It’s not hard to understand why Esquire chose Penelope Cruz as this year’s Sexiest Woman Alive given writer Chris Jones’ description of the native Spaniard!

“She is impossibly beautiful,” he writes in the magazine’s November issue. “When she walks into a room, men start walking into furniture.”

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But her beauty wasn’t the only thing that had Jones hypnotized. “Over the course of a long lunch, Cruz looks like a thousand different women,” he shares.

“She flips her hair, or she shifts in her chair, or she creases her forehead or widens her eyes, and these alone are enough to transform her. It feels like watching close-up magic, an actress playing every possible part and well enough to be confounding.”

Although Penelope is an expert at transforming into different characters — she’s been nominated for three Oscars, winning one for her role in “Vicky Christina Barcelona” — she knows exactly who she is offscreen, though it took her a while to get there.

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“I’ve played a lot of tricks on myself. I’ve made it hard for me sometimes, especially in my teens and twenties,” the 40-year-old admits.

“I had an attraction to drama. Most of us have that, especially if you are an artist — you feel like you are tempted to explore the darkness.”

But that no longer appeals to her. “For me, the most attractive, charming, cool, fun, interesting thing — how could I call it? A plan,” she shares.

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Penelope with her husband of four years, Javier Bardem

Now a wife — she married fellow actor Javier Bardem in 2010 — and mother-of-two — she has son Leo, 3, and daughter Luna, 14 months — “The Counselor” star remains protective of her family and privacy. When asked about her kids, she simply replied, “That is for us.”

Penelope is only the second woman over 40 to be dubbed the magazine’s “Sexiest Woman Alive.” Halle Berry received the title in 2008 at the age of 42. We say to Esquire: keep up the trend!