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Scappoose's Sara Jean Underwood in the running for Esquire's 'Hottest Woman of the Year'

by: Courtesy photo As a host on G4's

Television host and model Sara Jean Underwood, a 2002 Scappoose High School graduate, is battling it out for the lofty title of 'Hottest Woman of the Year' in an Esquire magazine competition.

A takeoff of March Madness voting, the Esquire 'Ladies' Tournament' online bracket started with 64 of the most popular women in the entertainment industry. Underwood is now in the top 4, battling it out against "Underworld" actress Kate Beckinsale. The other two still in the competition are fashion model Brooklyn Decker and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.

In previous rounds Underwood, 28, handily defeated Amber Heard ("The Rum Diary"), Megyn Kelly (Fox News), Kerry Washington ("Scandal," "For Colored Girls") and Kristen Bell ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "House of Lies").

In a Q and A posted on esquire.com, Underwood said she was confident her fans - many of whom follow her online on Twitter - will help propel her to victory. This is her first appearance on the yearly bracket.

'You know, I'm not really worried about anybody. I've got confidence,' she told Esquire writer Matt Goulet. 'My dad told me this morning that I was the most beautiful girl in the world. And I don't think my dad's told any of those girls that before.'

Underwood still retains strong roots in Scappoose and in interviews, regularly points out her love for the community. Last year, she donated $20,000 to the Columbia Humane Society in St. Helens after winning a celebrity poker competition. At the time, she said she wanted to give back to the place where her family got all their pets growing up.

Since becoming Playboy magazine's 'Playmate of the Year' in 2007, Underwood has worked steadily in the entertainment industry. She is in the midst of a successful career as a television presenter, most notably on cable network G4's popular 'Attack of the Show.' Olivia Munn, a previous host on the show, has since been featured in numerous films, become a correspondent on "The Daily Show" and starred on the short-lived NBC comedy series "Perfect Couples."

Other celebrities knocked from the competition include: Kate Upton, Princess Charlene and black sheep candidate Taylor Kitsch, who made it to the top 8 despite being a man.

It's the third year for what Esquire calls its 'not-at-all-objectifying search for the people's champion.'

To vote for Underwood visit: www.esquire.com/women/brackets-2012/final-4/kate-beckinsale-sara-underwood-2012