regional business development.
“There is no question that Meg Fitz is a multi-faceted, multi-talented individual,” said Martha Willits, president and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “But, here’s what we see every day: a highly regarded professional who has established herself as a leader among our regional business members. I have witnessed Meg’s leadership and professional successes over the years, and I am proud to have such a smart and talented leader in our business community and as my colleague.”
Smart, talented and sexy. We like that.
There is a reason why many guys wake up early on the weekend, and it’s not to get a jump on the day. It’s because Elizabeth Klinge is there smiling at us, the first ray of sunshine in the early morning hours.
As WHO TV’s “Today In Iowa” Saturday and Sunday co-anchor, Klinge knows how to warm up viewers.
“Guys always ask me, ‘So, what’s it like to work with Elizabeth Klinge?’ I tell them it’s lousy because she refuses to make coffee,” laughs Dan Winters, Klinge’s co-anchor. “You’d be surprised at her quiet, somewhat dorky personality. She laughs sincerely at lame jokes, and she doodles on her scripts during commercial breaks.”
That “somewhat dorky personality” is just one of Klinge’s many qualities that attract viewers. Her beautiful smile and stunning eyes mesmerize us. She looks great in a close-up, wearing a Hawkeye football helmet or out in the field on assignment.
The fair-skinned, blonde beauty has a sexy voice, too, and why WHO or any other station has not made this woman a late news anchor is beyond us. We loved seeing her on Fox News at 9 for a while, and we even watch that hideous Mediacom news leader show just to catch a glimpse or two of her.
“I think one of the things that catch people off guard when they see Liz in person is that the camera doesn’t do her justice,” Winters said.
With several rival news stations in town, viewers have plenty of eye candy to enjoy, but Klinge is clearly the sexiest of the bunch. And her humble sensibility makes her that much sexier in our eyes.
“Liz is always more concerned with her performance than with her appearance, and as her co-anchor, I really appreciate that,” Winters said.
And perform she does.
The definition of sexy can mean many things, and even though Christopher Diebel is easy on the eyes, we think he’s sexy because of his integrity and determination to make Des Moines a better place to live.
“Everyone says it, but he truly believes Des Moines is a jewel,” said Sherryl Viars, Diebel’s mom. “One day he will — I am sure — have the opportunity to express his passion for Des Moines. You can tell when someone is passionate or just phoning it in. Christopher’s passion for Des Moines is the real deal. If you don’t think Des Moines has everything, you will after you talk with Christopher.”
And we’re not the only people who think Diebel is sexy.
“When he was in grade school, he would get love letters from little girls that said the typical statement, ‘I love you.’ But, what made them unique was that the love letters were signed by a list of girls… a long list. I still have some of the letters,” Viars said.
With Diebel staying busy networking and helping the city grow, we’re not sure how he keeps up his eye-catching appearance. Not only is he Marketing Director for Orchestrate Hospitality, he also serves on the Board of Directors for Winefest, Hoyt Sherman Place and the Ingersoll Business Association. In 2008, Diebel was honored for his hard work when named one of the Business Record’s “Forty Under 40.”
“Even when he was a little boy — about 8 years old — he would go to a restaurant and go from table to table talking to everyone. Christopher made friends with the staff, the piano player and the company CEO,” Viars said. “Today, an evening with Christopher could include people ranging from 25 to 70 years of age. If you have an interesting view on life or an interesting background, you are in the group. He loves the mix and finds it fascinating.”
Diebel accomplishes it all as one of the best dressed men in Des Moines. He has the frame to pull off any look, but this guy wears a suit like it’s nobody’s business.
“Honestly, what makes him handsome is his ability to find ways to give back,” said Mom. “Beauty fades…he knows that your contributions to where you live and how deeply you love define you. That I am sure of.”
Most people don’t find Iowa politicians sexy, but Michael Kiernan breaks the stereotype of the grumpy, old, white man. This tall, well-dressed 30-something was elected to the Des Moines City Council in May 2004, with his term ending in January. Kiernan has lived and breathed Iowa politics, also serving as current Lt. Governor Patty Judge’s communication director when she was Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. Earlier this year, he was elected to the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, despite the awkward marriage to the media with the giggling WHO-TV Channel 13 anchor Erin Kiernan as his wife.
“I’m not at all surprised that Michael has been tapped as one of the Des Moines’ sexiest people,” said Kiernan. “He’s tall, dark, handsome and successful… attributes that are deemed sexy by many people and ones that played a role in me being attracted to him. Michael is funny as hell, generous, smart and kind. He treats me like a queen and is a fantastic cook.”
His dark hair, dark eyes and handsome smile place this Dowling Catholic High School graduate on our sexiest list. And that Harvard degree helps, too. Or was it Wartburg? Either way, this guy has it all and will certainly be a player in Iowa politics for years to come.
Lee Ann Conlan
We couldn’t help but choose the most original and strikingly attractive artist in town as one of our sexiest.
Lee Ann Conlan is all that and more.
“I think what makes Lee Ann cool is that she has a lot of passion for what she does — it’s a quiet passion but it’s actually pretty ferocious,” said Garrett Cornelison, who shared a show, “Flutter,” with Lee Ann recently. “That, coupled with the talent to back it up, is what makes her and her art very likable.”
With a head full of dreadlocks, this small-in-stature, big-in-talent creator is a ball of fire ready to overcome any task. A single mother of “two wild boys,” Conlan can go from mom to artsy vixen with ease, drawing approving looks for more than just her art.
“She’s a mother of two bright and creative boys, artists in training no doubt,” said Cornelison. “But she also has her very own distinct style.”
Not only is Conlan’s art quite personal, her sense of style and creativity is also beyond anything to emerge from Des Moines.
“I think most people, whether you can relate to them or not, appreciate when someone is doing what they love, and loving what they do,” Cornelison said.
Sexy, smart, artistic and creative, Conlan is the artist we’d choose to splash some paint with.
Anyone who knows Malcolm Goodwin knows that he’s a handsome guy. But once you understand his drive to succeed, you will discover the No. 1 reason we find him sexy.
Goodwin, a graduate of Ames High School, was a standout linebacker during his years playing football at Iowa State University, amassing 162 tackles during the 1993 season. This mark ranks him third all-time for individual season record, only six tackles behind the top spot. In March 2007, Goodwin started Promise IT Solutions, an information technology consulting company in downtown Des Moines. As president and CEO, Goodwin follows a consultative approach, which involves listening to clients’ needs and finding a customized solution.
Goodwin also reaches out to children as he sits on the Board of Directors of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa.
“Malcolm is great to work with because of his consistent positive attitude,” said Shari Hrdina, a co-worker of Goodwin’s. “He focuses on options, what can be done, and pressing forward, and not on what can’t be done nor office politics.”
And at his size, who’s arguing with him?
We had plenty of sexy musicians in the local scene that we could have chosen as one of Des Moines’ sexiest, but there is something about Roxi Copland that gets our blood pumping. We’re not sure if it’s her sweet, soulful voice, her amazing musicianship or the fact that she is one straight-up hottie, but Roxi “Ms. Copland if you’re nasty,” is truly one of Des Moines’ sexiest.
“She’s got that perfect combination of being very smart in a stunningly beautiful package,” said Scott Graham, Copland’s boyfriend.
Copland’s debut EP “Streetwise” was released at the end of December 2008, but the scene had already embraced this sexy singer. When she’s not providing her skills for studio sessions, this sexy brunette plays with the Roxi Copland Band, the Roxi Copland Trio and her dueling piano group, Midnight Ivory.
“Obviously she’s a beautiful woman, but I think a lot of it has to do with her stage presence,” Graham said. “She’s got that deep, alluring voice, and she mixes it with a performance persona that’s downright sultry.”
Along with her sexy voice and good looks, Foxy Roxi offers a sexy, cool confidence in her performances that is lacking in the local scene. Her voice makes us want to curl up with someone special next to a fire and sip wine.
“Her eyes smolder, and her voice just kind of picks you up and carries you away,” Graham said. “It’s actually kind of hard to describe with words. It’s a visceral reaction.”
This talented beauty is worth every penny of admission, and it’s only a matter of time until she’s gracing the covers of music magazines everywhere.
“She’s passionate about her music, and that passion comes out when she sings,” Graham said.
And who doesn’t love passion?
He’s not Rico Suave. And he’s not George Lopez. But somewhere in between you will find Ryan Rivera. The southside native and 1991 Lincoln graduate is one of the metro’s sexiest realtors, building his RE/MAX Real Estate Concepts business along with his equally hot and much younger wife, Marianne, in Grimes.
This proud Mexican-American wears many sombreros, not only as a successful real estate agent, but also as a partner in a commercial development on Highway 141 and as the secretary on the Grimes Chamber and Economic Development board. When he isn’t beating on his Blackberry like a piñata on Cinco de Mayo, this Latin lover has been known to enjoy a cerveza or two while paying Caucasians to mow his grass in Johnston.
The one-time office furniture sales rep and DHL route driver dresses to please. But ladies, don’t’ even fantasize about him sticking his sign in your grass. He places family — both immediate and extended — above all else. And with Rivera having more cousins than Iowa has cornfields, that’s a big challenge.
The 37 year old has a think head of natural hair (we think) and the Grecian Formula is doing its trick. At 5’10” and 205 lbs., this 1996 UNI grad has the ambition, smarts and sex appeal to make his casa your casa. Viva la Rivera! CV