From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
The choice to top our 13th annual 50 Most Beautiful list with Nicole Kidman was a natural one. Rebounding from a very public divorce with grace, poise and dignity—as well as her first Oscar nomination, for Moulin Rouge—she has proved to be magnificently resilient, committed to forging ahead on her own terms. The newly single mom is also "quick with a hug and quite giggly and charmingly self-deprecating," says Los Angeles deputy bureau chief Elizabeth Leonard, who interviewed Kidman (see page 76), then dropped by the PEOPLE shoot to greet her. Interviewing the actress, Leonard adds, "was like talking to one of my girlfriends."

In photographing Kidman for our cover, Andrew Macpherson said he wanted to capture "someone inviting and warm." Little preparation was needed. Despite a late night with her son Connor, 7, who was ailing with the stomach flu, Kidman required little help from makeup artist Carol Shaw. "She has the most beautiful porcelain, flawless skin," says Shaw, the founder of LORAC Cosmetics. "All I did was add a little color."

As it turns out, quite a few of our beauties credit their moms with helping them look and feel good about themselves—from singer Mandy Moore, 18, to Diane Sawyer, 56, whose mother continues to "dream of a daughter with combed hair," says the ABC news anchor. R&B singer Craig David thanks his mom for helping him climb the music charts. "She always made me feel like a million bucks," he says. And quarterback Tom Brady nominated his own mother for a future Most Beautiful list.

A couple of our choices have parents who have been in the spotlight themselves. Actor Oliver Hudson, the son of Goldie Hawn, is a member of this year's gang, as is Boston Public's Rashida Jones. In 1997 she was featured with her mother, The Mod Squad's Peggy Lipton (her dad is 1996 Beauty Quincy Jones), in a special Mothers and Daughters section.

One matriarch we had to include in this year's gallery is Sharon Osbourne, freshly crowned star of MTV's hit series The Osbournes. Although she told us she was happy to take a break from rocker husband Ozzy, the kids and her crazed household to doll up for our photo shoot, she says she considers herself "one of the luckiest people in the world." Now she's officially one of the Most Beautiful.