Generously proportioned and sexually ambiguous, Queen Latifah is a rap star and actress.

Before assuming her royal title, Queen Latifah was known as plain old Dana Owens of Newark, New Jersey. She began her ascent to Queendom when she was discovered and signed to Tommy Boy Records in 1988; a year later, she released All Hail the Queen, which went platinum. But it was her third CD, 1993's Black Reign, that cinched her reputation as the first true breakout female rapper. The album yielded the Grammy-winning, provocatively feminist single "U.N.I.T.Y." an early musical condemnation of misogyny-infested rap lyrics.

The ur-lady rapper is still busting rhymes, and now has seven studio albums to her name. But Latifah's energies have been directed more toward movies than music for some time. She began to transition to acting in the mid-'90s, appearing in TV shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Living Single; she later landed more substantial parts in films like Set It Off, Living Out Loud, The Bone Collector and Joyful Noise. Sure, she has some clunkers (Taxi with Jimmy Fallon), but several of her performances earned positive notices, which suggests she does indeed have talent-the Academy handed her a Best Supporting Actress nom for Chicago in 2002, and she won a Golden Globe for the 2007 HBO movie Life Support.

Latifah remains publicly mum about her sexual orientation, but she's been romantically linked to her trainer, Jeanette Jenkins, for several years. Latifah was also previously rumored to be dating MC Lyte and boxer Laila Ali. [Image via Getty]