The 10 Most Popular Stories of the Year on

by Elizabeth Thompson

1. No Filter: An Afternoon With Kim Kardashian, by Amanda Fortini. Photographed by Jean-Paul Goude.

In her profile of Kim Karashian for our Winter "Break the Internet" issue, Amanda Fortini writes of our revered and reviled cover girl, "behind all the hoopla, there is an actual woman -- a physical body where the forces of fame and wealth converge. Who isn't at least a tad curious about the flesh that carries the myth?"

people, it turns out, are a tad curious. 

Since we published this story on November 12th, 2014, it has received 34,147,700 unique pageviews. That's a lot. And that's certainly a lot for us here at the independently owned, which typically receives less than half of that in traffic for an entire year. Though many sites gleefully trumpted the fact that we hadn't, in fact, actually broken the internet, as if we had intended this call to action literally and expected to merely direct you to an image of the emoji shrug man following the publishing of our piece, we made the butt-shaped impact on the Internet we were aiming for. And we did it in collaboration with a pop culture lightning rod who not only knows exactly what she's doing, but how to make you help her do it. All 34,147,700 of you.      

2. 10 Celebrity Dick Pic Valentines For You and Yours, by Max Kessler.

Some of the best celebrity d.p.s of all time, turned into Valentines. This exactly the type of story your parents hope to see your byline on some day when you tell them you'd like to become a writer. You're welcome.

3. So Whatever Happened to the Stars Of NYC Prep?, by Carey O'Donnell.

Paper contributor Carey O'Donnell tracks down the stars of the cult-favorite 2009 Bravo reality show NYC Prep to find out what life has been like since. And why did people love that show so much? The series only lasted one season, but, as O'Donnell writes, compared to other shows within the teen reality-sphere of the era, it took a uniquely grim look at Manhattan's young and wealthy: "NYC Prep was a far shrewder and darker take on modern teendom than Laguna Beach's, while not sacrificing the ghoulish awkwardness of high school." Or Sebastian's hair.

Tim and Eric Do High-Fashion Drag, by Jessica Jean Jardine. Photographed by JUCO, styled by Shirley Kurata.

Comedy's absurdist nightmare princes Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim jumped at the chance to model high-fashion beauty looks for our "Break the Internet" issue and the photos, shot by the genius L.A. duo JUCO (Julia Galdo and Cody Cloud) and styled by Shirley Kurata, could not have been more spectacular and bizarre. This story delights us endlessly.

5. How Nicki Minaj and Female Artists are Turning the Color Pink into a Weapon, by Gabby Bess. 

Paper's insanely talented Gabby Bess discusses the rise of Nicki Minaj and artists like Grace Miceli and Maisie Cousins using the color pink to reclaim traditionally male spaces ( i.e., the music world, the art world, the world). Writes Gabby, "Minaj wears pink to assert her femininity in male spaces. She wears it as armor and in solidarity with her girls, making it clear that she's not out here for the boys. Her newest songs, "Anaconda" and "Lookin' Ass" are decidedly dick-negative. Yes, she'll twerk in a pink thong but she'll also don a pink wig and cut bananas -- and other phallic shaped fruit -- with a vengeance." Can we all make a pact to start using the phrase "dick-negative" more in 2015?

6. Fran Lebowitz to Tourists: "Stay Home," by David Hershkovits. Photographed by Rodolfo Martinez.

Fran Lebowitz gave us the greatest 30th anniversary gift we could have ever asked for in September: an epic, hours-long interview, during which we barely got a word in. But, as Paper editor David Hershkovits writes in his introduction, you don't need to speak when it comes to talking with Fran Lebowitz, you just have to listen. The Q&A covers much ground and include many devastatingly perfect Lebo-isms, and, boy, were there some highlights. Choice moments include Lebowitz taking New York City tourists to task, ("I don't want these people to come here... Stay home. Sometimes I walk around and go, "Go home") destroying wealthy politicians, ("no one earns a billion dollars. People earn $10 an hour, people steal a billion dollars") and dismissing Lena Dunham detractors and their implicit misogyny. ("I always defend her when people say she's not that great. I tell them, 'I don't know, I don't care, but let me assure you: the world is full of mediocre men who are stunning successes.') The world needs Fran Lebowitz.

7. "Meet the Beautiful People Class of 2014," by Alex Scordelis and James Rickman. Photographed by Harper Smith.
Every April, we honor a mix of our favorite rising film, art, fashion, tv, theater, lit and comedy stars with an April "Beautiful People" issue. This year's class featured everyone from Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox to architecture duo Snarkitecture to At Midnight host Chris Hardwick.

8.  How Natalia Kills Is Seducing the World, by Tahirah Hairston. Photos by Edward Singleton. Styling by Solange Franklin.

The British dark-pop chanteuse was seemingly everywhere this year, both modeling and performing, and still finding time to pen eight songs on for Madonna's new upcoming Rebel Heart album. Plus, damn, she is sultriness writ large in these photos.

9. Meet the 32 Soccer Players Vying to Be the Hottest Guy In the World Cup, by Abby Schreiber and Elizabeth Thompson.

The internet wasn't hurting for hot soccer player lists during the World Cup, that was for sure. But we here at took it a little further with a full, regularly updated bracket, broken down into categories including tattoos, hair length and "Williamsburg haircut" among others. In the end, it came down to Italy's Claudio Marchisio and Greece's Panagiotis Konel and we let the people do the voting. See who won here. Why can't the World Cup happen year-round?

10. Hardcore Honey: bell hooks Goes on the Down Low with Lil Kim

And, finally, our number 10 most-read story of the year wasn't from 2014, but rather a May 1997 cover interview between Lil Kim and feminist intellectual, author and former Paper columnist bell hooks. Stumbling on this piece in our archives, I did a double-take when I saw hooks, who made headlines this year when she referred to Beyonce as a "terrorist," had written the piece. Though the Q&A was nearly twenty years old (and it's hard to say whether hooks-now would have taken the same line of questioning as hooks-then), the interview was so grimly timeless in its discussion of female sexuality and all of the double standards women performers who dare to be sexual endure, that we re-published the entire piece. Kim's responses couldn't be more real and unguarded, either. Women who are household names, as she was in 1997, rarely go on the record about their love for anal sex in national publications. But Kim did, and she did it proudly.  

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