The Big Bang Theory has worked wonders for Kaley Cuoco. It has not only boosted her acting career, but has also brightened her star and made her a household name. In her cover interview with FHM, Cuoco says the show has had a redeeming effect on its fans as well.
As evident in the show's title, the CBS sitcom revolves around science, specifically a group of scientist friends, barring Cuoco's character, "Penny," who is an aspiring actress.
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Although she isn't a scientist or vaguely close to being an intellectual, Penny is integrated into the group, and even dated one of them (Johnny Galecki's "Leonard"), which she maintains has given hope to the average "nerd" that they too might date a pretty girl-next-door.
"I definitely get a lot of contact from scientists and physicists," Cuoco tells FHM in her cover story. "I think that the show has made it OK to be a scientist and be a smart person. They say, 'Oh my God, I watch the show and I feel like I can finally come out of the nerd closet!' They feel so good about themselves, because we've made nerdy sexy."
Since the Chuck Lorre-created comedy, which just wrapped its sixth season, premiered in 2007, Cuoco's Penny has been a fan-favorite—at the forefront of billboards and the center of promos.
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Although the initial allure of her character resided in her sex appeal, the 27-year-old actress says Penny has evolved as the seasons have progressed to become a more relatable character.
"Penny might have started out as some crazy sexpot, but it's not that way any more," Cuoco says. "She really is the girl-next-door, and I think that's why girls and guys have grown to love her character—she's lovable, not intimidating. She's an approachable character, not some unattainable woman, which is important. Everyone wants to be near this character."
In addition to landing her face on the cover of FHM, a U.K.-based magazine originally slated as "For Him Magazine," Cuoco has also been ranked No. 6 on the magazine's 100 Sexiest Women in the World poll—two slots above supermodel Kate Upton.
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She says she was taken aback by the ranking.
"I'm very, very flattered because I certainly don't look in the mirror and think I'm the sixth-sexiest woman in the world!" the California native says. "I'm thrilled. I am definitely honored—I know that it's a big deal. I don't feel like I totally deserve it, but I'm going to take it and run so when I'm older, I can show my kids and tell them, 'Look, I told you I was top 10!' because they won't believe me."
For more of Cuoco's interview, check her out in this month's issue of FHM, on newsstands now.