NEW YORK — When you're hot, you're hot. And when you're not, but your name is [movieperson id="342191"]Olivia Wilde[/movieperson] ... well, you're still kinda hot.
Earlier this year, the 25-year-old "House" beauty was crowned "Hottest Woman Alive" by Maxim magazine, reigning supreme over such eye-popping actresses as Malin Akerman, Scarlett Johansson and Audrina Patridge.
"And they are the authority," laughed Wilde, stopping by the MTV offices recently to radiate the newsroom with her hotness. But looking back over past Maxim lists, Wilde finished #61 in 2005, #97 in 2008 — and didn't even chart in 2006 and 2007. So, what happened?
"Y'know, I couldn't say. What did happen?" she laughed, acknowledging her wildly fluctuating sexiness. "I was very blonde [in 2006], then I went brunette."
"I also look very sad — what was happening there?" she laughed, looking at a photo of herself from 2007. "That was after some odd, lengthy press conference. I don't know, but I think it's important to not be on that list as much as it is to be on that list."
In fact, Wilde — who was recently seen in the Jack Black comedy "Year One" and will return to the silver screen next year in "Tron Legacy" — told us that it was those lean years of unsexiness that made her more appreciative of her current status.
"I wouldn't appreciate this spot as much if I hadn't been down there in the negative hotness," Olivia insisted. "So, negative hotness is just as important.
"I'm totally flattered, why not? It's very sweet," insisted Wilde, whose remarkably candid conversation also included revelations about her youthful obsession with Will Smith. "It's really cool, and it begs the questions: 'What's your definition of hotness? What do you think is sexy?' I think everyone has a different definition for that."
So, what does Olivia plan to do with her newfound position of power? Spread the love around, of course. "As an actress, I think any time an actress says a nice thing about another actress, that's really cool," she insisted, cutting through the usual Hollywood cattiness by thanking #2 finalist Megan Fox for recent comments that Wilde's sexiness makes her want to "strangle a mountain ox with my bare hands."
"That's very kind of her," Wilde grinned. "But I hope not. As an animal activist, I hope [she wouldn't kill an ox]."