The scene was one of barely controlled pandemonium at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month. A crush of paparazzi and screaming teenage fans you could hear from a block away had mobbed the Canadian cultural capital's Ryerson Theatre for the premiere of "Jennifer's Body," the horror-comedy written by Oscar-winning "Juno" screenwriter Diablo Cody. But the glitzy event's undeniable focal point was a femme fatale of a different stripe: Megan Fox. The 5-foot-3 screen siren worked the red carpet like a veteran, frequently turning and posing so the asymmetrical hem of her strapless mini-dress showed as much bare thigh as possible. "This is outrageous," a stunned Cody told a reporter. "It's a little intense."
Fox portrays a demon-girl cheerleader who (literally) devours her horny high school classmates in the film, which hit theaters Friday and earned a lackluster $6.8 million at the box office over the weekend. But her movie stardom is almost beside the point, anyway. Fox is becoming to the current generation what Farrah Fawcett was during her '70s heyday or Pamela Anderson was at the apogee of her "Baywatch" / Tommy Lee sex-tape fame in the '90s. That is, a sex symbol of the highest order: a woman whose hotness has become emblematic of a specific era. Call Megan Fox the first bona fide sex symbol of the 21st century.
While such lithe enchantresses as Paris Hilton, Bar Refaeli and even Tila Tequila have come to be associated with the S-word in recent years, their public images are all too stage-managed, too contained, too inextricably connected to selling products -- reality TV shows, lingerie, a "famous for being famous" myth -- to confer them reigning sex symbol status.
Not so Fox. Time after time, to the deep chagrin of her publicist, she has displayed a refreshing candor, blurting out whatever's on her mind -- damn the consequences. Especially on carnal matters.
There are a handful of salient facts about her that have exploded into the public consciousness, mainly because the 23-year-old, Tennessee-born ingenue has said them for maximum effect in numerous magazine cover stories. It's helped that the articles invariably arrive accompanied by suggestive photos of Fox in a bikini or lingerie or Daisy Duke shorts or perhaps naked beneath a faux-fur blanket or in a towel that leaves just enough to the imagination to linger in the imagination after you close the magazine.
What we have come to know so far: that she carried on a lesbian love affair with a Russian stripper at age 18; that Fox was once "obsessed" with porn star Jenna Jameson; that Fox struggles with the idea she has a "mild form of schizophrenia," fearing she'll wind up like her idol Marilyn Monroe (whose face is tattooed on Fox's right inner forearm); and that Fox "was always ubersexual."
Which is just as well because at least once over the course of each of these stories, the model turned actress, who was named sexiest woman in the world last year by FHM magazine, will say she is at peace with being a sex symbol. "I know I'm seen as a sex object," Fox told Esquire. "I'm just really confident sexually, and I think that sort of oozes out of my pores. It's just there. It's something I don't have to turn on."
Unlike so many of the sex bombs of decades past, though, Fox has achieved a level of pop-culture ubiquity, thanks to having her photos endlessly splashed across the Internet. Despite the fact that she has yet to bare it all in a photo shoot and has vowed to never be featured in a sex tape, she seems to have particularly captivated a number of celebu-blogs that strike a unique comedic tone by worshiping Fox's physical attributes while also endlessly lampooning her outre self-revelations (some of which are apocryphal, according to her latest Rolling Stone cover story).
"She oozes sex and isn't ashamed to do so," said Trent Venegas, author of www.pinkisthenewblog.com. "She seems very willing to use her sexuality to her maximum benefit without giving too much away. She definitely became a Hollywood it girl because of her looks rather than her talents."
While other on-screen ingenues, models and TV stars are undeniably attractive -- foxy, even -- few outside Fox (nickname: "Mega Fox") can be viewed as having embraced the adulation as a means to an end in itself. While, say, Jessica Biel laments in an interview that being named sexiest woman alive has been a liability to her stated goal of being a Serious Actress, Fox abides. "I didn't decide I'm going to be an actress cause I want to be respected for how I play chess," Fox told "Entertainment Tonight." "Part of Hollywood is being perceived as attractive."