Playing the original Grand Theft Auto game on PC, I could have never imagined that the franchise would evolve into what it is right now, consisting of sixteen titles and numerous expansions. The GTA series is the fifth best-selling gaming franchise of all time, but has its fair share of controversy including the simulation of robbery, murder, and engaging in other "adult" activities. Modifications like Hot Coffee led to harsh criticism of Rockstar Games, which actually boosted the franchise's popularity.
Disregarding all of the unsavory contents of the games, the thing that put GTA on the map of video game royalty is that it gave gamers free rein in an open city that is non-linear and dynamic with each play-through. The possibilities were endless. Thus, this type of open world environment really resonated with gamers over the past two decades. As the franchise evolved from an overhead 2D environment into the 3D rendered graphics of today, one thing about Grand Theft Auto that has remained intact is that idea that you can do whatever you want, when you want it, all within the confines of the gaming world.
Happy 20 years to the Grand Theft Auto franchise. What is a better way to celebrate the GTA series than to talk about those lovely ladies who end up as the cover girls of each title, the image of each entry screen and promotional artwork. Here are the rankings of each of these women from worst to best. If you know of any ones I have missed, be sure to let us know!
25 The Outliers: Maude Eccles And Denise Clinton
24 Ashley Butler
Covered in tattoos and a nasty drug habit, Ashley Butler was featured in Grand Theft Auto IV, The Lost and Damned, and GTA V. After joining the Lost, she became a drug addict hooked on crystal meth and cocaine. Sadly, there is no way to save her from death. Whether or not Trevor decides to kill Ash or not, she will still end up deceased in a news report. Ashley looks vastly different in her several incarnations. She is almost recognizable in her final appearance. Whether this is because of graphical improvements or her drug habit degrading her appearance, we will never know. Still, she was a once beautiful woman, who also happens to be an example of the dangers of drug use.
23 Tonya Wiggins
Tonya Wiggins does look oddly similar to an aged Rihanna, down to the bombastic red hair. Tonya and her boyfriend are crack addicts who are old friends of Franklin Clinton in Grand Theft Auto V. She runs a towing service, often asking Franklin for favors to keep the business running. Because of their drug problem, Tonya and her boyfriend JB are close to losing their towing business to creditors. Despite owning this type of company, Tonya claims that she actually cannot drive. This might lead to why she ask Franklin for help. She is the perfect embodiment of a crack addict. Still, Tonya's attitude makes her a very likeable character, despite her tragic condition.
Misty might be a minor character in Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto Advance, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, but it earned her a deserved spot on the game's cover and entry screen. Compared to the designs of the other females on this list and in the history of GTA, Misty is rather cartoonish and barely resembles how she actually looks in the game. I am not sure why Rockstar went with this art style, but since this was the game that really catapulted the franchise, who am I to question their genius? Though she acts merely as a "woman of the night" in Liberty City, Misty is in a fair amount of missions to warrant her mention on this list.
21 Elizabeta Torres
Elizabeta Torres is one tough cookie. Unlike most of the female characters in the franchise, Liz is an incredibly powerful and scary woman who is also a successful drug dealer in the South Bohan area of Liberty City. When she was fourteen years-old, she killed a man who attempted to "assault" her in Puerto Rico. Since then, Liz has a huge reputation and instilled fear among her rivals. After numerous drug-related arrests, she developed her drug empire sometime before 2008. Eventually, Liz is incarcerated for 300 years to life on thirty different charges. She's one tough cookie, and she really stands up to the men in the series.
20 Maria Latore
Greedy, selfish, and narcissistic. Not quite the person you would choose as a wife. Unlike many of the females on this list, Maria Latore is actually an important character within the storyline of the Grand Theft Auto titles that she is in. In Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City, Maria is the main character. As the wife of Don Salvatore Leone, the boss of the Leone Crime Family, she ended up in a rather unhappy marriage filled with drug abuse and infidelity. The fate of her character is up to debate. It is unknown if she was killed after The Exchange. There is merely the sound of a gunshot. Perhaps, Maria will return in a future title. But being the pessimist, she was surely killed in that altercation.
19 Louise Cassidy-Williams
Louise Cassidy-Williams appears as a character in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, which was initially an exclusive title on the PlayStation Portable but was later released on the PS2. She acts as Victor Vance's love interest in the game. Unfortunately, Louise is killed by Armando Mendez after she was kidnapped and shot several times. Vic and Louise have a special moment before she passed away. Her sister ends up taking care of her baby after her death. Still, that didn't stop Rockstar from creating a beautitful and stylized take on the character for their official art. Her pose gives off a distinct attitude like all of Rockstar's cover girls.
18 Gracie Ancelotti
The daughter of the famed Ancelotti crime family and a close buddy of Gay Tony Prince, Grace “Gracie” Ancelotti doesn't fool around when it comes to hard drugs like cocaine. Of course, I mean that she goes pretty hard on it. In Grand Theft Auto IV, Gracie was kidnapped by Niko Bellic as a job for the Irish Mob. Despite all of the complications, Gracie does live on to tell about her experience. In another encounter with Niko, all of her guards are killed by him. Her whereabouts are unknown after this turn of events, but it is assumed that she probably got out of the city altogether. Why stick around and get killed?
Not much is known about the Starlet in the promotional art for Grand Theft Auto V. It is implied that she is some sort of celebrity or a lady who is looking for success in the entertainment industry. The Starlet appears in an area that resembles the real-world Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of a famous movie theater. She has two visible tattoos, two bracelets, two rings, dangling earrings, and a hair clip. She has wavy hair and sharp eyebrows. It is unknown who the Starlet art is based on, but she does look slightly similar to Fergie. The character also manages to be alluring, but still have a 'classy' nature that is uncharacteristic of GTA V's signature city.
Unlike her fellow entry screen lady in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, the generic Latina character, Rochell'le is a famous musical artist in the R&B and Hip hop genres. However, like the numerous other women used in GTA illustrations, Rochell'le is not actually encountered during the gameplay and acts as background for the rest of gaming environment. Fan sites speculated that she is probably based on real-life singer Mariah Carey, who had a similar career trajectory as Rochell'e. Her name is also a parody of R&B artist Michel'le, who has the similar strange spelling of her name. Her decidedly seductive pose says a lot about her character.
Nothing is known about the Hispanic female gangster who is used for one of the entry screens for Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. I am assuming she is an archetype for the type of people you will be encountering throughout the game. Though she is a generic character, the Hispanic Female doesn't look too bad at all. Having random ladies on the promotional and entry screen artworks is something that Rockstar continues to do til this day. With the amazing success of the franchise, I doubt that they will be changing their marketing and promotional strategies anytime soon. Anyway, she's a looker, and she definitely fits the mood of the classic video game.
14 Ling Shan
Despite being shown on the box art and promotional material, Ling Shan shows up extremely briefly in Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars, the title that saw the franchise backtracking into the simple overhead gameplay style and presentation. Ling is the prototypical Dragon Lady and looks ridiculously similar to any Chinese-based Femme Fatales. When she meets the protagonist of the game, Huang, she is tasked with teaching him how to wield weapons. After trying to protect a shop, she was shot by a thug and died soon after. She was also featured on the artwork of the iTunes single of Chinatown Wars performed by Ghostface Killah and Doom. Not too shabby for an "adult" character who originally debuted on a Nintendo platform.
13 Chinese Food Girl
Not much is known about the Chinese Food Girl other than the fact that she is eating food somewhere in Chinatown. However, there is a silly joke and Easter egg for people who have ever watched Wayne's World. The restaurant name “Sum Yung Gai” is a reference to Wayne Campbell mentioning that he wants to have the Cream of Sum Yung Gai, which actually sounds like a Cantonese dish, but is actually a dirty pun with "adult" overtones. Similar to many of the other females featured on the promotional material, this lady was not featured in the actual gameplay and merely exists to titillate and shock. Good stuff, Rockstar.
12 Amanda De Santa
Featured in Grand Theft Auto V, Amanda De Santa was a stripper and maybe even a "woman of the night" who ended up marrying Michael De Santa, one of the three protagonists in the game. Judging from her photo, Amanda is quite fascinated with yoga, with her dream being able to teach it to the homeless. Unfortunately, she seems to be an alcoholic and a kleptomaniac. Well, you can't win them all. At least, Amanda does make it to the end of the game without dying. That's a relief. She's definitely at the core of the game's comic relief, and Michael De Santa's character arc. She's undeniably fleshed out compared to a lot of the other women on this list.
11 Melanie Mallard
Another character off of the Grand Theft Auto spinoff Chinatown Wars, Melanie Mallard is a news journalist who is featured heavily in the plotline of the game, but only in the PlayStation Portable version. Despite being killed in the game, she lasts way longer than Ling Shan, who is killed nearly immediately after the protagonist meets her. Though Chinatown Wars was a pain-staking effort to complete, it is the most complex Nintendo DS title ever developed, featuring over 800,000 lines of code. Amazing, right? It's no surprise then that Rockstar didn't pull any punches when it came to promotional material for their return to the portable format.
10 "Woman Of The Night" (GTA IV)
Unlike Lola Del Rio, the "character" who was featured on an entry screen in Grand Theft Auto IV wasn't even give a name or a story. She is merely just a random hooker looking to sell her “product” in the wonderful confines of Liberty City. Since Grand Theft Auto III, these "workers" have been a part of the gameplay of the GTA series, which has led to numerous controversies throughout the years since their inception. Within the original gameplay of GTA, having intercourse with prostitutes allows the player's character to regain health through the payment of cash. In Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, there is a joke about the idea of killing prostitutes to regain money when a group of armed hookers mentions it to Huang before attacking him.
9 Mercedes Cortez
Interestingly enough, Mercedes Cortez looks vastly different in-game compared to her promotional image for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Other than the short hair, she is barely recognizable from her concept artwork. After her father skips town, Mercedes does porn at Tommy Vercetti's porn studio. She is an extremely promiscuous woman, which leads her father to worry about her "adult" behavior. Her VCPD Crime Tree Record says this: “Daughter of Colonel Cortez. Likes to party, this one.” No doubt about that statement. Vice City was such a well fleshed out work, and Mercedes fits in with its residents perfectly.
8 Vasquez And Unknown Woman
Vasquez is a female police officer who appears in Grand Theft Auto Online and is only encountered once in Crooked Cop, where she is killed by the protagonist. Despite her brief appearance, she was featured in a rather racy promotional artwork featuring her arresting a random pretty woman for Grand Theft Auto V advertisements. It is not known who this lady is, but it certainly doubles the credibility of this entry. At the game's release, this image was plastered all over the world in various advertisements. The image reminds you that Grand Theft Auto V would be set in the breezy, Hollywood-inspired world of San Andreas, as opposed to Grand Theft Auto IV's grimey New York-inspired world.
7 The Twins
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was quite a fun blast from the past. The Twins are two women who perform as strippers and bartenders named by Rockstar as Bella and Stella, though their names were never revealed over the course of the game. Similar to the other females featured on GTA art, The Twins are merely just eye candy. One of The Twins, it is unknown if it is Bella or Stella, is featured on the cover of the box art and the game disc, as well as the entry screens of the 10th anniversary edition. They might one of the most popular promotional females in the entire franchise. In any event, it's very hard to forget her.
6 Tracey De Santa
The daughter of Michael and Amanda went into witness protection in 2004 with her parents when she was barely a teenager. Tracey ends up auditioning for Fame or Shame, a televised talent show, as a dancer even though she isn't very good at it. At the end of Grand Theft Auto V, Tracey is seen on the show as a singer singing a song that is aptly titled “Daddy Issues.” Though she doesn't win the contest, it leads Michael to tell Jimmy that when he becomes a film producer, he would make his daughter into a star. Tracey is certainly pretty enough to achieve that future.
5 Lost MC Lady
Not much is known about this tatted-up lady other than her being a member of The Lost MC in The Lost and Damned. Despite barely being in the game, Rockstar managed to create a very great piece of promotional artwork for her which was also featured on the cover of the game. Though I wish I could talk more about this woman, there isn't much information about her, whatsoever. That's what happens when you are only in two missions. Not much in the way of character development. Still, like so many of these, the image has a subliminal element that makes it all the more arousing.
4 Vespucci Party Girl
Though her name is unknown, the lady advertising the Vespucci Party event in Grand Theft Auto Online is a great contender for the loveliest cover girl in GTA history. Does she dethrone the Beach Bikini Girl? Not quite, but this party girl gives her a run for her money. Like with many of the cover girls on this list, she remains relatively anonymous or without any storyline impact. Rockstar seems to really like to do this in their promotion and marketing. Yet again, this image perfectly evokes the world of Grand Theft Auto in such a clear way that you'll immediately recognize its themes.
3 Lola Del Rio
Lola Del Rio, also known by fans as the Lollipop Girl, was the face of Grand Theft Auto IV. Though Rockstar used promotional illustrations of her, Lola is basically a marketing tool and actually not found nor mentioned in the game other than a brief bio on the LCPD website. The game says she is found in Star Junction and the Algonquin docks, but that was merely a Red Herring. However, Rockstar did give her an occupation to her backstory: "women of the night." How nice of them, right? Her initial illustrations actually featured six fingers on her right hand, but it was later corrected. One of her main characteristics is that she sucks on red lollipops. Wonder what else she also sucks...
Though she was a minor character in the expansion The Ballad of Gay Tony, Joni is lock and loaded with lust, and might be one of the finest ladies in Liberty City. As a female security manager of Maisonette 9, she acts as the "phsyical" foil for Luis Lopez, teasing him, and even engaging in 'adult activities" with the protagonist. She is encountered in the Club Management mission of the game. Despite her brief appearance, Joni was given her own entry screen, and it is spectacular. I am pretty sure the champagne going off has its fair share of innuendo. If you don't know what I am talking about, you might be a little too young to be reading this article.
1 Beach Bikini Girl
Not much is known about the Beach Bikini Girl other than she was merely a cover figure for Grand Theft Auto V. She is no more than just promotional eye candy. It is erroneously believed that it is a parody on swimsuit model and actress Kate Upton, who has quite the beautiful beach body in her numerous Sports Illustrated bikini photo shoots. I can see why people might think that, as it does resemble Upton quite a bit. However, the Beach Bikini Girl is actually modeled after Shelby Welinder, a British model and journalist who was hired by Rockstar through her agency in 2012 to be the “spokesmodel” for the game. Though Rockstar did include her name in the credits, Welinder's involvement wasn't truly confirmed until a couple of years later. No offense to Welinder, but I cannot help but see Upton as the face of Grand Theft Auto V.
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