The Girls Aloud and X Factor star, who said recently she hates looking thin and gets nicknamed “flatty batty”, knocked last year’s winner Megan Fox down to second place.
Cole’s victory is the first for a Brit in three years.
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Last year, Britney Spears languished at number 31, and following a mixed year for the singer FHM bosses thought she would drop out completely.
But following an online campaign by fans, she claimed fourth place. And after wowing the US, Anna Friel secured a place at number nine and Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto is a new entry at number 10.
Women with brains as well as looks stormed into top 100.
News reader Fiona Bruce and Countdown’s Rachel Riley both made debuts, at numbers 98 and 95 respectively.
Now in its 15th year, nearly 10 million votes were cast by FHM readers worldwide this year.
FHM’s 100 Sexiest supplement, featuring 52 pages of "the hottest women in the world", comes free with the June edition of FHM, on sale now.
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