"It's a compliment, of course, to be No. 1 on a sexiest list [a recent askmen.com poll]—but the problem with lists is that one day you'll be off them. So if you base your self-esteem on that, you're screwed. I never feel pressure to play that part, but I look at my body like my office—like, I wouldn't let you come to my office if there were papers and files everywhere, and so I'm going to take care of myself."
"I think 10 years ago it would have been harder for me to do this picture. But as I've gotten older and my life has changed, I wear less makeup. I'm just more comfortable with myself now. My husband gives me confidence, too, because I don't feel like I have to put makeup on to look beautiful to him. And my kids don't like makeup at all because when I put it on, they think I'm going to work! To me, a bad face day means a bad night's sleep. Even makeup doesn't make you feel better."
"I've heard casting agents say I'm 'ethnically ambiguous.' That means I get the parts when they want a little edge and not a cookie-cutter white girl. If I want to look more Asian, I go darker with my hair, or I can go blonde and look more Latin-white. I'm actually half Korean, half Irish-Dutch."
"I am so glad I'm not a teenager anymore! The hormones have finally chilled out, and I am profoundly grateful. But I do wish I had more hair, because mine is very fine. And a rogue eyebrow can upset me—I'm pretty fastidious about plucking."
The Girls of 90210
"I'm always having to pinch my cheeks because my face—even when I'm embarrassed—does not flush. Never, ever!"
"I collect wigs. My favorite is a long black one because that's the cut I would love. But it's too hard to do with curly hair."
"When I discovered bronzer in 10th grade, I kind of went to town—I looked like an Oompa-Loompa! But my mother taught me less is more."
"My hair is my security blanket. A good hair day? I'm on top of the world. Otherwise, I feel a little self-conscious."
Want more? Get exclusive video of the girls' photo shoot at PEOPLE.COM/MOSTBEAUTIFUL
"People always criticize celebrities, but the silliest thing—and I don't like to bring it up because it's so silly—is people saying I am a guy. It's a joke to me. If you're taking the time to say negative things, then something's wrong with you. Being beautiful is all in the attitude. It's about confidence."
"Someone once told me you could never be an artist until you get your nose done. And when it's time to go onstage I think, 'Shave my nose, shave my nose!' But now I'm so glad I didn't listen to them. I feel like I've grown into my looks. My mother passed away, and every year that goes by, I see more of her [in me]."
Want more? Get exclusive video of Kara at PEOPLE.COM/MOSTBEAUTIFUL
"When I was younger I had problems with my skin, so as long as my skin is clear, I feel lucky. Getting a pimple sends me back to when I was 13! You know how some girls grow up overweight, and then when they lose weight they still feel self-conscious? Well, I was always skinny—but I have that uncomfortable feeling about my skin."