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LOS ANGELES — If you didn’t catch her in last year’s MTV movie “Carmen: A Rock Hip Hopera,” it’ll be hard to miss Joy Bryant in “Antwone Fisher,” Denzel Washington’s directorial debut, in which she plays the title character’s love interest. But fashion-watchers may already know Bryant from her two-year stint as a Tommy Hilfiger model and her recent red carpet whirlwind.
And she plans on making many more memorable entrances.
As far as Bryant is concerned, dressing up is one of the perks of the job. “I love fashion,” says the 26-year-old Bronx native. “I love all the big designers, especially Versace and Dior. I like to mix high fashion with Old Navy, Club Monaco with Manolos, and Urban Outfitters with Dior.”
A perfect example: for the “Adaptation” premiere earlier this month, Bryant paired a Hilfiger cashmere turtleneck with a camouflage skirt from Old Navy, which she’d chopped into a mini, and Manolo Blahnik ankle boots. She also takes a shine to new designers, like her friend Pegah Anvarian. “I used to live down the hall from her and I’m sort of her unofficial spokesmodel,” Bryant says.
Beyond her stylish pursuits, Bryant has embraced Hollywood and vice versa since her move to Los Angeles last January. She just completed “Honey” with Jessica Alba and Mekhi Phifer, slated for release next summer, and a short film called “The Trip.” She’s also writing some scripts of her own.
But to hear Bryant tell it, acting wasn’t even part of her grand plan. “I caught the bug,” she says. “Modeling allowed me to take some acting classes and I went from there.”
Her role model? “If there’s one person I really admire in Hollywood it would be Reese Witherspoon. She’s my age, she can play comedy and drama, she’s producing her own stuff, and she has a family.”
In the professional arena, Bryant is working up to Witherspoon’s professional credibility, but she herself is single. “I can’t get a date,” she sighs.
This story first appeared in the December 30, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.